Another new flash memory format debuts

Do we really need another new flash format? Actually, some people might.

Sony and Sandisk have teamed up to create a new memory card format, dubbed SxS -- that's "ess by ess," not "ess ex ess." But you probably won't have to worry about scrounging for a new media reader just yet; with capacities starting at 8 GB and fast transfer speeds, SxS cards are meant for high-end devices, like professional HD video cameras. Not coincidentally, Sony has incorporated SxS support in its XDCAM EX line of professional camcorders.

So how fast is fast? Well, remember the Grass Valley Infinity Digital Media Camcorder I mentioned last year? It uses CompactFlash cards, which currently top out at 40 megabytes per second. SxS is a native PCI Express card, and the PCI Express spec currently tops out at 2.5 gigabits per second; the companies hope to eventually hit 800 gigabits per second. Considering the demands of professional HD recording, especially for the film industry, that speed will no doubt be quite welcome.

Remember when I called the Grass Valley camcorder "advance notice of things to come?" Welcome to the future.

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