Acer CFE100 512GB CFExpress Type B Memory Card Review

To say that CFExpress Type B cards haven’t redefined digital media in the past two years would be an understatement.  Many enjoy their advantages in moving large photo and video files from the card to PC for work in a fraction of the time that it used to take, but more importantly, its what CFExpress B cards do inside the camera that is so impressive. They enable us to get pictures that simply weren’t there before.  They move an amateur photographer like me to that next step and…well… the results are obvious.

This phenomena started on release of the Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless camera two years back and saw countless photo and video enthusiasts drop what they had to get their hands on the R5. It immediately sold out worldwide and angered many as Canon couldn’t catch up to demand in well over a year down the road.  And it all comes down to the fact that the R5 incorporated the CFExpress Type B card as it should be, allowing much faster data transfer speeds within the camera and opening digital media to higher photo frame rates and video.

On the bench today, we have Acer’s latest CFExpress Type B Memory card, the CFE100 and our sample is the 512GB size.  Stamped right on the front of the card are its specs of 1600MB/s read and 1200MB/s write and an 8K stamp leading us to believe that this card is capable of 8K recording.  This would mean that it has decent sustained write performance, although this doesn’t seem to be indicated anywhere.  This card, designed and manufactured by BIWIN Technologies for Acer, is also listed as being backwards XQD compatible, anti-static, x-ray proof, magnet proof and UV guarded.

The Acer CFE100 will be available in capacities of 128, 256 and 512GB  with an MSRP of $130, $270 and $460, however, we haven’t seen availability as of yet.   Check Amazon for release updates. What we definitely want to ascertain is whether this card can pull off a sustained write result of AT LEAST 400 MB/s in order to achieve those higher video recording capabilities; this of course being the new VPG400 standard as set out by the SD Association.

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

CFExpress Card testing at TSSDR differs slightly, depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise storage media. For our Acer CFE100 Type B Card testing today, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide.

For this Test Bench, the CPU C-States, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) and Intel Speedshift (P-States) have not been disabled. As you will see below, the system is also bumped to 5.1GHz with memory at full speed in its XMP 2 profile.

The components of this Test Bench are detailed below. All hardware is linked for purchase and product sales may be reached by a simple click on the individual item.

INTEL Z690 PCIE 5.0 COMPONENTS

PC CHASSIS: Corsair 5000X RGB White Tempered Glass Chassis
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming PG Velocita Gen 5
CPU: Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H150i Capellix White
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair RM850x 80Plus White
GRAPHICS: ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity White
MEMORY: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 64GB
STORAGE: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Gen 4 4TB NVMe SSD
KEYBOARD: Corsair K70 RGB Mk. 2 SE White Gaming
MOUSE: Corsair M65 RGB Elite FPS Gaming
MONITOR: Samsung 34″ 1440p WQHD Ultrawide Gaming

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software in use for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of Crystal Disk Info, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, AJA, TxBench, as well as Sustained Disk Transfer, Temperature and True Data Transfer Rate Testing. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

For our testing today, we will be relying on the pictured PCIe 3.0 x4 CFExpress reader created for us by Lexar some time ago.  As a bit of confirmation, we always test with multiple readers we have on hand and of both the ThunderBolt 3 and the newer USB 3.2 2×2 spec.  There shouldn’t be a difference in any of these devices as the top speed of CFExpress is well below the threshold of all readers ( and our AIC Gen 3 reader), whether they be Thunderbolt 3/4 with a threshold of 2.8GB/s or USB 3.2 2×2 with a top speed of 2GB/s.

As well, Acer has provided a compatibility listing of cameras they have tested to date.

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