SanDisk announced its new 200 GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I and High Endurance Video Monitoring memory cards today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The 200 GB Ultra Premium Edition takes the throne as the highest-capacity MicroSD card geared for use in mobile devices, and it delivers a 56 percent increase in storage capacity within a fingernail-sized device.
Mobile phones and their increasingly sophisticated cameras continue to pillage the digital camera market, which contracted 40 percent in 2013 alone. Mobile devices have become the camera of choice for the majority of users, and increased resolutions and video quality are fueling the need for more storage capacity.
“Mobile devices are completely changing the game. Seven out of 10 images captured by consumers are now from smartphones and tablets. Consumers view mobile-first devices as their primary means for image capture and sharing, and by 2019 smartphones and tablets will account for nine out of 10 images captured," said Christopher Chute, Vice President, Worldwide Digital Imaging Practice, IDC. "As the needs of mobile users continue to change, SanDisk is on the forefront of delivering solutions for these demands as is clearly illustrated through their growing portfolio of innovative products, including the new 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card."
Performance is also important in mobile applications, and the Ultra provides 90 MB/s, which is fast enough to move roughly 1,200 photos per minute. SanDisk refined its production process to store more bits per die, which obviously has not affected the overall reliability of the device. SanDisk backs the Ultra with a ten-year limited warranty, and the diminutive storage solution will feature a $399.99 MSRP. The 200 GB Ultra will hit store shelves in Q2 of this year.
SanDisk also announced the first microSDXC memory card designed for high-endurance applications. The SanDisk High Endurance Video Monitoring (HEVM) 64 GB memory card is designed for dash cameras and home video monitoring systems and has the ability to withstand 10,000 hours of full HD video recording. The 32 GB version of the memory card features a 5,000-hour recording threshold.
Memory cards are well suited for vehicle applications. They are resistant to shock, can weather temperature extremes and are waterproof. The HEVM memory cards operate at Class 10 speeds, which is sufficient for the majority of video applications. The HEVM cards have a two-year warranty and are available for $84.99 and $149.99 for the 32 GB and 64 GB capacity points, respectively. HEVM cards will initially only be available through the SanDisk website for U.S. customers.
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The only bad thing here is that SDXC uses exFAT, which is a proprietary Microsoft technology. You won't find it supported in any free Linux distro, and any device which supports it had to pay royalties to MS. I don't understand how MS pulled that one off, but I suspect it had something to do with brandishing its patent portfolio and possibly making the technology free for the memory manufacturers.
I'd stick with fat32, except for its 4 GB filesize limit. No good options.
It turns out you can actually do the same thing with a retail SSD, as the allocation threshold is software-accessible. I recently de-rated some 256 GB SSDs down to 224 GB. It not only improves longevity, but also sustained write speeds. It's not uncommon for people to de-rate all the way down to 75% of the native capacity.
While you are technically correct about exFAT support not being included by default in any TRULY free Linux distro, I think it is worth noting (to those less concerned with software freedom) that it is very easily added (if not already already included) and works without any problems in most every Linux distribution.
I'd grudgingly, but willingly, pay up to like $10 or $15 for something like this, but I don't like not being able to plug an exFAT drive into an arbitrary Linux box and not be able to mount it. And it seems ridiculous that the device vendors would even use a patented technology like this. Maybe Microsoft strong-armed them and thoughts of Rambus' litigation against DDR SDRAM makers were fresh in their minds.
But the main thing that bugs me about this is that we're all paying royalties on this, every time we buy a tablet, smartphone, TV, or camera that supports exFAT (which also seems standard on all USB flash drives >= 64 GB). It'd be one thing if the technology offered real benefits, such as H.265, but I don't believe there really needed to be anything in filesystems for flash devices that's not either obvious or was already published well before any relevant patents were filed. Ultimately, the consumer is the one who pays the bill for patent trolls.
1. exFAT solved a variety of problems facing device makers when the SDXC spec was being determined. The benefits are very real. File systems are not trivial matters, especially not when one considers the following feature:
2. exFAT was built-in on every version of Windows, including embedded (it first appeared in CE 6.0) since 2006, so it already had a massive installed base of supporting systems before the first SDXC device shipped.
3. The big players in the device business didn't have a problem with the cost. It was a clearly defined product with a plain value proposition, as opposed to the vague patents that have been at the core of so many disputes.
This is how stuff works in the real world. The number of different licenses involved in making something like a new flagship Android phone is very lengthy. It can play a major role in choosing vendors for parts. Smaller companies are inclined to go with vendors who take of all the licenses at their level, while a larger company might choose differently if it already has a direct licensing relationship with the IP owner.
I suspect this had more to do with the the actual physical volume of the chips. SanDisk wanted something to show off but nobody expects a lot of takers at that price. It's little more than a stunt. Samsung's latest generation of flash should allow the expected 256 GB microSD cards to hit the market at more reasonable prices within the year. 128 GB cards will come down under $50 and 256 GB will be premium priced around $150. Meanwhile, the top end for SD cards will go up to 512 MB.
At some point in the next 2-3 years, I expect to see a new competing standard to appear that up the performance level by abandoning the legacy issues that constrain SDXC. It will face a severe uphill struggle against SD's installed base momentum.
Many people just plug the camera right into the PC and transfer the files that way over USB. The formatting of the SD card is thus irrelevant.
As for LINUX it's not that difficult if you want to use a card reader. Simply install "exfat-utils":