Lexar Media, one of the premium-brand flash memory card makers, will introduce its first SDXC cards later this quarter with two high-end models geared for professionals, a 64GB card for $500 and a 128GB card for $700.
The 128GB model illustrates the narrowing gap between the SD lineage and a rival format popular among professionals, CompactFlash, which tops out at 64GB for mainstream brands. But while SDXC might be a step ahead in capacity--at least when it comes to announced products--CompactFlash leads in a different domain, data transfer speed.
Each of Lexar's new SDXC cards, with a 133X speed rating, can read and write data at 20MB/sec. Top-end CompactFlash cards reach 600X, by comparison.
CompactFlash allies are overhauling the card format with faster speeds and higher capacities, but the SD camp isn't standing still, either. A new set of electrical contacts for faster data transfer is expected to help nearly triple top SD card speed to 300MB/sec with products due to arrive in 2012.
SD, including its smaller Mini and Micro sizes, has the consumer market on its side--as evidenced by Lexar's timing just before the beginning of the CES show devoted to consumer electronics. SD cards are widely used in electronics products ranging from Apple laptops to Panasonic 3D video cameras. The SDXC incarnation has a maximum capacity of 2 terabytes.
The upcoming CompactFlash version, under development by Nikon, Sony, and SanDisk, is designed to reach 500MB/sec transfer speeds and 6TB capacity.