SD Express will boost the performance of removable memory cards to levels never seen in its next specification (v8.0), as announced by the SDA, the industry association behind this standard.
You already know that SD memory cards recently completed the first 20 years since their commercialization and continue to be a very important standard for increasing storage capacity in a wide variety of devices, especially in their most widely used formats such as microSD.
SD Express is the future and comes with an internally relevant change, allowing you to increase your performance and storage capacity, while reducing consumption. The main novelty is the using the PCI-Express interface and NVMe protocol options, such as bus mastering, multiple queuing (no lockout mechanism), and host memory buffering. Accepted protocols that are already on the market and are used in other storage solutions like SSD.
Until the current version, the standard used PCIe 3.0 for data transfer performance of up to 985 Mbytes per second in read mode. Now SDA announces an update that will use a more advanced standard, PCIe 4.0, with potential throughput of up to 4GB / s. These values will be a blessing for any user and in particular for photography and video professionals, facilitating the handling of 4K and 8K video and RAW captures.
The image published by SDA indicates what we can expect in performance of each of the standards:
In addition to performance, some formats like microSD also will consume less, since the second row of pins includes the low-power substations (L1.1, L1.2) that allow low-power implementations of these cards for use in smartphones. The new cards are expected to consume less power than current microSD cards, even after the large increase in data transfer.
These new SD Express cards will be backward compatible with previous SD standards, will be offered in full-size SD and will also come in the microSD format. They will be offered in various formats (SDUC, SDXC and SDHC) and will also offer a exponential increase in storage capacity, from the current 2 TB maximum to 128 TB of the Express Ultra Capacity standard. You read correctly: 128 Tbytes on an SD card. It is the theoretical maximum and there is no practical need to achieve it, but spectacular in any case.
A bright future awaits these removable and external memory cards, which are still very much needed by the industry. Price and availability of models with SD Express are not known.