USB 3.0 Card Reader: Pretec P240
Once we decided to round up the latest high-speed SDXC cards, we also started looking for an equivalent card reader. In other words, it had to be fast. This was in late February, and the only device we found was Pretec's USB 3.0 multi-card reader. We were pretty disappointed when we realized that, even today, there are very few fast card readers available on the market. Are we the only ones who want to work with SD cards at speeds faster than 30 MB/s? Surely not.
It would also be nice to use card reader devices that directly connect to SATA. More and more motherboards support 6 Gb/s speeds. And even older 3 Gb/s ports wouldn't bottleneck fast memory cards.
The Pretec P240 is available through a few merchants worldwide, and it supports all of the usual standards, including microSD, MMC, MSCX, MS, M2, and CF. We used the h2benchw benchmark to look at the fastest possible throughput with today’s SD cards. Testing Kingston’s Ultimate XX card, we measured almost 80 MB/s. That's not too bad for an SD memory card.
However, this doesn’t actually give us a good read on the Pretec P240’s real-world speed limit. It only tells us that the combination of the latest Kingston card with this particular reading device can squeeze out a modest peak bandwidth. It remains to be seen what future cards and readers can do. The test also shows us that many SDHC cards are limited to to something around 24 MB/s on this reader device. Some of these performance numbers are actually higher than when we benchmarked cards for our last roundup. Therefore, we can conclude that a fast and modern card reader may very well accelerate throughput for existing SD card products.
The only exception is SanDisk’s Extreme Card (SDHC, 16 GB, Class 10). In the last review, we benchmarked this one using SanDisk’s own SD card reader, which helped this card reach almost 27 MB/s. On the Pretec P240, we measured 23 MB/s.