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SanDisk Hypes New Card’s Write Speed

New York — SanDisk unveiled new Compact Flash memory cards that transfer images to PCs at up to 40MBps, doubling the rate of its previous-generation cards and making its Extreme IV series CF cards the fastest memory cards in any flash-memory format, the company claimed.

The cards, the first in the company’s Extreme IV series, are targeted to professional photographers using high-end digital SLRs. They were scheduled to begin shipping July 1.

The cards also capture images at up to 40MBps, enabling professional photographers to take photos as quickly as they can with film cameras, but only if the cards are used in one of a handful of professional cameras that support those speeds. “We’ll see more of those cameras in the future,” said Wes Brewer, consumer marketing VP.

“The 40MBps is sustained, not peak, up to the full capacity of the card,” Brewer noted.

To go with the cards, San Disk launched an Extreme series FireWire card reader capable of supporting 40MBps transfers to a PC. It’s the first reader of any memory-card format to deliver that speed, Brewer said. A new Extreme USB 2.0 reader is capable of 20MBps speeds, about 50 percent faster than other USB readers on the market, a spokesman added.

SanDisk sells its Extreme series of CF, SD and Memory Stick Pro Duo cards through U.S. distributors that target mom-and-pop photo specialty stores, but with the introduction of Extreme IV CompactFlash cards, the company opened up sales of Extreme III series cards in all three formats to select Best Buy stores, a spokesman noted. Extreme III cards have been available since 2003.

As in the III series, the IV series CF cards come in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities for use by photographers snapping capacity-hogging RAW-format images and large JPG files. Suggested retails are $159, $319 and $639, respectively. The FireWire reader is a suggested $79; the USB reader is $24.

Two introductory bundles are priced at a suggested $239 for a 2GB card and FireWire reader and $399 for a 4GB card and FireWire reader. The FireWire reader and bundles ship July 21.

SD and Memory Stick Pro Duo cards in the Extreme III series transfer data at speeds up to 20MBps and 18MBps, respectively. Their distribution is unchanged.

Pricing of the Extreme III CF cards is unchanged for now, the spokesman said. A 4GB model retails for a suggested $279, and the 8GB version goes for $559.

The spokesman also noted that it took competitors about a year to catch up with Extreme III’s transfer speeds.