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Faster SD cards coming in 2010

SDXC spec promises 2TB capacity

Memory cards based on a new specification will boost storage of consumer electronics to as much as 2TB, the SD Association said Thursday.

Secure Digital memory cards based on the new SDXC (extended capacity) specification could be out as early as next year with a capacity of 64GB, with 2TB available at some future point, said Kevin Schader, director of communications at the SDA.

The SDXC specification was announced in January, but the SDA couldn't then provide a time frame for the release of products. The specification was released to SDA member companies in April, Schader said.

Companies including Panasonic have announced plans to develop memory cards based on the new specification. The SD Association has about 1,100 member companies, including Toshiba and SanDisk, involved in the design, manufacture and sale of products using SD technology.

SD cards can be slotted into consumer electronics devices to store images, video or other data. The new specification will replace SD slots and media based on the older SDHC specification commonly used in devices.

Memory cards in multiple sizes and capacity based on the SDHC specification, including the miniSD and microSD formats, are commonly used removable memory in mobile phones. Apple earlier this week said it would add SD card slots to new MacBook Pro laptops due for release later this year.

The SDXC specification upgrades the storage capacity and cuts the data-transfer bottlenecks that plagued earlier specifications. It calls for data transfers between SDXC slots and media at 104MB per second, quadrupling current speeds. That could reach up to 300MB per second in the future, Schader said.

Initial slots and media based on the new specification could reach data transfer rates of 52MB per second, Schader said, adding that consumers can expect that to improve in the future. He couldn't predict when storage capacities of SD cards would hit 2TB. SD cards today have 32GB of storage capacity.

The new slots will be backward compatible and support older SD media, he said. However, older SD slots will not support new media.


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