SD Cards Get High-Performance Indicators

Shopping for SD cards has gotten a little bit easier, assuming you keep up-to-date on the latest SDXC/SDHC product iconography. Henceforth, products with bus-interface speeds up to 104MBps will carry a UHS-I symbol, while products that allow real-time video recording will have UHS Speed Class 1 symbols. Here's how they look:

Illustration for article titled SD Cards Get High-Performance Indicators

Helpful, sure, but if people don't know what those symbols mean—and I'm guessing they won't, at least not for a while—it'll take just as much time to decode as it would to read the product description. Still, though! Progress.


Symbols make it easier for consumers to choose
the best SD memory card to maximize their devices' performance

SAN RAMON, Calif. – June 23, 2010 – The SD Association announced today two new high-speed performance symbols for the fastest SDXC and SDHC devices and memory cards. The first symbol identifies products with bus-interface speeds up to 104 Megabytes per second for greater device performance. The second symbol identifies SD memory cards and products with a performance option allowing real-time video recording.

The sheer variety of high-performing, feature-rich devices has dictated the need for a wide variety of SD memory card speeds and capacities to maximize device performance and meet consumer expectations. With more than 2.5 billion SD memory cards in the market today, the new high-speed performance capabilities will co-exist with earlier SD memory cards still used by consumers, as those cards are still interoperable with the newest host devices. New SD memory cards and devices bearing the following new performance symbols may now begin entering the marketplace:

The new Ultra High Speed (UHS) symbol can be found exclusively on SDXC and SDHC products. SDXC or SDHC products with the UHS-I symbol offer the fastest bus-interface speeds available today, capable of supporting data transfer speeds up to 104 Megabytes per second. UHS-I quadruples the existing maximum possible speed of 25 Megabytes per second. UHS bus interfaces are backwards compatible. SDXC UHS-I and SDHC UHS-I memory cards achieve greatest performance when paired with a UHS-I device and allow consumers to record HD resolution videos, plus perform other simultaneous recording functions.

The new UHS Speed Class symbol can be found exclusively on SDXC UHS-I and SDHC UHS-I products. UHS Speed Class 1 designates SD memory cards and products with a performance option designed to support real-time video recording. This symbol will be found on SDXC UHS-I or SDHC UHS-I memory cards. Consumers can realize the full potential of recording real-time broadcasts and capturing videos using a digital video camera by pairing their devices with UHS Speed Class 1 memory cards.

The existing Speed Class symbols for non-UHS SD, SDHC and SDXC products are Class 2, Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10. They refer to the minimum write speed performance of the memory card. The symbols may be found on memory cards and devices, including video and digital cameras.

For greatest performance, users should pair their devices with the corresponding SD memory card. The Association has created two videos to show best uses for the variety of SD memory cards available today; to view, visit The Association also offers an online resource,, for users to explore the variety of SD memory cards types for new and existing devices.

"The world-leading SD memory card standard has increased the value, usefulness and longevity of consumer electronic products by allowing consumers to easily upgrade their devices to meet their needs and budgets," said Paul Ritchie, executive director of the SD Association. "The new high-speed symbols are designed to make it easier for consumers to take advantage of the massive storage and incredible speeds offered in SDXC and SDHC products."

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



This sounds completely ridiculous, and much harder to understand than the old designations. Of course, it could just be a moronic press release; here's hoping.

1) Bus-interface speed tells you *nothing* about the actual speed of the card. Every crap USB 2.0 thumb drive has an "interface speed" of 480Mb/s, so what? All that tells you is that the interface is unlikely to be the bottleneck, which is hardly ever the case anyway, so this means bupkiss. If your card doesn't have an actual read or write speed that is pushing that limit, the bus interface speed won't make any difference at all.

2) The other rating description is equally ridiculous. "Real-time video recording" implies absolutely nothing in terms of speed. It totally depends on what bit-rate you are recording at. My camera records "real-time" video at 2MB/s, which the slowest SD card you can buy can keep up with. What resolution, what codec, and what bit-rate they are talking about is what matters. Adding a new speed class 1 means something if it is associated with a specific speed, but they don't even mention what that speed is.

The thing that really matters is the freaking sustained read/write speeds, which the current Class designations already describe adequately.

This sounds like a massive obfustication designed by some moron marketer with no technical knowledge, which will primarily be used by vendors of crap cards to trick people into thinking the card is faster than it is.