SD Association, a non-profit organisation responsible for setting SD card standards, has maximised a theoretical limit of SD cards to 128TB with 985 Mbps data transfer speed. Current SD card standard allows maximum storage capacity of 2TB, which was outlined in 2009. However, no SD maker has managed to offer 2TB storage at the moment. Back in 2016, SanDisk took the wraps off a prototype 1TB SD card, which happens to be the biggest ever till the date. So, it is highly unlikely that 128TB SD cards will hit the stores right away.
What could be stopping SD card makers from reaching a theoretical limit commercially?
One needs to understand that having SD cards with 2TB storage capacity is cost-effective. SanDisk is currently selling their 512GB SD cards on Amazon at a “discounted” price of Rs 29,585. So, SD card makers also have to consider the cost factor involved in this before making any move, which is perhaps the biggest hurdle that they need to overcome.
Secondly, there is a limited number of smartphones available in the market that currently surpasses maximum storage expandability beyond 256GB. Additionally, a flash storage available on many laptops starts at 128GB. Hence, limited use cases at the moment could be another reason stopping SD card makers from taking bold steps.
128TB SD cards: What lies ahead in the future?
As denoted by SD Association in their whitepaper, 128TB memory cards introduce a new type of category called SD Ultra Capacity (SDUC) also known as SD Express. This new standard will be applicable for all sorts of memory cards. SD cards will be supported by PCI Express and NVMe interfaces to offer high bandwidth and low latency storage. As a result, data transfer speed and storage capacity will be exceptionally higher.
Hiroyuki Sakamoto, president at SD Association, had this to say: “With SD Express we’re offering an entirely new level of memory card with faster protocols turning cards into a removable SSD.”