ProGrade Digital is the first company to demonstrate the new CFexpress (CFx) 1.0 technology in 1TB capacity at NAB 2018. The new CFx Type B standard reaches Data Transfer speeds of 1,400MB/s in a same form factor as XQD cards. The company also introduced new high capacity CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II cards.
CFexpress (CFx) is a new memory card standard promoted by the CompactFlash Association (CFA) as an evolution of the XQD standard. It is an outcome of the divided market of top-tier manufacturers, where some use the CFast standard, which is based on the older SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interface and others (Sony and Nikon) use the XQD standard, based on a more advanced PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface.
The initial CFx card form factor – known as Type B – is the first version of the new standard that will hit the market and conforms exactly to that of XQD. Over time, other form factors within the CFx specification will likely include a Type A card (single lane) similar to SD, a Type C card (four lane) similar to storage modules from Codex and possibly an even larger Type D (eight lane) for very high capacity and performance. Compared to the older XQD standard, the CFx Type B form factor adds the second PCIe lane and the logical device interface capability of NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express), leveraging the performance capabilities.
There are several benefits to a CFx Type B card for use in digital imaging applications:
- Form Factor ideally suited for higher capacities needed in imaging applications – up-to 1TB with current NAND flash memory technology
- Physical size that is easy to handle – slightly larger than SD and slightly smaller than CFast or CompactFlash (29.6 x 38.5 x 3.8 mm)
- Performance capability capable of >1GB/sec transfer rates, through the use of two PCIe data lanes
- NVMe protocol support for optimized performance with flash memory in newer computing architectures
- Backward compatibility possible to XQD host platforms through upgrade of host operating system (firmware)
At this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas ProGrade Digital demonstrated a CFx Type B 1TB card showing performance levels of more than twice that of CFast and more than four times that of SDXC UHS-II. The ProGrade Digital product’s read performance was demonstrated as being greater than 1,400MB/s with burst write speeds greater than 1,000MB/s.
The demonstration also included thermal throttling – the ability to slow down the transfer rate of the card if temperatures within the card exceeds 70°C for a sustained period, which is a useful feature for video captures that require long sustained periods of writing to a card. ProGrade Digital also showed development in card reader technology utilizing a Thunderbolt 3 reader, which has the capability to reach transfer speeds of 40Gbits/s (5GB/s).
As the CFexpress technology is new and not widely supported yet, there is no information on pricing or availability for these cards yet.
New ProGrade Digital CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II Cards
Along with the new CFx standard, ProGrade Digital presented their new CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II memory cards. The CFast 2.0 cards achieve speeds of up to 550MB/s and capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. The new SDXC UHS-II memory cards have two different classes. The lower-class cards feature speeds of up to 200MB/s and capacities of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB and are rated at V60 (Minimum write speed at 60MB/s). The higher class of SDXC UHS-II cards has read speeds of up to 250MB/s and sustained write speeds of 200MB/s, while being rated at V90 (Minimum write speed at 90MB/s). The company also presented a CFast & SD Dual Slot Workflow Reader that boasts with a USB 3.1 Gen. 2 transfer protocol.
Memory Card Key Features
- Professional-level capacities for CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II memory cards
- Optimized controllers specifically designed for use in professional-grade cameras
- Rigorous full-card testing with serialized tracking of key components and manufacturing data for highest quality control
- Component-level testing down to individual memory chips for optimal quality
- 3-year warranty
Card Reader Key Features
- Dual slot reader for CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II card formats
- USB 3.1 Gen. 2 transfer speed of up to 10Gb/s
- Supports concurrent full-speed flow of data from cards in each slot
- Portable and compact
- Includes two 18” connection cables: one for Type A to Type C and one for Type C to Type C
- Magnetized reader bottom firmly connects reader to laptop (using included metal mounting plate)
- 2-year warranty
The new CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II memory cards as well as the Card reader are available now, with pricing ranging from $55,- USD to $700,- USD. Check out all the different products buy links by using the links below.
What do you expect from the new CFexpress standard? How long do you think will it take for the industry to fully adopt it? Let us know in the comments below.