ADATA Premier and XPG SDXC and microSDXC Cards Reviewby Ganesh T S on October 30, 2017 8:00 AM EST
Digital cameras and camcorders employ memory cards (flash-based removable media) for storage of captured content. There are different varieties of memory cards catering to various performance levels. CompactFlash (CF) became popular in the late 90s, but, has now been overtaken by Secure Digital (SD) cards. Many computing systems (PCs as well as smartphones) also support SD cards for augmenting local storage capabilities. We recently started in-depth evaluation of the performance of various memory cards. This piece evaluates a number of memory cards from ADATA.
SD (Secure Digital) cards were introduced in 1999, as an update to the existing MultiMediaCards (MMCs). It gained traction even in areas where CompactFlash had been preferred, thanks to its small size. Its popularity is evident by the fact that it has spawned two follow-ups in the same form factor - starting with the SDSC in 1999 for capacities between 1MB and 2GB, we got SD High Capacity (SDHC) in 2006 (up to 32GB) and SD eXtended Capacity (SDXC) in 2009 (up to 2TB). The cards also come in various sizes - standard, mini, and micro. Currently, the standard and micro sizes are more popular in the market. SD's popularity and affordability has meant that almost all consumer cameras come with a SD card slot.
ADATA is a popular vendor in the memory market with their DRAM and SSD lineup. Their expertise with flash obviously places them in a good position to target the memory card market. In particular, they have a large number of SD and microSD cards targeting various performance levels. They sent across 6 different cards (three in SD and three in microSD form factors):
- ADATA Premier ONE 128GB SDXC UHS-II U3 Class10 V90 3D NAND SD Card
- ADATA XPG 64GB SDXC UHS-I U3 Class 10 SD Card
- ADATA Premier Pro 64GB SDXC UHS-I U3 Class 10 SD Card
- ADATA Premier ONE 256GB microSDXC UHS-II U3 Class10 V90 3D NAND microSD Card
- ADATA XPG 64GB microSDXC UHS-I U3 Class 10 microSD Card
- ADATA Premier 64GB SDXC UHS-I U3 Class 10 microSD Card
Each of these six cards were subject to our comprehensive memory card evaluation routine, and five of them emerged unscathed.
The next two sections will details the obtained performance numbers. Prior to that, we take a look at the testbed setup and evaluation methodology.
Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology
Evaluation of memory cards is done on Windows with the testbed outlined in the table below. The USB 3.1 Type-C port enabled by the Intel Alpine Ridge controller. It connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link. is used for benchmarking purposes on the testbed side. SD cards utilize the Lexar Professional Workflow SR2 SDHC / SDXC UHS-II USB 3.0 Reader. The reader was placed in the Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 hub and uplinked through its USB 3.0 port with the help of a USB 3.0 Type-A female to Type-C male cable.
|AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
|OS Drive||Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB|
|SATA Devices||Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
|Chassis||Cooler Master HAF XB EVO|
|PSU||Cooler Master V750 750 W|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro x64|
|Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components|
The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here.
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BrokenCrayons - Monday, October 30, 2017 - linkManufacturers seem to keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to describing the sort of flash technology they use in SD and microSD cards. Is it a safe bet that most of them are TLC? Are there any analytical tools that can probe cards and report that sort of thing?
ganeshts - Monday, October 30, 2017 - linkSurprisingly, ADATA is quite upfront about the type of flash used in most of their SD cards. From the carousel picture / packaging, it is already evident that the XPG microSDXC card uses MLC flash.
For the other products:
Premier ONE SDXC / uSDXC : http://www.adata.com/en/feature/449 , http://www.adata.com/en/feature/450 : MLC is mentioned in the product description
Premier Pro SDXC : http://www.adata.com/in/feature/288 : also mentions MLC
The XPG SDXC appears to be a higher channel count version of the Premier Pro, and I suspect that it uses the same internals as that of the Premier Pro SDXC.
The only SKU remaining is the Premier uSDXC : http://www.adata.com/en/feature/451 : It makes no mention of MLC / TLC, which leads me to believe that it is TLC (It was also the only card that failed to pass our evaluation routine).
BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - linkCool thanks for the update! I hope ADATA says as transparent about what parts use MLC.
ltcommanderdata - Monday, October 30, 2017 - linkDo these ADATA UHS-II cards properly fall back to UHS-I SDR104? Some Sandisk UHS-II cards were bottlenecked at 50 MB/s when operating in UHS-I devices instead of achieving closer to the max theoretical 104 MB/s of UHS-I.
imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - linkDoes anyone know why they don't have readers for this cards with lots of slots? For some reason i can only find those all in one devices on doggle. But you would think because used so much they would have a single device to read lots of them as drives?
Also, for some reason WIn 10 will only let you read from one device at a time?
chrkv - Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - linkI can recommend this site for information about camera writing speed to different SD cards https://www.cameramemoryspeed.com/.
ganeshts - Saturday, November 4, 2017 - linkLooks like a very thorough site. But, the one aspect they seem to not cover is how the card behavior is after repeated usage. Our accelerated ageing simulation will present readers with one more important aspect to consider.
alexanderkarkov1 - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - linkLonger answer: some cards are so good, they're capable of recording 4K video in your GoPro but will also give great performance in your phone. Basically, if you're buying a microSD card for any device that records video, you'll want one with a high 'sequential' transfer speed.
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