We continually demand more of our mobile devices, action cameras and drones, the need for faster spacious storage grows with it. Samsung is the first to offer a taste of the next-gen memory cards. Its new Universal Flash Storage cards are the same size as microSDs, but can match the ultra-fast data transfer speeds of solid state drives.
The new cards are based on the new JEDEC Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 1.0 Card Extension Standard, which is aimed at upping data transfer speeds, as well as ending the need for different card type adaptors. Samsung is claiming a sequential read speed of 530 megabytes per second (MB/s), which is up to 5 times faster than a typical microSD card, and in a similar league to SATA SSDs.
The result? Samsung says its latest storage options mean it would take about 10 seconds to read a 5 GB high definition movie, as opposed to 50 seconds for a UHS-1 microSD card with a 95 MB/s sequential read speed.
As well as improving the sequential read rate, the new standard offers dramatic improvements in random read rate. The 256 GB UFS card works at a rate of 40,000 IOPS, an improvement of more than 20 times compared to a typical microSD card's random read rate of 1,800 IOPS.
More importantly the write speed is also up substantially, with Samsung promising 35,000 random IOPS from its 256 GB card. That's 350 times faster than a typical microSD card, while its 170 MB/s sequential write speed is almost double what you'd get from something like a SanDisk Extreme Pro.
When it comes time to transfer your files to a computer, the new cards offer better download time, less thumbnail loading time and less buffering from burst shooting. For fast and efficient data transfer, the card supports multiple commands and command queueing, while separately dedicated paths allow concurrent reading and writing.
Price and a launch date haven't been announced, though cards will be available in 32, 64, 128 and 256 GB variants. However, as the pin configuration on the back of the cards is different to microSD, the move to UFS may not be a perfectly smooth one.