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New Classifications Added to SD Cards

Gordon Kelly


New Classifications Added to SD Cards

While I'm polishing off news that flew by while I was scribbling the Britain's Broadband Blacklash editorial you've all been so kind about today, this small - but important - piece of news slipped out...

Reeling it back in we find the consistently weird SD Association has announced two new high-speed performance distinctions to better represent the major speed bumps we are to receive as SDXC cards begin to hit their stride and SDHC cards pull out a little more oomph. As ever with the SD Association the theory is 50 per cent good idea, 50 per cent bad idea and further confuses a product sector which really shouldn't be simpler.

The first distinction is the introduction of a capital 'I' symbol to represent products hitting new performance highs of "up to" 104MB per second due to their faster architecture. This is 4x the current 25MB per second max the symbols had bizarrely/only differentiated between up to now. This is semi-sensible, though using the phrase 'up to' as we all know can only lead to confusion and iffy Class I products - 'above' would have made far more sense.

Making utterly no sense, however, is the Association's decision to add a symbol ('U' with a '1' in it) to the tried and trusted - and increasingly old in the tooth - SD card which indicates whether or not it can record HD video.

Why nonsense? Because existing Speed Class symbols for SD and SDHC products are Class 2 (2MBps), Class 4 (4MBps), Class 6 (6MBps) and Class 10 (10MBps) - so firstly it has broken with its existing (and still largely misunderstood) branding system. Secondly Class 10 cards are absolutely fine for recording Full HD video, and you can even get away with it on Class 4 and Class 6 cards.

"The new high-speed symbols are designed to make it easier for consumers to take advantage of the massive storage and incredible speeds offered in SDXC and SDHC products," said SD Association executive director Paul Ritchie.

Fat chance.


SD Association Press Release (PDF Warning)


June 28, 2010, 7:05 pm

The consumer is fast becoming confused and understandably ignorant to technology.


June 28, 2010, 7:13 pm

Can we please have a complete tech ban on the term 'up to'. The term is meaningless apart from that you won't get more than this.

Is it really that hard to just put the read/write speeds on the front of the card.


June 28, 2010, 9:37 pm

sooooooo.....whats the diffrence between SDHC and SDXC?

Am i right in saying SDHC maxium size is 32 gb, and SDXC is larger?

anything else I should know about :s


June 28, 2010, 9:39 pm

@Soul - I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest if you click the 'SDXC' hyperlink in the story itself, that may well take you to an article which explains it all... ;)


June 28, 2010, 11:12 pm

I think many people got lost the moment SDHC came out. Still have to explain it to friends and family.


June 29, 2010, 1:02 am

Why can't we have ONE CARD, that works in EVERYTHING, so i don't have to check if my different appliances can use it or not... and 2 speeds (ok maybe 3) but still a:

Slow (cheap) Fast (Expesive)----- Not hard ^.^

@Gordon Having read a little on it, am i right in saying the SDXC should last a lot longer then other cards, because this (like all the other SD CARDS) have the ability to go up to 2 terabytes, but unlike the others are not stopped at a certain limit.

or will you need different card reads to read different amounts of data... or reading speeds..... sigh

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