Just reading the title of this overview alone could be enough to put someone off reading it, so if you have made it this far then you must either be really curious as to what all the initialisms mean, or are more of a photography enthusiast and actually have an idea of what this overview could be about. Well, first things first, I am taking a look at the latest in Secure Digital (SD) memory cards from Lexar – a well known manufacture of USB flash drives, memory cards and other storage media.
When we are out and about with our cameras and camcorders, we are often taught to take as many photos as possible as you might miss the perfect shot: Fast write speeds and large story capacity are the two main criterion that allow you to do this, and finding a memory card with the right price point is often the deciding factor if you are looking to purchase one. With Lexar’s Professioanl 32GB SDXC UHS-1 they hope to achieve exactly this and without breaking the bank.
Before I take a closer look at the card let me first explain what all these initialisms mean. SDXC stands for Secure Digital eXtended Capacity, version 3.01, a format announced in January 2009 SD standards. It covers the larger sized SD cards, with 32GB being the smallest, through to 2TB. With greater storage comes faster read/write speeds, which is where the UHS-I comes in. Ultra High Speed (UHS) means this particular SD card has write speeds of 50MB/s – 104MB/s, which is pretty damn fast by SD card standards, albeit not the fastest.
Lexar were kind enough to send us a 32GB model, which may be the smallest / cheapest of the range, but it still has the same specifications as the larger SD cards, making it perfect for photography/videography enthusiasts. Each SD card comes bundled with image recovering software, which is ideal if you happen to accidentally format your memory card. Like most SD cards it comes in a clear case that protects it when not in use.
Lexar have opted for a black and gold colour scheme, to highlight the premium and professional nature of the SD card.
Performance-wise, it is hard to find a device that is capable of measuring the read and write speeds, that is not also limited by its USB2.0 connections (such as USB card readers and internal card readers that use USB2.0 headers, subsequently I opted to use a Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader to check out the benchmarks, which can be seen below:
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
Sequential Read : 93.320 MB/s
Sequential Write : 42.363 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 63.374 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 9.601 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 6.988 MB/s [ 1706.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.231 MB/s [ 300.7 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 9.848 MB/s [ 2404.4 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.674 MB/s [ 408.8 IOPS]
Test : 50 MB [L: 0.0% (0.0/29.8 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2014/09/14 15:22:29
OS : Windows 7 Professional SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
As you can see the benchmark displays some impressive results for an SD card, with write speeds hitting 93 MB/s – ideal for filming HD content.
Overall, the Lexar Professional 600x 32GB SDHC UHS-1 has lived up to my expectations: it offers great performance over non UHS SD cards, making it perfect for 4K and 3D camcorders, without breaking the bank. The included recovery software is an additional plus, providing you with that extra piece of mind when you are out and about, where you only get one chance to take the photograph of a lifetime. The huge storage makes this SD card the ideal partner for wedding photographers, where they can just snap away without the risk of filling up the memory card. Sure it may be considered a bit expensive to some, but performance-wise, you’d be pushed to find a faster card on the market.