Test Drive: Patriot EP Pro Series 32GB SDHC Card

Every so often, I get my hands on a product that doesn’t necessarily require a multi-page, deep-dive technical analysis, but is interesting nonetheless and something worth talking about.  When that happens and the product is something that I (or another member of the team) can use on a daily basis, we’ll take it for a spin and then post our findings in a concise piece, just like this one. We’ve covered some really cool stuff in our blogs here on HotHardware, like the Eaton 5PX UPS, the Ooma, Logitech's Wireless BoomBox, and some of my favorite peripherals, i.e. mechanical keyboards.

The Patriot EP Pro SDHC Card

In this post, I’m going to cover something I suspect many of you would benefit from, a fast, high-capacity SDHC card--a Patriot EP Pro Series 32GB card to be specific. The Patriot EP Pro Series of flash memory cards are SDA 3.0 (SD Card Association) and UHS-I (Ultra High Speed) compliant and offer Class 10 speeds. Patriot rates the EP Pro 32GB model we tested at up to 90MB/s for reads and up to 50MB/s for writes, which is impressive to say the least. The rest of the specifications are as follows:

Product Name:
EP Pro Series
Patriot Part #:
PEF32GSH10333 (32GB)

Patriot EP Pro Series Flash
SDHC/SDXC Class 10 Flash Drive

Product Warranty:
5 years
Unit Dimensions:
0.20 (D) x 2.40 (W) x 3.20 (L) cm
Packing Dimensions:
0.20 (D) x 12 (W) x 18 (L) cm
Net Weight:
2 grams

At first glance, there’s nothing to distinguish the Patriot EP Pro from other SD cards, save for the custom decal / branding of course. The cards feature standard black casings, with a write protection slider on the left side. It’s what’s inside the casing that counts though, and Patriot seems to have done a good job with the EP Pro.

Last year, I sprung for a new camera, an Olympus PEN EP-3. The PEN EP-3 is a fairly advanced MICRO Four Thirds camera with a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, speedy TruePic VI Image processor, and 1080i video recording capability. To go along with the camera, I also picked up a SanDisk Extreme Pro memory card, which also happens to be UHS-I compliant and Class 10 rated, but only up to 45MB/s.  Since Patriot’s card is so much faster (and a higher capacity than the card I purchased) I thought it would make for an excellent companion to the camera, so I’ve been using it exclusively for the last few weeks.

Although we’ll only feature a few images in a typical article here, we’ll (or at least I’ll) sometimes take hundreds of shots from various angles in preparation for a piece. Then we’ll cull down the pics and post our favorites. When you take hundreds of digital pictures, the write speed of your memory card can have a measurable impact on how long it takes to complete the “shoot”.  How much faster is the Patriot EP Pro than the SanDisk card I purchased with my camera? In real world usage it’s only slightly faster. Shooting in burst mode, my camera is able to capture 10, full resolution images in 8.3 seconds with the SanDisk memory card. The same test took 7.9 seconds with the Patriot EP Pro. There is a caveat, however. I conducted this test with a stopwatch, and while repeatable to within a tenth of a second or so, there is a human element involved here.

To put a more quantifiable measure on performance, I also ran some tests on both cards with CrystalDiskMark using a USB 3.0 card reader from Kingston. Here are the results...

Patriot (left), Sandisk (right)

As you can see, read speeds exceed the 90MB/s mark on the Patriot card, as opposed to 47.1MB/s on the SanDisk card. Writes are much more evenly matched, which jibes with our “real work” in camera example. 512K and both 4K tests show huge advantages for the Patriot card.

The most obvious way the faster speeds of the Patriot EP Pro will affect your digital images though, is when copying them off the memory card. To pull a directory crammed with hundreds of images totaling over 700MB, it took the Patriot EP Pro only 10.3 seconds, whereas the SanDisk card took 18.6 seconds to copy the same exact folder.

The other area where a high capacity card will impact your photography is in regard to the number images that the card can hold (obviously). The 32GB Patriot EP Pro can hold over 10,000 images with my camera, whereas an 8GB card can hold “only” 2,550. That’s a lot of pics.

The long and short of it is this: if you’re in the market for a SDXC memory card, give the Patriot EP Pro some serious consideration. In weeks and weeks of testing, the card has been nothing but flawless and its speeds can potentially save  you time, not only when capturing multiple images quickly, but especially when copying images off the card, for post processing or archiving on a PC. And at only $55 for a 32MB model, Patriot’s EP Pro won’t break the bank either.