SanDisk, Nikon and Sony develop 2TB CompactFlash card spec

The new card would sport 500MB/sec. throughput speeds

SanDisk, Nikon and Sony announced that they're jointly developing a new CompactFlash card specification for the professional photography and video markets that would increase throughput from 167MB/sec. to 500MB/sec.

The new specification would also offer a theoretical maximum capacity of 2TB, which would be conducive to recording high-definition video.

Current CompactFlash memory cards typically have 4GB to 16GB of capacity, but the CompactFlash 6.0 specification, which was released earlier this month, allows for a maximum capacity of 128GB. The new specification proposed by SanDisk, Nikon and Sony would be a step beyond CompactFlash 6.0.

"The ultra-high-speed media, which will be realized by this new card format, will expand the capability of digital SLR cameras and other professional digital imaging equipment," Kazuyuki Kazami, general manager of Nikon's development and imaging company, said in a statement.

The three companies proposed the specification to the CompactFlash Association, an international standards group, explaining that professional photographers and high-definition video applications require higher-performance storage devices in order to process larger file sizes.

The newly announced card specification would use the PCI Express (PCIe) interface, whereas the CompactFlash 6.0 specification uses a parallel ATA (PATA) interface with a maximum data throughput speed of 167MB/sec.

The new specification's faster speeds should enable continuous burst shooting of raw images. The companies also said the increase in flashcard throughput will allow users to quickly transfer storage-intensive, high-resolution photos and videos from the card to a computer.

The specification would combine high-speed data transfer with low power consumption via a power scaling system to extend battery life.

The new card would be close in size to today's CompactFlash card products, but it is expected to have a more rugged form factor.

"This ultra-high-speed media format will enable further evolution of hardware and imaging applications, and widen the memory card options available to CompactFlash users such as professional photographers," Shigeto Kanda, chairman of the CompactFlash Association, said in a statement. "This next-generation format is expected to be widely adapted to various products, including those other than high-end [digital SLR cameras]."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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