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SDHC to be replaced by SDXC

SDHC to be replaced by SDXC

The 32GB SDXC card is a world first for Pretec - and will soon be followed by sizes up to 2TB.

The format war is back again – but this time it's solid state, rather than optical, storage that's in the firing line as SDHC sees stiff competition from newcomer SDXC.

According to an article over on I4U, flash memory specialist Pretec has taken the wraps off what it claims is the world's first memory card based around the new Secure Digital eXtended Capacity format. Designed as a drop-in replacement for current SDHC-based systems, the new technology takes over where the current leaves off: where SDHC maxes out at a not-inconsiderable 32GB, that's where SDXC starts.

The SDXC technology – of which the 32GB offering from Pretec is but the first implementation – promises to scale to 2TB without breaking out of the SD form factor, and has data transfer speeds of 50MB/s jumping to 104MB/s “in the future,” according to Pretec. The SDXC standard itself promises to hit 300MB/s before theoretical limitations stop being quite so theoretical.

While the form factor is the same as the SDHC – and SD – cards before it, the good news stops there: SDXC is completely incompatible with both SD and SDHC-based systems, and will require specially designed hardware to take advantage of the increased speed and capacity it offers. Software implementations will need to be updated too: while SD and SDHC both used the FAT32 file system, SDXC uses Microsoft's proprietary exFAT as standard.

While the increased storage capacity is welcome, the new format could well see a challenge from SDHC in the near future: while the current specification is limited to 32GB, this is an arbitrary figure in the SD 2.0 standards documentation. Should this limitation be removed in future revisions of the standard, there's nothing to stop SDHC also scaling to 2TB – albeit without the speed boosts offered by SDXC.

Does the thought of a 2TB SD card with a 300MB/s read/write speed in your camera fill you with joy, or will it take more than that to tempt you away from good old Compact Flash? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
phuzz 6th March 2009, 10:55 Quote
Perhaps, given what M$ are doing to TomTom at the moment, a storage scheme based on an actually free file system would be better?
UncertainGod 6th March 2009, 11:01 Quote
Why did they choose to go with exFAT for the file system?
Flexible_Lorry 6th March 2009, 11:15 Quote
I will take 2TB of pictures and force my family to live through every single one
TomH 6th March 2009, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncertainGod
Why did they choose to go with exFAT for the file system?
More than likely due to the extremely small over-heads it carries. And that's before you get to the similarities between FAT32 and FAT64, making it a simpler 'port' for your firmwares.

I digress, a free file system would be preferable.

I somehow don't think TomTom will be using >32GiB of space any time soon, however.
scarrmrcc 6th March 2009, 13:15 Quote
"While the form factor is the same as the SDHC – and SD – cards before it, the good news stops there: SDXC is completely incompatible with both SD and SDHC-based systems, and will require specially designed hardware to take advantage of the increased speed and capacity it offers"

so then why use the same form factor? is it to fool idiots into buying it, thinking it will work in their stuff, when it wont?
Gareth Halfacree 6th March 2009, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarrmrcc
so then why use the same form factor? is it to fool idiots into buying it, thinking it will work in their stuff, when it wont?
Same reason SDHC uses the SD form factor despite being incompatible - SD cards will work fine in SDHC devices, just not the other way around. Likewise, SD/SDHC cards should work fine in SDXC devices, just not the other way around.

If you buy a new camera, imagine how ticked off you'd be if you couldn't use any of your old memory cards.
B3CK 6th March 2009, 18:39 Quote
I spoke at length with every Scandisc employee, even their tech's at CES about this new xd card they are putting out. They have absolutely no plans to implement read/write speeds to pc at a data rate that compares to the camera/device ability to write/read to the card installed.

Examples were camera writing to it near future can write at 300mbs but that when the camera or even card reader in the pc would still transfer at standard usb speeds.
When I asked all their sales reps, they sent me to the tech's and engineer on hand, who had no answer. Their only answer was they were really marketing at the new HD cameras that take crazy sized hd video; and the new 3d cameras that use more than one capture feed. While enabling the cameras to save enough data fast enough, and have enough room, they were not so forward thinking on how to get that data from the camera to the pc. While the cameras capable of doing said things are corporation level expensive, they will leave the camera transfering tech to the camera people.

NOW ON THE OTHER HAND;
I seem to remember a small drive the size of a notebook hard drive that had 4 slots for sd cards. imagine using 4 of these new xd cards, on one side, and as the current nice feature use a second controller to provide effective raid to 4 more cards on the reverse side, 16Tb flash drive FTW!
HourBeforeDawn 6th March 2009, 19:59 Quote
wow 2tb on an SD card, thats just nuts, I hope this applies to the SDD market ^__^
TomH 6th March 2009, 21:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
If you buy a new camera, imagine how ticked off you'd be if you couldn't use any of your old memory cards.
Happened before, it'll happen again: you'd be shocked at how many people I had to tell, between 2006 and 2008, that their SmartMedia cards and (original) Memory Sticks weren't going to fit any new cameras.
Cobalt 6th March 2009, 22:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
wow 2tb on an SD card, thats just nuts, I hope this applies to the SDD market ^__^

Its not like we'll be getting them in 2TB capacities any time soon, its just the format that supports that as a max capacity.
ZERO <ibis> 7th March 2009, 02:15 Quote
OMG even 100mbs would be nice especially on upcoming phone devices that can play 720p!
Neji 7th March 2009, 12:54 Quote
Can Windows even read any other file system than FATxx?
perplekks45 7th March 2009, 13:59 Quote
No, of course not. That's why NTFS doesn't work with any Windows OS. :|

Proprietary? Why, oh why?
ParaHelix.org 8th March 2009, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
That's why NTFS doesn't work with any Windows OS. :|

Did I miss somthing?
TomH 8th March 2009, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParaHelix.org
Did I miss somthing?
Only the blatant sarcasm.

NTFS/FAT32/FAT have been supported for some time. FAT64 (exFAT) is new.

Then you can have Installable File Systems (IFS) that range from ext2 to HFS+, etc.

And they were meant to be on WinFS by Vista, but that never happened. :)
Hamish 8th March 2009, 14:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B3CK

Examples were camera writing to it near future can write at 300mbs but that when the camera or even card reader in the pc would still transfer at standard usb speeds.

uh, no ****? thats a limitation of USB2, hardly their fault
you'd need an eSATA card reader or some other interface
outlawaol 8th March 2009, 19:22 Quote
2Tb on a SD card is ridiculous. Using an array of smaller cards has it advantages, like if one card goes bad your others are fine.

If anything the new standard on cameras is that every brand/model/type has two slots. I would love to have a redundant backup on camera (I know some pro cameras have this, but who wants to spend $6k on a camera, other then Vers ;) )

Long live CF! :D
Kidzoom 28th May 2010, 05:14 Quote
How about utilized as a 1-2 TB really compact device to back up my hard drive?

Could easily back up system to multiple cards and throw it in a fire proof safe or carry off site.

Even better as an array to back up the entire system. Just a fear factor of "misplacing" a $600+ card with all your data. Must Encrypt!
DBNemesis 30th May 2010, 22:35 Quote
I've been using a couple of 32GB cards with my SLR and even for large cameras, it seems more useful to have multiple cards at that size, as you stand to lose a ton of valuable photos already. that said, HD videos or 3D would be great to have the size. I'll be happy with 32GB for a while yet though.
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