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SanDisk's flash flurry

Flash storage specialist SanDisk has announced a flurry of new consumer products, including the "world's fastest 64GB microSDXC card."

SanDisk's latest product announcements include microSD cards, SSDs and USB 3.0 thumb drives.

The new SanDisk Extreme microSDHC and microSDXC (pictured) are offered in capacities ranging from 16GB ($69) to 64GB ($249). A full-size SD adaptor is included (though only recommended for use with computers, as it does not allow the card to reach its full write speed in a camera), along with a downloadable copy of RescuePro Deluxe for recovering accidentally deleted images.

The microSDXC versions provides read speeds of up to 80MBps and write speeds up to 50MBps. This level of performance is required to keep up with the shooting speeds and image sizes used by the latest cameras, explained country manager George Saad.

Slower cards cannot keep up with devices that can take high megapixel shots at up to 30 times per second, which results in dropped frames. So SanDisk is working with device manufacturers and local retailers to guide customers towards memory cards with the specifications needed to capture every image, he said.

Using the wrong memory card in a high performance camera or other mobile device is like fitting the wrong tyres to a sports car and then wondering why it won't corner well, Mr Saad suggested.

Page 2: SanDisk's latest SSD and thumb drive families.

On the SSD side, SanDisk's new Extreme II family is aimed at the enthusiast and gamer market.

Speeds of up to 550MBps read and 510MBps write are "getting a huge response," said Mr Saad.

The Extreme II is available in three models: 120GB ($199), 240GB ($349) and 480GB ($599).

SanDisk supplies notebook manufacturers with SSDs on an OEM basis, and Mr Saad noted that "ultrabook users don't want high capacity [drives]" and 240GB drives are the most popular among buyers.

The company's major competitors in the Australian SSD market are Intel and Samsung, he said.

Mr Saad predicted that SSDs will be "a volume play" within the next three to five years, and that within three years they will account for 20% of the company's revenue.

SanDisk is not currently active in the enterprise SSD market in Australia, he told iTWire, even though it is a player in other parts of the world including Asia Pacific.

Have you ever noticed how quickly characters in spy movies and TV shows are able to transfer data from a computer to a thumb drive and compared that with the crawling progress bar when you copy files?

SanDisk's new Ultra USB 3.0 thumb drive might not be as fast as those fictional devices, but it does offer speeds of up to 80MBps, which the company says is up to four times faster than its Cruzer USB 2.0 drives.

Models in the new series range in capacity and price from 16GB and $29.95 to 64GB and $89.95.

With the growing number of devices fitted with USB 3.0 (a predicted three billion USB 3.0 ports will be around by 2016, said Mr Saad) more and more people will be prepared to pay a premium for thumb drives that take advantage of the interface's greater speed, especially when they need to transfer larger files such as HD video.

SanDisk, which invented the microSD card format, is celebrating its 25th year in business.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.