Move over microSD, you slow and dated storage medium, and make room for Universal Flash Storage (UFS), a new speedy successor designed by Samsung. Boasting must faster read and write performance, Samsung says its new removable memory cards are ideally suited for high-resolution recording devices, things such as DSLR and 3D VR cameras, action cams, and drones that record action from above.
These are the first removable cards based on the JEDEC UFS 1.0 Card Extension Standard and while they look similar to microSD cards, they're not compatible—they have a different pin arrangement. Therein lies the biggest challenge for Samsung and any other companies that adopt UFS memory cards. There's a large install base of microSD card readers, whereas there's not a single device that supports UFS memory cards, at least not yet.
That will change in time, especially as consumers at large catch wind of the performance benefits. UFS cards provide more than five times faster sequential read performance compared to that of a typical microSD card, which translates to 530MB/s—that's on par with SATA-based solid state drives.
To put that kind of sequential read performance into perspective, Samsung says its largest capacity 256GB UFS card can read a 5GB Full HD 1080p move in about 10 seconds, compared to over 50 seconds for a typical UHS-1 microSD card reading data at 95MB/s. It also features a random read rate of 40,000 IOPS, which is more than 20 times higher than the 1,800 IOPS offered by a typical microSD card.
Write performance is speedier too. According to Samsung, the new 256GB UFS card processes 35,000 random IOPS, which is 350 times higher than the 100 IOPS of a typical microSD card, along with 170MB/s of sequential write performance, nearly double that of the fastest microSD cards on the market.
More than just bragging rights, these faster read and write metrics can significantly reduce the time it takes to transfer large media files. They can also help with burst shooting in DSLR cameras—Samsung says it would take less than seven seconds to burst shoot 24 large/extra fine JPEG photos continuously using a UFS card, versus about 32 seconds for a microSD card.
"Our new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal user experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution," said Jung-bae Lee, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering, Samsung Electronics "By launching our new high-capacity, high-performance UFS card line-up, we are changing the growth paradigm of the memory card market to prioritize performance and user convenience above all."
Samsung also makes smaller capacity UFS cards, including 128GB, 64GB, and 32GB. As for when they'll be available and for how much, Samsung didn't say.