back to article SDXC memory card spec launched for 2TB capacity

32GB SDHC cards too small for you? How about 2TB? That's what the SDXC memory card format is designed to deliver. Announced today at CES, the XC - for 'eXtended Capacity', but what's wrong with EC? - the format also ups read and write speeds to 104MB/s. The SD Association - the organisation that oversees the SD card standard …


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  1. Steven Raith


    Specs sound tasty, how good would that be for backing up your grot* collection? Stuff using a dozen BluRay discs, a couple of terabyte SDXC cards and you're off.

    Shame that, at least in the short to medium term, they'll probably cost as much as a small car :-(

    Steven R

    *Er, I mean your databases and legitimate backup copies of DVDs. Honest.

  2. jonathan keith

    Out of interest

    Is that photo to scale?

  3. E

    Wait for it!

    Let me see... 300MB/s, 2TB/ card, a card is roughly 1 cm square by 2mm thick.

    So... I will be able to (somehow) make myself a RAID 5 array of about 10TB capacity with the media occupying a volume of about 1.2 cubic cm.

    And on the specs above it ought to kick the shyte out of SDD.

    Am I missing something here?

  4. Tony Barnes

    Don't get it...

    What's the roadmap for these things, surely they're not just around the corner??

    Biggest SD card I've seen is around the 32gb mark, about £70 IIRC... so, get that up to 2TB, times by 64 - so £4.5k is about right.

    Interesting though, IMVHO, as above, optical devices are pretty fucked if this is the competition they're up against.

  5. E

    @Steven Raith

    Priest holes will come back after a fashion. The copyright police will be tearing down walls looking for these little blighters stuffed full of proscribed content.

  6. Frank Bough
    Thumb Down

    fat 64?

    ...not much chance of it actually working on anything but a WinPC, then. It's time that flash crads adopted a non-MS filesystem designed for the job they do.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can they provide backward compatibility to XP and 2K? Some of us are still on the 'better' OSes than Vista.

  8. Christian Berger

    Why only 2 TB?

    Seriously, couldn't they just go to 64 bit adressing or something?

  9. E
    Thumb Up

    re: FAT64

    Why not format it with a good f/s like EXT3 or a real killer one like Reiserfs?

  10. Calum

    Re: FAT

    This is simply a spec to future proofing SD cards as the limit for SDHC specs is currently 32Gb and has already been reached.

    FAT32 is more than capable of handling upto 2TB and linux can read-write to NTFS with the NTFS-3g driver if necessary. 2TB SDXC card are likely years away anyway, oh and I read somewhere that cards based on SDXC in '09 will initially be upto 140MB/s

  11. Simon

    Great news!

    I have an mp3 player in my car which plugs into the cigarette lighter, it is tiny, it takes SD cards and USB cards, as well as houses an FM transmitter, and it cost me FIVE POUNDS.

    I bought a 16gb SD card for about fifteen quid. The prices are falling ridiculously fast, especially compared to say, HDD capacities which are increasing far more slowly.

    I absolutely believe we will see terabyte sizes soon. Hopefully we can move on from CDs which are obselete in terms of the awful technology behind them. Perhaps the iteration after blu-ray will be simply using SD cards.

    And can people stop crying about file formats? SD cards function perfectly with no issues at all and also have decent wear levelling, so what is the problem? Annoying people who hate Microsoft for no reason other than its success.

    I doubt the new card will work on any existing card readers.

    The question above about raiding a bunch of these together makes me think why not. Hell, why not already? Why can't I have an 8gb SSD in my laptop with windows on it, and 8 SD card slots?

    Some bright spark is going to twig soon that SD cards are actually incredibly mighty and is going to make something small, simple, and devastating to a lot of companies, particularly optical media companies.

    Why 2TB... why does the current spec go up to something like 128gb yet they won't make any more than I think 32gb?

    A mystery.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Now they've got my attention

    All I can say is holy shyte. Yes these cards will be depressingly expensive when they are first released. However given how quickly the 32 gig cards came down in price, if these follow that same trend then a lot of storage manufacturers are going to have to switch up fabrication operations to include these things. The possibilities for a 2 TB sd card are tremendous and I am definitely looking forward to seeing these things in action.

