ProGrade Digital first to announce CFexpress 4.0 cards with 3.4GB/sec transfer speeds

Sep 5, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

ProGrade Digital first to announce CFexpress 4.0 cards with 3.4GB/sec transfer speeds

Sep 5, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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After the announcement of the new CFexpress 4.0 standard by the CompactFlash Association, we’re already seeing the first cards and devices being announced. It looks like ProGrade beat everybody to the punch.

The company has announced a new 3rd-generation CFexpress 4.0 Type B memory card with a massive 1.3TB capacity. They’ve also announced a new PG05.6 CFexpress 4.0 reader, which utilises USB4 to hit those new speed limits.

ProGrade 1.3TB CFexpress 4.0 Type B

The new CFexpress 4.0 specification doubles the speed limits established by the now commonplace CFexpress 2.0 spec. This means that Type B cards jump from a maximum hypothetical speed limit of 2GB/sec up to 4GB/sec.

While there aren’t really any cameras on the market today that can take advantage of these higher speeds, they’re going to massively cut down on the time it takes to offload your footage onto the computer – assuming you get a CFexpress 4.0 reader and have either USB4 or Thunderbolt 3 sockets to match it.

Fast and big!

As well as read speeds of up to a whopping 3,400MB/sec, it also provides burst write speeds of up to 3,000MB/sec and sustained write speeds of up to 2,800MB/sec. At the moment, these claimed speeds pretty much blow anything else on the market out of the water – at least until other companies start releasing their own CFexpress 4.0 cards.

With a capacity of 1.3TB, the new ProGrade Cobalt CFexpress 4.0 Type B card isn’t the largest memory card on the market. They’re not even the largest capacity cards that ProGrade makes. But it’s certainly the largest card that offers these sorts of speeds, allowing for quick unloading of the content.

While it doesn’t specifically say that it meets the VPG400 specification on the card itself, I expect it’ll easily handle that sort of transfer speed load. I’ve mentioned before that the VPG spec (CFexpress’s answer to the “V” spec on SD cards) is starting to lag a little behind the card speeds now, so it might be time for those to be updated.

Price and Availability

The ProGrade Digital 1.3TB Cobalt CFexpress 4.0 Type B memory card is available to pre-order now for $1,459.99. For a price comparison, that’s a hair more expensive than a pair of the company’s 2TB Gold CFexpress Type B cards. A twin pack of the 1.3TB cards is also available to pre-order now for $2,629.99.

ProGrade PG05.6 CFexpress 4.0 card reader

To take advantage of the full capabilities of the new CFexpress 4.0 cards, you’ll also need a new CFexpress 4.0 reader. The CFexpress 4.0 cards are backwards compatible with CFexpress 2.0 readers, although you will be limited to CFexpress 2.0 speeds.

So, ProGrade has announced the new PG05.6 CFexpress 4.0 Type B card reader. It can read and write at the maximum speeds afforded by the CFexpress 4.0 specification because it uses USB4. Again, it’s backwards compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2 sockets, but you’re limited to USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds (10Gbps or 1.25GB/sec).

Even USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 wouldn’t be fast enough for these, with its 20Gbps (2.5GB/sec) speeds but it’s also backwards compatible. The USB 4 specification maxes out at 40Gbps, or around 5GB/sec transfer speeds, well beyond those required by the CFexpress 4.0 specification. It should also be compatible with the upcoming USB4 v2.0 specification, which offers 80Gbps (10GB/sec), but it will provide no benefit over USB4.

Our new PG05.6 reader provides a tremendous leap forward in workflow performance by allowing content offload speeds to be reduced by 67% when compared to the performance of USB 3.2, Gen 2 technology of our current product line-up

Wes Brewer, ProGrade CEO and Founder

ProGrade says that the new specification generates a lot of heat and they’ve spent the last year perfecting their cooling to produce a reader that won’t overheat and won’t burn out your cards. The new PG05.6 reader is also compatible with your existing CFexpress 2.0 Type B cards.

Price and Availability

The ProGrade PG05.6 CFexpress 4.0 Type B card reader will be available to pre-order soon for $99.99. We’ll update this post once pre-order links become available.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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