Without a doubt, the most common downfall of SD cards is the lack of understanding the consumer has with respect to class levels. Most buy cards for price only, not realizing how this might benefit them at times when they are really pushing their camera to its limits. The demands of today’s newest cameras, and even today’s smartphones capable of 4K video, are such that they require SD cards of a higher class than we might have seen even a year ago. Simply put, if the SD card isn’t capable of storing photo’s and video’s at an acceptable speed for the task at hand, the person taking the shots might be very disappointed with the quality, or even missing files, on review of this media.
To assist, this link will provide one with a background on the SD class system in place today. Fortunately however, SD cards have seen a surge in performance parallel to a great decline in price, bringing the best SD cards on the market into the hands of the consumer and at a price that won’t break your pocketbook. A great example of this is seen with PNY’s newest Pro Elite 64GB SDXC (extended capacity) card that can be had for less than $50. This card contains the U3 classification making it the highest class SD card on the market, and still maintaining great price and capacity. Our report today will examine both the PNY 64GB SDXC and micro SDXC versions of this card family.
PNY Pro Elite SD Cards are available in both 32GB (SDHC) and 64GB (SDXC) capacities, and also in microSD and SD card sizes. They are UHS-I, Class 10 and U3 which, in layman’s terms, means it is the highest class SD card available on the market. Their specifications list them as 95MB/s read and 90MB/s write transfer speeds and go one step further by providing a lifetime warranty identifying these cards as being temperature proof, shock proof, magnet proof, waterproof and x-ray proof. Having a lifetime warranty in any product is ideal.
Checking into the price of the PNY Pro Elite SD card family, Amazon has them in stock and priced at $30 for the 32GB capacity and $50 for the 64GB capacity. One better, there are also plenty of user reviews that support the quality of this SD card choice. Let’s take a look at performance…
With our test bench we utilized the Kingston MobileLite G3 USB 3.0 Card Reader. This is a simple plug-and-play device that you will connect into your USB 3.0 port on your system, and insert your flash card to transfer content. Additionally, the MobileLite G3 is backwards compatible to USB 2.0. This means that if your USB port on your computer is not blue in color, then you can still use the drive. You will just receive that annoying notification from Windows letting you know that the drive can perform faster in a USB 3.0 port.
ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.
We should point out that performance for both the SD and microSD versions was identical. ATTO Disk Benchmark testing returned with a high read throughput of 98MB.s and write just a bit lower than specs at 82MB/s Very impressive is the fact that performance jumps at the 64MB file size mark.
If this is the highest spec sd card then what about Lexar Professional 2000x which is rated at 300MB/sec read ?
We don’t recall stating that….sorry.
Wear leveling support for us Raspberry Pi data tinkerers might useful to include or maybe even worth an additional article.
Hi Les, Do you happen to know if any of the Micro SD cards implement wear leveling? I feel this is more important than just a synthetic bench mark on a fresh sd card. If there’s no wear leveling implemented, rather than buying a small capacity but fast (U3) SD card, it would make more sense to buy larger capacity but relatively slower (U1) card and delete pictures from the card less frequently (thus reduce rewrite on the used transistor). Do you see where I’m going with this? If there’s no wear leveling on Micro SD it would seem Raspberry users are screwed no matter what size they choose cause certain temp files of the OS would eventually “burn a hole” on their SD card.
I’m sorry to be responding to my own post, while Googling, I found this bit of info about wear leveling from Sandisk, but this is for their Mini SD, not Micro SD card line. I couldn’t find if the same applies to their MicroSD line.
ERROR CORRECTION FOR ENHANCED RELIABILITY
The card’s built-in Advanced Wear Leveling and Error Correction Code engine enhances endurance and reliability. https://www.sandisk.com/home/memory-cards/sd-cards/extremepro-sd-uhs-i
I would expect Samsung, being one of the biggest flash/transistor based storage mediums would have something similar in their high end SD cards. Hence, that would explain the price difference.
Again, if you could help shed some light on “wear leveling” issue and or maybe create dedicated section on your site it would be very much appreciated.
With technology advancements user focus is shifting towards powerful and expensive cellphones and tablets that utilize MicroSD cards. Many folks pay for that extra fast Samsung S7 and would only want the “best” micro SD in it.
Hmm, your statement: “Very impressive is the fact that performance jumps at the 64MB file size mark”
Don’t you mean 64KB?