  13. Brian

    Calm down peeps

    Everyone is getting so caried away. SD cards first came out in 1999 and it took nearly 10 years for them to get up to 32GB. There wont be any 2TB cards out any time soon. I think if we are lucky there might be a 100GB card by the end of this year. @ Tony I think there is plenty life left in optical devices. The media is so cheap to produce.

  14. Frank Bough


    ...are you under the impression that SD was invented by/is controlled by Microsoft?

  15. Simon


    People are complaining about using the FAT file system seemingly because Microsoft were behind it... it always annoys me their only reason is "evil crappy Microsoft did it".

    The comparison you are making by saying SD cards took 10 years to reach 32gb isn't quite valid. The first hard drive was (according to wikipedia) introduced in 1956. A brand new technology that didn't reach 32gb until the 1990s, 40 years later. SD cards are also a new technology yet have increased to 32gb four times faster, if your original figure is correct.

    If you look at the speed that hard disks evolved too... 10 years ago I had a 2gb seagate hard disk in my computer. Now you can buy disks that are 1TB. Is it unreasonable to think that SD cards might go at least that same speed? That would give us say, 6 years to see them at an affordable (although expensive) price at the same rate...

    The technology behind them though is vastly different. SD cards have no moving components, and far complex circuitry and tricks required to make them work. Improvements in hard disk capacities came from all kinds of different breakthrough because there were so many aspects that could be improved... but SD cards only have one or two ways in which to fit more data in them. I suspect that the expanding sizes will start to taper off much later than their hard disk counterparts. Plus, what we are forgetting is, we could easily have a new format called Big SD which is a card twice as thick and twice the size, like a credit card, which would give you 8 times the capacity at least on the spot... and that's before we consider that microSD is not that far behind SD in terms of capacity...

    100GB by the end of this year? Easily. We'd have 64GB already if it weren't for the way they are handling the HCSD card spec. I reckon half a TB by the end of the year at the very least.

    Optical devices are horrible, the world just needs to realise that you shouldn't have to buy a huge ass player, or several hundred quid for a blu-ray device to read media, when a five quid thing I bought off ebay will read SD cards of greater capacity, SD cards that are smaller, damage resistant, easy to store/label, and are compatible with virtually any device - you can't stick a blu-ray player in every gadget you want to read high capacity media, but an SD slot and what powers it is tiny.

  16. Mark

    SD for RAID and movies

    Does SD, and flash media in general, have any issues with read/write/re-write cycles as compared to hard drives for example or has this been ironed out?

    I think HD movies on blu-ray could potentially be sunk by this if, say, 50GB flash cards came down to commodity pricing. Go to blockbuster and get a movie slapped on the old SD card - not sure about protection and rental period enforcement but the devil's always in the detail.

    Sales of movies would be simple enough as you could no doubt put a movie on one of these that had the same protection as a blu-ray disk. Maybe new players would have a card slot that could/should read these?

  17. E

    I predict soon...

    a PC form factor based on AMD CPU+GPU on a chip, 8 GB RAM on the same chip and a 10TB SD-whatever RAID 5 array, an as yet unannounced mini-jack-to-128-USB-port-expander-cable and a HUGE power connector for a power brick cable. The 'pro' model will have 128 SD-whatever slots for storage expansion on the underside of the case.

    It will look like this: a two foot tall by one foot square passive heat sink with a one cubic inch slab of vitreous enamel stuck to the bottom encasing the silicon.

    Case vendors will be reduced to competing in terms of the shininess of the surface finish of their heat sink or the air resistance of the add-on product legs to lift the beast off your shag carpet. PSU makers will try to compete on the aesthetics of their PSU bricks. Both sectors will soon become bit players when punters realise that "it's just a power brick, mate!" and "it's just a heat sink, you wanker!".

