The Fastest Memory Cards


With memory card shopping, you’ll definitely want to focus your search on the fastest memory cards available. While we aren’t going to tell you that you absolutely must shell out big bucks to get the fastest memory card on the market, we do think it’s a good idea to keep in mind that speed in memory cards is an important consideration.

The importance of this consideration is going to depend on your specific needs. Nonetheless, it is definitely a good idea to learn more about the fastest memory cards currently available for your particular budget.

Which Memory Cards Are The Fastest

The first thing you are going to want to keep in mind is that when it comes to the subject of the fastest memory cards out there, you don’t automatically have to go with the fastest one out there. As you’re going to notice, the faster a card is, the more expensive it is likely going to be. As a matter of fact, speed is generally a bigger determining factor with cost than the size of the memory card itself. This is why it isn’t unreasonable to find two cards of the same size coming in at significantly different prices. Most likely, one is much faster than the other.

You are definitely going to be a little amazed at just how powerful memory cards are these days. Owing to the fact that we are transferring various forms of high-quality photography, video, and more, and keeping in mind as well that these memory cards are essential components to so many differing electronic devices, the speed of the best memory cards is truly impressive.

The tricky part for someone who doesn’t know a lot about memory cards is finding something that actually delivers on the speed you require. You will notice that when these cards are telling you about their speed, phrases like “up to” or “maximum” are going to appear. Keep in mind that this simply means what the card will be capable of during its most ambitious bursts of power and speed. Transferring a single picture might bring you up to the “maximum”, but it’s not worth expecting the “up to” listing to apply to sustained transfers.

Sustained speed is what you ultimately want to pay the most attention to, particularly if you are someone who deals in a lot of video. To that end, don’t put too much stock in advertised speeds.

How do you find the fastest memory cards? It’s not as difficult as you might think.

How To Buy The Fastest Memory Card

All-around speed is what you want to pay attention to with memory cards. Thankfully, there are some metrics in place that can help you to move in the right direction. These metrics can be a little strange at first, but you’ll get the hang of them pretty easily.

When it comes to metrics that determine that fastest memory cards out there, here are a few things that you are going to want to keep in mind:

  • What type of card is it? While the type of card you’re using isn’t going to play much of a factor in speed, it’s still worth learning about the types of memory cards available to you. You have the SD, the SDHC, and the SDXC. The main component that differs all of these options is their storage capabilities.
  • Does the card have UHS classifications? This is definitely something that is worth paying attention to. Ultra High Speed refers to the maximum speed that your card is capable of reading at. UHS-I cards are typically made to be much faster than non-UHS-I cards. A UHS-I card is capable of hitting a theoretical max of 104 MB/s. A UHS-II card can top out at around 312 MB/s. These classifications are good for knowing what you can expect from the card during burst speed periods.
  • What is the speed class rating? Pay close attention to the speed class rating. While figuring out sustained speeds for a card can be difficult, with no universal system that points you towards the fastest card every single time, a speed class rating can be useful. At the very least, you can take the speed class rating for a particular card as a clear indicator of the absolute minimum you can expect from the card.

Buying The Fastest Memory Card

With the fastest memory cards, a UHS-II/Class-U3 card is probably going to be the fastest thing out there. You can find them in a variety of storage sizes.

Here are some other options to keep in mind:

  • MicroSD cards: These miniaturized cards offer good storage and solid speed, but nothing is available in UHS-II form.
  • CompactFlash cards: Although somewhat obsolete, these cards are still pretty fast.
  • XQD cards: These offer a nice degree of optimal transfer speed.
  • CFast 2.0 cards: These cards pack a significant optimal speed punch.