CFexpress Type A cards get a new capacity king, but is it big enough?

Mmmm, CFexpress Type A. The answer to all our memory card prayers, or a potentially short-lived format destined to join the likes of xD, SmartMedia and Memory Stick? Whatever the future holds, Exascend is injecting at least some additional versatility into the niche form factor with the launch of the highest capacity Type-A card yet: the Exascend Essential CFexpress Type A 240GB card.

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(Image credit: Exascend)

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So far, Type A capacities have reached 160GB, with the lower-cost 80GB variants being the only other capacity on offer. Strangely, the other two capacity sizes in the new Exascend line don’t fit into that 80GB multiple, and are instead 120GB and 180GB versions, indicating that Exascend is likely using 60GB NAND flash modules rather than 40 GB modules potentially used in competing cards. Assuming these higher capacity modules become available to other card manufacturers, this could soon herald a new wave of higher capacity Type A cards. And about time too. Given that SD cards and even tiny microSD cards have been available in 1TB versions for several years now, even this new 240GB CFexpress Type A offering is hard to get excited about.

The current speed king: the Lexar GOLD Series CFexpress Type A card (Image credit: Lexar)

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But while Exascend may currently hold the bragging rights to Type-A capacity, the new cards’ 800MB/s read and 700MB/s write rates only match the specs of the very first. Sony TOUGH series of Type-A cards. Since then, Lexar and Delkin Devices have extracted additional performance from the format, proving that speeds of up to 900MB/s are possible. Exascend cards are rated for a sustained write speed of 550MB/s, however – that’s fast enough to facilitate 8K video recording at up to 60fps.

The Sony a7S III – one of the few cameras to support CFexpress Type A (Photo credit: Sony)

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So if you’re using a Sony a1, a7 IV, a7S III, FX3, or FX6, the 120GB, 180GB, and 240GB will cost you $190, $300, and $400 respectively. That’s good value, considering a 160GB Sony Type-A card currently costs around $360. Every Exascend Essential CFexpress Type A card is backed by a five-year warranty, with availability expected in August.

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