back to article Sony intros high-end camera storage card

And here's a new memory card format, courtesy of Sony. Just what the world needs, no? It's the XQD card, and it comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities. Sony is also offering USB 3.0 and ExpressCard adaptors. The format is aimed at high-end DSLRs, which will have to build the tech in if their manufacturers want to support it. One …

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Silver badge

Something wrong there

Looking at the pricing Sony is NOT gouging for a proprietary format. Are we supposed to think this is the new CF or something?

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FAIL

that will work with

the betamax/ATRAC video codec on my Minidisc camera.

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FAIL

Looks like SxS in disguise

This looks like it's an off-shoot of Sony's professional SxS memory format (used in their pro video cameras). Probably using MLC rather than the SLC used in SxS. (although there is a cheaper SxS that uses MLC).

SxS is indeed fast and reliable, but it's massively overpriced. A 32 gb card is currently just shy of £600! Total price gouging by Sony. However luckily for us XDCAM users Sony opened up the USB bus on the express card slots for their hard disk recorder which paved the way for adaptors that could use SD cards.

So even the professionals shy away from Sony's formats if they get the chance. But I guess there's probably more money in the media these days than the electronics so Sony keep on trying to push their formats on us.

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Anonymous Coward

A bit disingenuous

If it mirrors PATA, compact flash has a proven path all the way up to 133MB/s and could probably go faster with minor physical tweaks to the connector, so the NAND chips therein and the arbitration thereof are the limiting factors.

I see a card that looks cheaper to manufacture (a serial interface and gold contacts flashed onto PCB substrate?) and one that Sony can presumably collect royalties on.

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Stop

besides the usual Sony flame fest..

This is not a Sony only format as above posters seem to think. It is already used in the new Nikon D4 high end DSLR.

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The concern I'd have is not whether anyone other than Sony is building support for this format into their devices, but rather whether or not anyone other than Sony will be allowed to make the cards.

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Not a proprietary format

XQD is the new format adopted by the CompactFlash Association to replace CompactFlash

http://compactflash.org/2011/compactflash-association-announces-the-recently-adopted-xqdtm-specification-as-a-new-memory-card-format/

Sony are just the first out of the blocks getting it to market.

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It's a standard, apparently

According to Wikipedia[1]:

"The format was first announced in November 2010 by Sandisk, Sony and Nikon, and was immediately picked up by the CompactFlash Association for development"

Or even

http://compactflash.org/2011/compactflash-association-announces-the-recently-adopted-xqdtm-specification-as-a-new-memory-card-format/

[1] Yes, yes....

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truth in advertising once more

nice graph - the 'zero' point appears to be about 60Mb/sec...

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Anonymous Coward

Burst or sustained?

I hate how marketing will often quote burst speeds when what matters is sustained speed. I don't care if you can move one sector of data from the host microprocessor to the card's microprocessor at 125Mb/s, I care about how quickly you can move 125MB of data from the host microprocessor to the card's flash, including any delays for garbage collection/block erase and other issues with trying make large erase block flash look like small sectors.

What I want to know can be answered by one simple command:

time dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=512

(substituting the appropriate device name, naturally).

It's like all this BS on hybrid cars about getting $BIGNUM miles/gallon ($SMALLNUM l/km for you UK types). If you say your car gets 150 MPG, then I want to put 10 gallons in, and drive 1500 miles, without refuelng or recharging. If you cannot do that, you aren't getting 150MPG.

Likewise, if you claim a throughput of 125Mb/s, then I should be able to write 32G of data in just under an hour - and if you cannot do that, then you aren't making 125Mb/sec.

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Gold badge

Sustained write speed is very important on high-end cameras used to capture sports accidents and impacts. There are a lot of tests done using a camera continuously writing RAW datafiles shooting at 10-14 frames/sec and videoing the whole capture.

You can then measure the sustained write speed by looking at the amount of data written and the time taken to do it. People normally measure it over several seconds, and my Sandisk cards seem to live up to the promises that they make (as it happens, they still can't keep up with the camera in full-flow, but I don't need long bursts so not a problem for me.)

Measuring the read/write speed using dd is difficult because it's almost impossible to find a PC & card reader that can keep up with the fast cards (100MB/sec)

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Uh oh, whatever that means for CFast ?

A while ago, I was delighted to test-drive my first CFast card. I even managed to find some card readers, sold in Germany and elsewhere under the DeLock brand... CFast seems like a neatly open, future-proof and fairly obvious successor to CompactFlash. I'm starting to wonder if CFast is going to survive, or if it turns out to be a dead end... (owing to big-name camera vendors' marketing decisions). It would certainly be wonderful to have CFast as a ubiquitous boot drive form factor in embedded PC's for the years to come (instead of CompactFlash, now that parallel IDE is finally dead in new PC chipsets).

The SATA interface spec is nowadays capable of 600 MBps. The CFast card that I held in my hands (SLC-based, by Innodisk) was capable of about 90 MBps sequential (Linux dd-like test), featuring a 1st-gen 150 MBps SATA interface.

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