SD cards are hitting unprecedented capacities…

Half a terabyte of storage on an SD card – you’ve got to be kidding! Well SanDisk are now producing SD cards with 512Gb of data storage capacity. The new SD card is aimed at the 4K photographic market, but with capacities like this we suspect many more users will be interested. With speeds up to 95Mb per second and resistance to extreme cold, water, shock and x-ray, this new SD card spells the future for mobile data storage.

The introduction of SanDisk’s 512Gb memory card came a decade after the release of the 512Mb card, which had one-thousandth of the storage capacity! New 4K video formats are four times the resolution of HD and therefore require large quantities of storage. SD cards are one of the most ubiquitous memory formats, so we anticipate this being attractive to a wide variety of mobile users.

Whilst many more users are relying on ‘cloud’ storage, the general trend is for back-up and compatibility across multiple device. Users still prefer ‘local’ storage and are more confident when they know where their data is.

SD cards still rely on NAND flash memory using floating-gate processes that all manufacturers support. Decreasing the horizontal line width and smaller NAND chips have created higher density storage. However the industry is reaching the limits of smaller lithography. Vertical3D stacks cells so there is more than one cell in the same horizontal plane. Thinner cells and advanced error correction make data recovery from vertical NAND technology (V-NAND) much more difficult. These increased capacities are opening up markets outside of traditional SD card users. Bar-code readers and scanners are making use of these unprecedented capacities.

Flash memory of the future will capitalise on V-NAND and as capacities increase, SD cards will start to replace traditional hard drives. Without the mechanical limitations, SD technology is becoming more attractive as the price per gigabyte reduces. Expect to see wider use of SD cards outside cameras and mobile phones in the near future!