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SanDisk Ultra II SD 2GB

SanDisk is one of the big players when it comes to flash memory so we were happy to see it represented here. With its mainly black finish, the SanDisk Ultra II SD card is probably the most distinct in terms of appearance. It is a member of SanDisk’s professional range too, primarily designed for photographers who want a fast and durable memory card. Like a number of the cards here, the Ultra II also backed by a 10 year warranty, (lifetime limited in the US).

The Ultra II is billed as having a minimum sustained write speed of 9MB/s (60X) and a read speed of 10MB/s (66X). These are based on HD Bench software testing but in the real world did we get close to them? Well, yes and no.

If you take the more common practice of writing images to and from the card, then the Ultra II comes reasonably close to those figures, especially in terms of read speed. In the SanDisk reader (the faster of the two multi-slot readers), the card maintained an average read speed of 9MB/s, whereas in the dedicated SD reader from Lexar, this was upped to 9.9MB/s. Earlier I said reasonably close because the write speed seemed to top out at 6.9MB/s for both card readers, down on the stated 9MB/s.

That said write speed in the Canon EOS-1D Mark II was the fastest at a nifty 7.7MB/s. If you own this camera and enjoy shooting rapid continuous burst, then this will help the camera empty its buffer more quickly.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. Like the Crucial CF card, the Ultra II had some issues when the mixed files in multiple folders were written to it, using each multi-slot card reader. With the SanDisk reader it took some 31mins (an average rate of 0.6MB/s) to copy the data to it, and almost 34mins (0.5MB/s) in the Crucial reader.

Ok, so it’s aimed at photographers, but some might use it for general storage where data held in multiple folders is more commonplace. Despite that (and the fact that many of the cards were not earth shattering in those tests), we decided to give it a performance rating of eight based on the in-camera write speeds, and good image-based read and write times.

Verdict

At £54, the SanDisk is priced just above mid-range when compared to the rest of the SD cards. However, it doesn’t quite match the all-round performance of Kingston’s SD Ultimate or the extra value offered by Lexar’s Professional SD 133X (and its bundled SD reader). Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth contemplating based on in-camera speed and decent image transfer rates.

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