SanDisk is laying claim to offering the world's highest-capacity SD card, 512 gigabytes of flash storage -- but at $800, it's not cheap. The new SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I aims at photography and video professionals that absolutely must have the most advanced equipment available to shoot 4K Ultra High Definition (3840x2160p) video, Full HD video (1920x1080) and high-speed burst mode photography.
Dinesh Bahal, vice president of Product Marketing at SanDisk, said his company continued to push the boundaries of technology: "4K Ultra HD is an example of a technology that is pushing us to develop new storage solutions capable of handling massive file sizes."
SanDisk unveiled its first 512-megabyte SD card in 2003. Over the past 11 years demands have increased dramatically, and the company has responded accordingly. The new 512 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is a 1,000-fold increase in capacity over the 2003 model, yet it has not increased in physical size.
Beyond its sheer storage capacity, SanDisk's latest innovation has some additional bragging points. The card, for example, delivers write speeds up to 90 MB per second and UHS Speed Class 3 recording speed for high resolution, real-world color and stutter-free 4K Ultra HD video. Transfer speeds up to 95 MB per second move data quickly for efficient post-production workflow.
The bottom line: The new card makes it possible for photographers and videographers to shoot plenty of images and footage without interruption. The card was designed with harsh conditions in mind. SanDisk said it's temperature proof, waterproof, shockproof, and X-ray proof. The company also offers RescuePro Deluxe data recovery software with the card in case a user accidentally delete images.
A Ridiculous Amount of Storage?
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the new SanDisk card. He told us the announcement is interesting from both technological and market perspectives.
"On the former point, the essential doubling -- from 256 GB in previously maxed-out SD cards -- represents a significant breakthrough in terms of storage function and form," King said. "The company seriously deserves a pat on the back for being the first vendor to get there, though I don't expect them to be the last."
Marketwise, King said, delivering technological breakthroughs is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. For standard digital cameras, he called 512 GB "a ridiculous amount of storage" considering you could store around 175,000 8-megapixel still photos on a single card. But he acknowledged higher-resolution photos and, even more important, high performance -- 4k and 5k or what some call Ultra HD -- video capture is the market SanDisk is really trying to serve.
"Interestingly enough, however, premium 4k TVs and displays haven't really taken the market by storm and 5k products are mainly on the horizon," King said. "But products like this new SanDisk card are critical to seeding demand for the larger 4k and 5k ecosystem and helping to spark adoption of the cameras, video cameras and displays people will need to capture, create and enjoy those images."
The SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC/SDXC memory cards are available worldwide in capacities of 512 GB, 256 GB and 128 GB.