SD card speed comparison performance

Started Oct 11, 2003 | Discussions thread
pimlottc New Member • Posts: 18
SD VFSMark Benchmarks

I was looking for speed comparisions before ordering my first SD card for my new Optio S4.

I did find some benchmarks that Palm users have done using a program called VFSMark. The results do depend somewhat on the model of Palm used but there are enough benchmarks out there that you can find out some useful information.

I collected a number of VFSMark benchmarks, mostly from these two posts:

The data is here (since I can't post a decent table in this forum):

There are a number of interesting results.

First, there are only manufacturers of SD cards: Panasonic, SanDisk and Toshiba. All others brands use the above manufacturers (sometimes more than one) and rebrand them.

The submissions provide a good deal of information about the rebranding:

Kingston: Toshiba
Lexar: Panasonic, SanDisk
Memorex: Toshiba
PNY: Panasonic, Toshiba
SimpleTech: Panasonic
Viking: SanDisk

Perhaps the difference between Lexar's normal SD cards and "hi-speed" cards is the manufacturer used? Also, according to some submitters, SimpleTech has confirmed that they only use Panasonic chips.

In terms of performance, it's pretty clear. There are big performance differences based on the device you use; more recent devices like the Zire 71 have much higher scores, while older Palm devices like the m series are pretty abysmal (BTW, the benchmark is based on the performance of a Palm branded 16MB SD card on a Palm m500, which gives a score of exactly 100). However, it's still easy to see a trend in terms of manufacturers.

Panasonic is the clear leader here. Except for the top result (which may be an aberation, or it may just be that the Tungsten T3 is an exceptional device), the top 20+ cards are all either confirmed Panasonic cards or are unknown but from makers who are known to use Panasonic (primarily Lexar).

There's more of an overlap in the next two manufacturers, but Toshiba is clearly generally ahead of SanDisk, which has the dubious honor of practically monopolizing the bottom of the list with some really embarressing scores.

Anyhow, take all this with a grain of salt, and this information is a few months old. However, it's clear that Panasonic is the way to go. Myself, I chose a SimpleTech card, as they are confirmed to use Panasonic chips. Lexar is a very popular choice, but you might have to return it if you don't luck out. I'm told that Panasonic chips are made in Japan, while SanDisk and Toshiba are from Taiwan. However, the packaging for most SD cards obscures the "made in xxx" label.

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