Samsung launches 200MB/sec “Pro Ultimate” microSD & SD cards

Aug 30, 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.

Samsung launches 200MB/sec “Pro Ultimate” microSD & SD cards

Aug 30, 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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Samsung’s no newcomer to the memory card market. They’ve been producing memory cards for years. Typically, however, they’ve never really been the go-to cards for photographers. Samsung’s cards were historically just too slow.

Now, though, Samsung’s launched its new Pro Ultimate series UHS-I SD and microSD cards (buy here). The company says they are designed for “professional content creators” with write speeds of up to 130MB/sec and read speeds of up to 200MB/sec.

Samsung Pro Ultimate SD and microSD cards

The new Samsung Pro Ultimate cards offer a maximum sequential read speed of up to 200MB/sec and a maximum write speed of up to 130MB/sec. These speeds declare clearly and loudly that Samsung wants to live inside your drones and cameras.

The new cards are available in both SD and microSD card varieties. The microSD cards are available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. The full-sized SD cards are available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacties.

All cards feature the V30 specification, which guarantees minimum write speeds of 30MB/sec. In addition, the microSD cards also feature the A2 class rating, making them also ideal for smartphones (if you’ve got one with a high end camera that still has a microSD card slot) and devices like the Raspberry Pi – and we all know how many DIY cameras there are out there based on those.

Samsung Pro Ultimate 200MB/sec – Beyond UHS-I standards

Those 200MB/sec read and 130MB/sec write speeds sound pretty good for UHS-I, keeping up with SanDisk’s speeds on their Extreme Pro series cards. The official UHS-I speed limit is 104MB/sec. SanDisk gets around this by using a proprietary protocol that only their readers (and only a couple of them) – or that one ProGrade reader – understand.

This allows them to get very fast read and write speeds well beyond the UHS-I spec. Presumably, Samsung has done something similar here with these cards. This means that you’ll likely also need the Samsung reader that goes along with these cards in order to achieve those speeds.

So why use them?

Inside a camera, even if you’re able to max out the protocol, you’re never going to get more than about 100mb/sec and because the highest UHS-I speed rating is V30, you’re only ever going to get a guaranteed minimum of 30MB/sec.

Now, most cameras using UHS-I slots don’t need more than 30MB/sec anyway. Faster will definitely help clear the buffer faster, but generally, it’s not going to make much difference. Where they do make the difference, however, is when you’re copying them over to the computer.

Transferring at 200MB/sec rather than 100MB/sec, especially with large 512GB cards, can save you a lot of time on your ingestion workflow. Again, though, you’d need a reader capable of reading the proprietary protocol.

Speaking of the reader. Fortunately, it’s fairly inexpensive (only adding about $8 to the cost of the card for microSD). However, it’s extremely small (so it’s easy to lose), and it has a Type A plug on it, not Type C. So you won’t be able to use it directly with your smartphones and tablets to transfer images off cards without some form of adapter or hub.

This is a little disappointing. Hopefully, Samsung will have other reader options available in the future for these cards that are a little more useful for desktop-friendly and also feature a Type-C plug for tablets and smartphones.

Price and Availability

The Samsung Pro Ultimate microSD cards are available to buy now in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities for $20.99, $34.99 and $64.99, respectively. Each of the three capacities is also available to buy, with the card reader making the 128GB at $28.99, the 256GB at $42.99 and the 512GB at $72.99.

You’re going to have to wait a little while for the Samsung Pro Ultimate full-sized SD cards, though. Those are planning to launch in October.

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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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One response to “Samsung launches 200MB/sec “Pro Ultimate” microSD & SD cards”

  1. Alex Buschiazzo Avatar
    Alex Buschiazzo

    that’s too fast, who needs it 😂