MicroSD cards are about to get a whole lot faster, thanks to the newly announced microSD Express format that the SD Association announced at MWC 2019. The new cards will rely on the far faster PCIe and NVMe interfaces commonly used on modern SSDs to reach speeds of up to 985 megabytes per second.
For comparison, Western Digital’s new 1TB SanDisk microSD card, also announced at MWC and which claims to be the fastest 1TB card in the world, tops off at just 160MB/s for reading data, and 90MB/s for writing it. The new microSD Express spec also should crush (in theory) smaller capacity cards, like Delkin Devices’ 128GB Prime card that tops out at a maximum read speed of 300 MB/s.
The SD Association actually first announced full-size SD Express cards several months ago that promise similar transfer speeds as part of the SD 7.0 specification, but today’s news at MWC (the SD 7.1 spec) is now bringing those same speeds to the smaller and more versatile microSD format. The new microSD Express cards will also still feature the legacy microSD interface for backwards compatibility with older devices, albeit at a slower speed.
Of course, for both the SD and microSD card sizes, we’ll still have to wait for card manufacturers to start making memory cards that use the new specification, as well as for laptop, camera, phone, and console companies to build hardware that can take advantage of the faster speeds. But if you’ve ever lamented how long it took to transfer files to a memory card, a faster future looks closer than ever.