At CES 2017, we had the chance to catch up with Western Digital to check out the updates from their end in the direct-attached storage space. After the acquisition of SanDisk, a consolidation of sorts led us to interacting with G-Technology (from the HGST side) also at the same suite. While G-Technology indicated that they have some announcements lined up for the NAB show in April, SanDisk did launch a couple of interesting products.

The minor product launch was the 256GB version of their Extreme PRO USB flash drive. The high-capacity 'SSD on a flash drive' boasts read and write speeds of 420 MBps and 380 MBps respectively. These are obviously peak numbers. SanDisk wouldn't confirm whether they are MLC or TLC drives, but, they did indicate that the drive does NOT have TRIM support.

The key here is the form factor, with the 256GB version being one of the smallest drives we have seen in that size-class. The drive will be available on Amazon early next month for $130. The CES press release mentioned a MSRP of $180, but, even considering the current flash shortage in the market, it would have been a bit too high for what is likely to be a TLC flash drive with a SLC cache in front.

The more interesting product was the 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card. It is compliant with the recently-introduced A1 application-class which mandates minimum read and write IOPS. Beyond the usual numbers (reads of up to 95 MBps), the demonstration of the benefits offered by the A1-class card was more impressive. In particular, storage-bound scenarios like game loading times showed a marked improvement.

The card is currently available for $200 on Amazon, a steep price in terms of $/GB, but, something to be expected for this form factor.

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  • djsvetljo - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Great, another "Write speeds lower" product - no thanks (for the microSD card). USA style TV commercial marketing.
  • Reflex - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Writes are inherently lower in flash products. There is no easy workaround for that. Even on devices that rate read/write the same, in practice writes will typically be significantly slower than reads, even if in a few specific scenarios they can reach read speeds.
  • djsvetljo - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - link

    1) Not always, there are products that are within 10-20% of read
    2) The problem here is not that writes are lower but the lack of any specification provided to the "dummy consumers" that we have became.
  • tipoo - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Damn products always abiding by physics. Marketing, all of physics, I tell ya!
  • djsvetljo - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - link

    The marketing fail (for us, I am sure it is good for them) is the denial to put proper specs on the package!
  • HomeworldFound - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Almost $200 for a Micro SDXC memory card, I get the convenience and speed but I'd rather pay 75% less for a Sandisk 128GB Ultra card.
  • tipoo - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    I'm curious about one of these as leave-in expanded storage for laptops, but how is garbage collection/TRIM on SD cards like?
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    No Trim or Garbage collection on SD cards!

    Not for O.S. or VM's
    (Technically, you could but very painful)

    Apps only!
  • sfwineguy - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    What about data? If I have some small laptop with, say, a size limited eMMC hard drive I don't want to fill up, can I use the SD slot to save files (e.g., Excel spreadsheets or Word docs) to, and then delete them as they become obsolete? Or are you saying they won't really clear off the drive? Thanks.
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    "What about data?"
    Data is fine...
    Think of the SD card as a different form of thumb drive
    It is additional storage / not a primary O.S. drive

    Google: "Trim and garbage collection" if you are confused

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