Samsung's UFS Technology Blows Away microSD Speeds

When Samsung released the Galaxy G6 without a microSD slot, many saw it as a design flaw. But the Universal Flash Storage technology that the devices relied on instead of microSD is actually proving itself vastly superior.

UFS was integrated into the S6, as the data transfer from an external card would have been much slower. With the Galaxy S7, Samsung combined UFS 2.0 and microSD technologies. The Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S8 will likely be the first devices to accommodate faster UFS memory cards from 32GB to 256GB.

Getting technical

UFS cards were initially designed for DSLR or 3D VR cameras, drones, and other applications that require speed in reading and writing to large files. They rival current SATA SSD read speeds, clocking in at 530MB/s, with a 40,000 random IOPS writing rate. That's about 20 times faster than standard microSD cards.

“Our new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal user experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution,” said Jung-bae Lee, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering, Samsung Electronics “By launching our new high-capacity, high-performance UFS card line-up, we are changing the growth paradigm of the memory card market to prioritize performance and user convenience above all.”

One card to rule them all

Samsung's UFS could spell the end of SanDisk's microSD but that hasn't stopped development on the technology. Western Digital released its own 256GB microSDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) line in June after acquiring SanDisk.

According to Extreme Tech, the Extreme and Ultra Premium microSDXC card operate at similar speeds. The Extreme offers a100MB/s read rate and 90MB/s write rate, while the Ultra Premium clocks a 95MB/s read and 95MB/s write rate. The Extreme card also boasts a 30MB/s minimum sustained sequential write speed, above the Premium model's 10MB/s. Samsung own version, the EVO Plus 256 GB microSDXC was released in May and was rated at 95MB/s.

What this means for you

Even if you got your hands on a UFS card today, you wouldn't be able to do much with it. There are no devices with UFS card slots on the market yet. Keep in mind, 90 percent of the elements in all Samsung-branded products are made in Samsung factories, so the company isn't wanting for lack of innovation. Expect to see UFS cards in use within the next year.

The faster speeds of UFS certainly put it at an advantage over the microSD standard, even with some microSD chips being stretched to 512GB, but only time will tell which technology will prevail.

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