If the original SD Express gave niche and proprietary memory card formats a run for their money, its follow-up might just blow past them. The SD Association has unveiled (via Gizmodo) an 8.0 specification for SD Express that promises up to a 3,940MB/s transfer rate — that’s four times faster than the original spec, and might just outpace the SSD in your computer. The standard still uses the NVMe Express protocol, but it’s taking advantage of a two-lane PCIe 4.0 connection to get even more bandwidth.
This could open doors for many device categories, the Association said. It’ll clearly be helpful for pro photographers determined to shoot at very high resolutions or capture as many RAW photos in burst mode as they can. However, the Association also expects it to help with 8K and VR video as well as apps running on mobile devices — picture handheld consoles with storage performance you’d normally expect from a fast laptop.
The new SD Express will support storage capacities up to SDUC, so you could theoretically buy a 128TB card in the (likely distant) future.
You’ll have to be patient. This is just the core spec. It’ll take some time before companies make cards and readers that can handle the extra speed, and longer still for the products you like to start using it. This is merely a peek at what the future of SD cards will hold, even if it is a bright future.