    Shortly after that the LCD vendors will offer 42" LCD screens with heavily knurled fascias to dissipate the heat from the one cubic inch of vitreous enamel hidden behind the screen. Soon followed by n*7" screens where n is an element of the natural numbers greater than six.

    Soon after that Intel will offer a completely pre-engineered solution with 1/5 the CPU power and 945 graphics but marginally lower cost of production of finished product. All the names will switch to the Intel solution. AMD and it's ecosystem will vanish into the depths taking a massive swath of value owned by true believers with it. As a result average resale value of houses will drop by 10 per cent. A flame war will ensue on USENET about the good old days.

    Every market player but Intel will be left to compete based on the quality of their industrial design and universities in Europe, the Americas, Japan, Taiwan and China will eliminate their science and engineering faculties in favour of faculties devoted to teaching how to design pretty things.

    Apple, seeing the gates of hell open beneath it's feet, will sue everyone and everything in sight for patent infringement for offering an all in one vertically oriented form factor PC. A religious war will ensue on USENET.

    Seing this, and the intrinsic likelyhood of revolt, the US Congress and EU whatever and Chinese politburo will all fund research into sounds that can kill from a distance.

    The Internet will melt down under the pressure of the wars and blog posts about black sound projects. Microsoft will emerge supreme because online software provision has become impossible. Google will, with the failure of the Internet, fade into obscurity and it's share price will fall so low that the exchanges de-list it. Debt value removed by the failure of Google will push the current market crisis over into total destruction of the capitalist system. Microsoft hegemony will encourage and ultimately complete the transition to purely corporatist economics and politics. The last vestiges of the democratic dream will fade into the background noise of the gnashing teeth of overclockers and the howls of disenfranchised Starbucks customers. Without open markets finally Microsoft will collapse, unable to sell even DOS 6, as consumer cynicism sinks to 1980's era USSR levels.

    At this extremity the rump capitalist and technological polities, having no consumer disposable product markets to sell into will be forced back to the old standby mechanism of weapons production. Global tensions will rise until WW III breaks out. Billions will die. With only a few hundred million people left our outer space overlords, knowing all along that humanity was way past sustainable population overshoot for the past 50 - 60 years, will step in and make all the weapons evaporate.

    Karl Marx will then emerge from his crypt and establish a knowledge worker's paradise on earth. And at that point in humanity's history, for the first time, all first person shooter games will work equally well on all the available GPUs.

    There will remain, however, in a sort of echo of the past glories and desperations, a heavily suppressed and deeply underground activity designing new samizdat cores based on a fusion of old nVidia and ATI ideas. Under the pressure of intense state and social censure great and terrible risks will be made: as a result and at the cost of many chip designers' lives GPUs will finally surpass x86 CPUs in general programmability, CUDA and CTM will be subsumed into OpenCL, which will lose the need for contexts.

    A renaissance will slowly arise from the many years of blood and agony and muck of of disappeared graphics chip designers. It will be driven by a new computational model: a reformation based on GPGPU computation will take hold. Computers will become truly visual, and we will be able to frag with *both* realistic physics for the virtual shell casings *and* photorealistic gore splatters.

    I give you the theory of dialectical fragaliciousism.

  18. Andrew Katz

    @E: re. Reiser FS "killer"

    I can't believe I'm so sad I actually got this joke. But it was funny

  19. Steven Pemberton

    2TB of memory should be enough for anybody (ha ha)

    Frankly, I can't help thinking that they'll kick themselves very soon for restricting it to only 2TB. Current consumer hard disks max out at 2TB, but that's only 6 iterations (doublings) away from the current max of 32GB for SDHC. 2TB sounds a lot now, but it won't soon. The first generation of SD cards (introduced in 2000) maxed out at 1GB. They tweaked that later to 4GB, and then had to define SDHC to get up to 32G, and now SDXC to get to 2TB. Three redefinitions in less than a decade doesn't sound very visionary to me.

  20. TeeCee Gold badge


    "....real killer one like Reiserfs"


    (Not dissing the FS, it's the "real killer" reference that just made coffee come out of my nose here.......)

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