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Data Storage Hardware Technology

SanDisk Breaks Storage Record With 400GB MicroSD Card (extremetech.com) 70

SanDisk has managed to cram 400GB into a microSD card, making it the largest microSD card currently on the market. The company said the capacity breakthrough was the result of Western Digital, the company that owns SanDisk, "leveraging its proprietary memory technology and design and production processes that allow for more bits per die." The nitty-gritty details weren't revealed beyond that. ExtremeTech reports: The speed appears to come with a tradeoff. SanDisk trumpets its A1 speed rating, saying: "Rated A1, the SanDisk Ultra microSD card is optimized for apps, delivering faster app launch and performance that provides a better smartphone experience." This is a generous reading of the A1's target performance specification. Last year, the SD Association released a report discussing the App Performance Class memory card specification and why the spec was created in the first place. When Android added support for running applications from an SD card, there was a need to make certain the cards people bought would be quick enough to run apps in the first place. The A1 is rated for 1500 read and 500 write IOPS, with a sequential transfer speed of 10MB/s.

This SanDisk drive should run applications just fine. SanDisk claims it can be used for recording video, not just storing it. But it's not going to be fast enough for 4K data; Class 10 devices are limited to 10MB/s of sequential write performance. Obviously not all phones support shooting in 4K anyway, so whether this is a limitation will depend on what device you plan to plug it into. The 100MB/s speed trumpeted by Western Digital is a reference to read speeds; write speeds are lower and likely closer to the 10MB/s sequential target mentioned above. The microSD card is expected to retail for $250.

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SanDisk Breaks Storage Record With 400GB MicroSD Card

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @09:04PM (#55120057) Homepage Journal

    SanDisk claims it can be used for recording video, not just storing it.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but how do you record videos without storing them?

    • by kiviQr ( 3443687 )
      It is common for devices to have buffer that allows you to store certain amount of data while you offload it to storage device. Most high end DSLR use it.
    • Maybe I'm missing something, but how do you record videos without storing them?

      I think you read it the wrong way around.
      To give an example, you could have some high speed cards you use to record your videos, then transfer them at a lower speed to a high capacity card that isn't capable of handling real time recording speeds. They are saying this card is capable of both.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Maybe I'm missing something, but how do you record videos without storing them?

      There's several problems. A lot of "fast" SD cards are really quite slow - they let you write maybe 16MB or so really quickly, then they transfer that to the slower larger flash array. So if you're a photographer, they will start writing really quickly but then it slows down if you're doing a motor-drive shorts. If you're a casual user and snap a photo now and again, the card appears fast.

      The problem is large cards can be slower,

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Uhm, no...they don't. SD cards do not have an on-card write cache or any magic reason for them to slow down after 16MB.

        A CAMERA has a memory buffer to allow burst shots and not lock up while writing to the memory card...and windows will buffer writes as well to external drives/media depending on your configuration.

        Larger cards tend to be slower (often bc people go cheap) but there are plenty of large, fast cards as well. Just ask any pro photographer if google is broken.

    • Record implies storing at the rate that the data is produced. Depending on the device, you may have a fairly small amount of buffering. You need to be able to accept a constant stream of data at around 30Mb/s, with a fairly small buffer, for a period of tens of minutes, which means that things like garbage collection in the controller can't block writes enough that this causes back-pressure and data loss.
      • Record implies storing at the rate that the data is produced.

        Yes, I know.

        I think I read "not just" as "just not".

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @09:29PM (#55120127) Homepage
    border agent: we need to scan your phone and its SDcard for national security
    /.er: of course. wouldnt want the terrorists to win!
    ...weeks LATER...
    Border patrol captain: so let me get this straight. the reason everything from the phones to the cameras and the gates are running at a crawl is because one citizens phone contained 400gb of individual zip bombs marked "terrorist_plot.zip" so you guys just went from machine to machine trying to unzip them? where is he now?
    border agent: oh he left days ago.
  • I thought flash memory devices always had to be enumerated in fake arbitrary powers of 2.

    • Nope. Memories are typically powers of two because that lets you make the most efficient use of addressing lines. If you have 32 addressing lines, then you can address 4GiB of memory with each possible value on the wire representing one address. If you have an amount of memory that isn't a power of two, then you are making inefficient use of the addressing lines. This has become less important with serial protocols (you don't need more wires, you just have a small amount of redundant data for the interf
  • SanDisk claims it can be used for recording video, not just storing it.

