Next-Gen SD Format Nearing Completion: 300MB/sec Transfer Promised

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 2 2009 11:42 PM
We've already heard of SDXC--in fact, it's a format that was announcedalmost a year ago now--but we've really seen nothing to make us believeit (or the technology behind it) was ready for primetime. Now, however,it looks as if the underpinnings are finally coming together, and we'rehearing things that are making us smile about existing Secure Digitaloptions as well (backwards compatibility, anyone?)

Reportedly, the next-generation Secure Digital (SD) memory cardstandard, SDSpecification Version 4.00, is expected to be completed by the Springof 2010, which could mean that SDXC cards will be available forpurchase in early-to-mid 2010. Why should you be excited? With newcrops of DSLRs shooting high-definition video, the need for quickercards is more dire than ever. The existing limit of 104MB/sec transferrate is looking mighty slow at this point, but the new specificationwill pave the way for 300MB/sec transfers. That's almost a 3x jump, andit's a leap that should be noticeable in almost any application.

The plan is to institute a new pin and a new transfer scheme in orderto boost rates. The parallel technology that is currently used will beupstaged by a serial transfer technology, which will also be madeavailable for use in SD Input/Output(SDIO), with the objective of making it possible to use the SD bus asthe internal bus for embedded systems. The goal there is to targetmobile phones, which will also be able to use the faster speeds whentransferring images and videos shot with their increasingly largesensors.

The best part of all this (as if a 3 jump in speed wasn't awesomeenough) is that the overall size and form factor of these ultra-fast SDcards will remain as they are, and the parallel pins will remain inplace as well. That means that (at least theoretically) SDXC cardscould be used, read, and written to within older SD card readers,albeit at slower rates. The only challenge is to ensure that nocross-talk occurs by having two transfer schemes within a single card,but if the folks designing USB 3.0 figured it out, we see no reason whySD engineers can't.

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realneil replied on Sat, Dec 5 2009 11:38 AM

With a 2TB data capacity and transfer speeds of 300Mbps I can see someone setting 2 or 4 of them up in a RAID-0 configuration across the PCI-e bus and using them as boot drives.

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