Sony Reveals Speedy 125 Mbps Flash Cards

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Sony is to begin selling flash memory cards capable of write speeds of 125 Mbps, for high end DSLR cameras

Just in time to capture the fast moving action at the London Olympics, camera enthusiasts now have the option of acquiring a flash memory card that offers write speeds of 125 Mbps.

These write speeds are the fastest in the industry, Sony claims, and the new cards are designed for high-end DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. The high read and write speeds allows the camera to quickly write images and video onto the card, for example, when taking pictures of sporting action with the camera set in Sports mode.

Rapid Fire Pictures

The advanced processors and image sensors in today’s generation of DSLR cameras can often cope with taking many pictures in quick succession, but sometimes the bottleneck is the slow write speed to the memory card.

Sony hopes to solve this with its XQD cards, a new card specification that the CompactFlash Assocation announced in December.

Sony will begin to sell two cards from February, a 16GB version costing around £84, and a 32GB version costing roughly £149. It hopes camera manufacturers will soon include the format in their DSLRs. One that will do it shortly is the Nikon D4.

“Using the XQD memory cards, XQD-compatible high-end DSLR camera users can capture up to approximately 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode,” said Sony. “In addition to outstanding high-speed data transfer capability, the new cards are highly reliable to protect users’ data and images.”

Viviano Cantu, director of Consumer Media for Sony Electronics, said, “Advanced shooters want to capture the moment in the highest quality possible, and that often means dealing with massive files like RAW images. Memory card technology has done a great job of keeping pace, but these new cards give an entirely new meaning to speed and performance.”

Sony is also offering card readers that work with USB 3.0 and PCI slots in computers,  so users can quickly transfer large quantities of very high capacity data (pictures and video) to their PC.

Sony claimed the XQD format can deliver data transfer rates of up to “1Gbps (125MB/s) write and read” through the PCIe interface.

“As users’ needs continue to evolve,” Cantu added, “Sony will also continue to enhance the XQD memory card line-up to meet the future requirements of the high-end digital imaging market.”

CompactFlash is an older rival to formats such as Secure Digital (SD) which is now widely used for storage in mainstream digital cameras, mobile phones and personal computers.

Memory Advances

Besides increasing the read and write speeds of memory, a lot of research is going into making memory more energy efficient.

In February last year, for example, researchers claimed to have developed flash memory for gadgets that use low power or have no batteries at all.

Other researchers also said they had developed new memory technology that can switch off parts of a computer’s memory not being accessed by the system, in order to drastically lower power consumption.

It remains to be seen whether flash memory products will be the technology used in devices of the future. Last July, IBM claimed to have made a “significant advancement” in the field of computer memory, with a promising new technology called phase-change memory (PCM).

IBM said that PCM can potentially offer non-volatile and high-density data storage that is 100 times faster and far more durable than flash, which is the most commonly used non-volatile memory technology today.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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