    Don't feel bad, I read it wrong, too. Let's make it simple. The first part is "SanDisk claims it can be used for recording video." As AC above noted, the second part is easy to get wrong. I also read it at first as "just not storing it". The correct reading is "not only storing it." A good replacement might go like, "The device can store video, of course, but can also keep up with record speeds."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But it's not going to be fast enough for 4K data; Class 10 devices are limited to 10MB/s of sequential write performance. Obviously not all phones support shooting in 4K anyway, so whether this is a limitation will depend on what device you plan to plug it into. The 100MB/s speed trumpeted by Western Digital is a reference to read speeds; write speeds are lower and likely closer to the 10MB/s sequential target mentioned above.

    A very brief glance at what Class 10 and A1 and U1 rating mean [wikipedia.org] show that this is

    • by Shrubbman ( 3807 )

      But it's not going to be fast enough for 4K data; Class 10 devices are limited to 10MB/s of sequential write performance. Obviously not all phones support shooting in 4K anyway, so whether this is a limitation will depend on what device you plan to plug it into. The 100MB/s speed trumpeted by Western Digital is a reference to read speeds; write speeds are lower and likely closer to the 10MB/s sequential target mentioned above.

      A very brief glance at what Class 10 and A1 and U1 rating mean [wikipedia.org] show that this is a hopelessly wrong summary. The card will almost certainly write video (sustained sequential writes) at much higher than 10MB/s. It is rated for 1080p video. It might or might not be able to write 4k video.

      This. Class 10 cards are rated for a MINIMUM of 10MB/s sustained write speeds, not a maximum like the summary seems to suggest and most cards from the major manufacturers nowadays still have the old Class 10 even though they actually support drastically faster sustained write speeds.

  • by fnj ( 64210 )

    What is the point of hideously overpriced dog-slow large-capacity SD cards with extremely limited wear leveling and piss poor reliability? What are the chances you could fill this bow-wow up even once and read it all back successfully and error-free?

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Fill up 400GB? Sure, depending on your use this isn't extremely difficult. Read it back? Yes, I've pretty good faith in Sandisk selling a product that has been tested and actually works.

      How much wear leveling do you expect to need on a card you don't even believe people will be able to fill up in the first place though? You can't argue both sides and not be wrong on at least one anyhow. You seem to confuse this with knock-off 256GB cards that were (or are) for sale from knock-off chinese vendors that d

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      What is the point of hideously overpriced dog-slow large-capacity SD cards with extremely limited wear leveling and piss poor reliability?

      The point is that it's a step toward something incredibly usedful: dog-slow large-capacitry SD cards with extremely limited wear leveling. If you can make 'em cheap and reliable enough (the two problems that I deleted from your description) you can finally have a car music player that doesn't need a hard disk.

  • by Illogical Spock ( 1058270 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @09:59PM (#55120267)

          It will be a failure, since it will not fit any microSD port...

    • I can't see anything in this article suggesting it won't work in a standard microSD port. You should've quoted or linked the information to back up this claim. Why would the picture of the card have "MicroSD" on it if it doesn't work in a microSD port.... If it doesn't work in a MicroSD port wouldn't that make it not a MicroSD card ?

      • I'm struggling to decide if you failed to spot my joke or if you're joking too. :-) If the case is the former, a tip: "Largest".

    • It will be a failure, since it will not fit any microSD port...

      Personally, I got a laugh from this. I'm planning a road trip from the east coast to the west coast and there are a number of "largest X" roadside attractions along the way.

      I can just see it now, a microSD card the size of a 4-story building with a micro-SD slot for tourists to upload their travel photos to... Have the photos display on a giant screen on the side as a slide show and have options to upload to social media... It's gonna be huuuuge I tell you!! Huuuge.... (grin)

      Hey, I should patent this

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @10:31PM (#55120381)

    ... store everything I've ever written or photographed on one of these. Every personal record, bank statement, tax form. Then sneeze once and its lost in the shag rug forever.

    • ... tie a small string around it (dental floss?) and attach the other end to a brick. That way you won't lose it.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      ... store everything I've ever written or photographed on one of these. Every personal record, bank statement, tax form. Then sneeze once and its lost in the shag rug forever.

      Just ask the NSA for their copy... for bonus point they'll also have all your phone calls transcribed, your photos will be marked with facial recognition and location recognition and cross indexed with the cell phone tower, GPS and open WiFi name records of where you've been and every http URL you've ever visited. And I'm only half joking, it's creepy that technology now actually makes it feasible to store practically everything about practically everyone.

    • There's this new tech supposed to be ready for commercial use around 2018~
      I believe they call it "The Backup".

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @12:50AM (#55120715)

    Rumor is that this card uses QLC (quad-level cell) tech, which if true, would mean a very low number of rewrites possible. It would also mean poor performance. I know I wouldn't want to bet 400GB of irreplaceable data on unproven tech.

  • So what's that in porn-phone-hours?

    I ask only from idle curiosity, of course.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

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