Samsung EVO Plus 512GB MicroSD Card Review: Speedy Device Storage

Samsung EVO Plus 512GB MicroSD - Overview

The humble SD card has evolved in a number of ways since its introduction two decades ago. While early SD cards could hardly store more photos than a roll of film, modern cards may offer the capacity to contain hours of high-quality HD video. SD cards have also become commonly used as boot drives for lightweight operating systems, powering everything from Raspberry Pi's to server hypervisors. SD Cards, and MicroSD cards in particular, can also be useful for expanding the storage of cell phones and even laptops.

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Samsung introduced its blazing fast EVO Plus UHS-I MicroSD cards last year, featuring capacities from 64GB to 256GB and write speeds approaching 90 megabytes per second. We were impressed with the 128GB sample we test drove, but Samsung has now expanded the lineup with a 512GB variant and sent one over to us for another look. The additional capacity is very welcome for videographers recording hours of footage. Granted, all that space is only useful if the card's write speeds are able to keep pace. The latest iteration advertises the same 100 MB/s read speeds and 90 MB/s write speeds as the rest of the lineup, but we want to see how it holds up in the real-world.

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We pitted the 512GB Samsung EVO Plus MicroSDXC against a couple of SanDisk cards we have been using around the lab -- a 32GB SanDisk Extreme full-size SDHC and a 128GB SanDisk Ultra MicroSDXC. All three cards are Class 10 and UHS-I, as most modern SD cards are. The 128GB SanDisk Ultra indicates UHS Class 1 (U1) performance while the 32GB SanDisk Extreme and 512GB Samsung EVO Plus both target UHS Class 3 (U3). Only the 32GB SanDisk Extreme indicates a UHS Video Class 30 (V30) rating.

Sequential and 4KB Transfers

We started our testing with CrystalDiskMark to get a quick look at sequential and 4KB transfer speeds. Before each test we performed a low-level format using our Canon 80D DSLR camera.

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The three cards share nearly identical sequential read speeds, but that is about it. In all other tests, the Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD is clearly faster. For video recording workloads, sequential write speed is everything. The 81.83 MB/s result translates to a supported bitrate of around 650 mbps. Technically, this card is fast enough to satisfy even the Panasonic GH5's 400 mbps 4K 10-bit bitrate, but this test does not account for variance in bitrates so any kind of dip could cause issues with the recording. The GH5 requires V60 certified UHS-II cards to record at its highest quality setting to ensure the encoding stream does not get interrupted.

The 4KB reads and writes are more applicable for varied workloads such as emulating games on a Raspberry Pi or using the card to expand your phone's storage. Faster speeds here make for a snappier experience, particularly on the read side.

Let's dig in with some more benchmarks before wrapping things up...

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