So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Tiny and fast: Lexar’s 200GB 633x microSDXC UHS-I card review
It's pricey, but good value and stomps on everything else in the market
- Very fast
- Huge capacity
- Reasonable value
- Doesn't work in all devices
The main thing you want from an external memory card is high capacity and enough speed that there’s no bottleneck. This ticks both boxes.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
It’s hard to imagine people being unimpressed by a card the size of a Corn Flake storing 200GB of data. But it’s even more impressive when it comes offering transfer speeds of 95MB/s.
The SDXC card looks like a regular microSD card but only some devices will be compatible with it so be sure to check first. The UHS-I stands for Ultra High Speed Class 1 and refers to a bus speed that can cope with up to 104MB/s.
Lexar points out that it can hold 17 hours of Full HD video, 33,000 hi-res photos and 28,000 songs. That should please anyone who works with relevant media applications. In reality, media sizes will differ according to user but it’s hard to imagine 200GB leaving anyone feeling cramped.
[Related: Kingston 256GB MicroSD XC card review]
Lexar bundles a small, USB 3 microSD card reader and we used this to run our tests:
First we ran the CrystalDiskMark benchmark and compared performance to a standard 240GB SSD (AMD R7) and a 16GB SanDisk Extreme USB 3 key.
|Test||240GB AMD SSD||SanDisk USB 3 key||Lexar 200GB microSDXC|
|Sequential Read (Q32,T1) MB/s||526.035||187.184||85.285|
|Sequential Write (Q32,T1) MB/s||506.891||61.108||39.849|
|Random Read 4KiB (Q32,T1) [IOPS]||205.899 MB/s [50268.3]||10.849 MB/s [2648.7]||6.114 MB/s [1492.7]|
|Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) [IOPS]||109.896 MB/s [26830.1]||10.69 MB/s [2611.6]||0.675/s [164.8]|
|Sequential Read (T=1) MB/s||443.103||186.879||82.838|
|Sequential Write (T=1) MB/s||461.593||60.613||11.115|
|Random Read 4KiB (Q1,T1) [IOPS]||25.262 MB/s [6167.5]||9.578 MB/s [2338.4]||5.563 MB/s [1358.2]|
|Random Write 4KiB (Q1,T1) [IOPS]||74.847 MB/s [18273.2]||10.209 MB/s [2492.4]||0.574 MB/s [140.1]|
To the untrained eye, the scores might look disappointing in comparison, but measuring a sequential read performance of over 80MB/s on such a tiny item is seriously impressive. Writing at 40MB/s will comfortably handle 4K video recording and at the end of the day that’s the toughest task this will usually be asked to perform.
In our real world tests we transferred a 1.94GB video file to the card in 78 seconds (25MB/s). We read it back in 49 seconds (40MB/s). We also transferred a 1.62GB folder full of mixed-size AMD video card driver files (1000 of them) and recorded a time of 123 seconds (13.2MB/s). We read them back in 47 seconds (34.5MB/s).
These speeds are pretty much double what you’d get from a top-end USB 2 thumb drive. They lag behind a decent USB 3 drive by at least a factor of two for most cases but ultimately the useage scenario is very different.
The main thing you want from an external memory card is high capacity and enough speed that there’s no bottleneck. This ticks both boxes. Of course, you pay a hefty premium for it - $169 from Kogan – and it won’t work in some devices, but it’s good value in that there’s little else that can do what this does in this form factor.
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