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1TB, right on schedule!

The 1TB SD card is here. Image credit: Lexar

At CES 2000 San Disk, Matsushita and Toshiba announced the creation of the SD Association to promote SD cards and later that year they hit the market with their first cards with a capacity of 32 and 64MB. Now, 19 years later SD cards, in the new SDXC format have reached 1 TB, that is almost 16,000 times the original capacity (the original format, SD, could only support up to 2GB, SDXC can support up to 2TB and the new SDUC format can support up to 128TB). If you do the math a doubling every 18 months, as the Moore’s law required would have resulted in a 4,000 increase. Hence, the evolution of SD card was faster than foreseen by Moore.

Lexar is the first to make a 1TB SD card you can actually buy, SanDisk announced one in September 2016(!) but it is not yet available, The Lexar one is priced at 499.99 (you may say 500$) which means 0.05$c per MB. Compare this with the 99.99$ you had to pay for that first 32MB SD card (an equivalent price of 3$ per MB, that is 6,000 times more).

Memory capacity needed for 1 h of filming in various formats. Image credit: Studio Post

The question is: what can you do with such a capacity? Clearly it is not intended to store photos, you could store some 20,000 photos taken with a professional camera at 50 Mpixels, over 100,000 photos taken with a consumer camera. The card is intended for video makers: in 1TB you can only fit 1 hour and 15′ of raw footage taken in 4K and just 8′ of 8k footage (see graphic).

As you can see there seems to be no limit to the amount of storage you may eventually need… and technology is eager to provide the extra capacity needed.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.

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