SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525MB/s) CFast 2.0 memory card review

SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525MB/s) CFast 2.0 memory card REVIEW
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What is worth in buying this? With a video performance guarantee of 130MB/s (VPG 130) and 128GB of storage capacity, this is a great memory card for professional cameras and camcorders. The card has the speed, capacity and performance needed to record cinema-quality 4K video (4096x2160p). It delivers write speeds of up to 450MB/s and data transfer speeds, up to 525MB/s. The SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card delivers the high performance that broadcast, cinema, and photography professionals demand today. Get details in SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card review.

In the box

  • SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 Memory Card – 128GB

Specs – SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card

  • 128GB/256GB/512GB Storage Capacity
  • SATA III 6 Gb/s Bus
  • Max Sequential Read Speed: 530 MB/s
  • Max Sequential Write Speed: 330 MB/s
  • CFast Type I form factor
  • Compliant with the Serial ATA Revision 3.1 Standard with a 6.0 Gb/s transfer rate
  • Supports the SP Toolbox SMART Health Monitoring System software and other techniques for guaranteed reliability

Price

These newest CFast 2.0 cards from SanDisk hit streets a short time ago and come in three different sizes: 64GB ($199.95 or $3.12/GB), 128GB ($349.95 or $2.73/GB), and 256GB ($679.99, or $2.66/GB). 

Compatibility

Despite some of the newer cameras now utilizing faster cards like CFexpress, there is still quite a lot of cameras out there that are still using CFast 2.0.

It will work with the following cameras:

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K*
  • Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2**
  • Canon C300 Mark II
  • Canon C200
  • Canon 1DX Mark II
  • RED KOMODO
  • Z Cam E2 series

Who is this for – SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card?

the SanDisk Extreme PRO to give professional videographers and photographers the ability to squeeze out the best performance from their camera equipment. The SanDisk Extreme PRO is designed to have write speeds up to 450 MB/s and read speeds up to 525 MB/s. These speeds allow a user to capture multiple frames per second in a burst photography mode and it also lets your capture uninterrupted cinema-quality 4K video guaranteeing sustained write speeds of 130 MB/s allowing it to be the perfect complement to todays latest video cameras.

Compare SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card

Read SpeedWrite SpeedPrice
Silicon Power 512GB Cinema PRO CFX 310530MB/s330MB/s$279.99 USD
RED DIGITAL CINEMA 512GB RED PRONA280MB/s$529.00 USD
SanDisk 512GB Extreme PRO525MB/s450MB/s$599.99 USD
Angelbird 512GB AV Pro CF550MB/s430MB/s$529.90 USD
ProGrade Digital 512GB550MB/s450MB/s$499.99 USD
Lexar 512GB Professional 3500x525MB/s425MB/s$642.99 USD
Delkin Devices 512GB Cinema560MB/s495MB/s$499.00 USD
Wise Advanced 512GB525MB/s350MB/s$599.00 USD

As you can see the prices and read/write speeds of CFast 2.0 cards are quite varied. The Silicon Power 512GB Cinema PRO CFX 310 card is the most affordable option by a considerable margin, however, its max. write speed is lower than most of the other cards. This is not going to be a concern when used with a lot of cameras.

Extreme Speeds

That card is rated at up to 525 MB/s read and 445 MB/s write and they were only able to get 425 MB/s read and 369 MB/s write on their own CFast 2.0 card reader. So, if you happen to buy one of these cards and don’t see that you are getting close to the rated speeds in a memory card reader don’t be too shocked!

4K content recording

The Canon XC15 generates huge files when shooting in 4K. A 20 second clip at the highest settings is around 750MB! This means our 64 GB SanDisk Extreme card can shoot for under 30 minutes before it runs out of space. Of course moving up to a larger card (128GB at $349 or 256 GB at $679) is costly to say the least.

With Video Performance Guarantee-130 (VPG-130)4, the SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast Card lets you capture uninterrupted cinema-quality 4K video1. VPG-130 guarantees a minimum sustained write speed of 130MB/s4 to keep up with the latest professional video cameras.

Photo transfer

The photos start getting transferred at around 175 MBps, but, even in the second repetition, we see that the transfer rates are slower. Thankfully, after the initial burst, the rates do hold up. The behavior is similar to the Lexar card, but, the absolute numbers are lower.

Bandwidth rate

We also look at the PCMark 8 storage bench numbers in the graphs below. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don’t involve idle time compression. Results might appear low, but that is part of the workload characteristic. Therefore, comparing the numbers for each trace should be possible across different cards. SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card reported Read rate of 27.57 MBps, while Lexar 3600X reported 67.17 MBps. It performs 28.13 MBps Write Rate and Lexar 3600X shows 335.61 MBps.

SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro (525mb/s) CFast 2.0 memory card performance review

The SanDisk Extreme CFast 2.0 paired up with our newest video camera, the Canon XC15 UHD Compact Lightweight Professional Camcorder ($2,399 shipped). The XC15 was introduced recently and is the little brother of the Canon EOS C300 Mark II camera used for film and news production. The Canon XC15 really is a monster of a camera that features a 1 12MP CMOS sensor capable of capturing Ultra HD 4K resolutions at up to 29.97 fps and 1080p at up to 59.94 fps. (Lets see your iPhone or Android do that!)

The XC15 supports both CFast and SD cards but records 4K at up to 305 Mbps via the CFast slot only. The SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Memory Card was hitting write speeds of just over 300MB/s in our ATTO benchmark, so it looks like this camera will be able to use all the write speed this card has to offer.

CrystalDiskMark

Here, we measure Read speeds of 362MB/s and Write speeds of 286 MB/s. Again, these are under the well under the advertised speeds of the CFast 2.0 card.

Should you buy it?


The SanDisk Extreme PRO CF card does not perform as well as the Lexar equivalent, and it costs significantly more. The Lexard card is the more sensible choice here, while users looking for higher capacity cards might find the FreeTail offerings more attractive.

CardModel NumberCapacity (GB)Street Price (USD)Price per GB (USD/GB)
Lexar 3600x 128GBLC128CRBNA36001283853.01
SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 64GBSDCFSP-064G-A46D642143.34

CFast cards tend to be priced quite high despite just being SATA SSDs in a different form factor. The firmware is obviously more optimized for real-time multimedia recording use-cases. Our pool of evaluated CFast cards is small.

Even though they are at different capacity points, and it is not exactly fair to make a comparison, we have to note that the Lexar CFast card offers much better performance and consistency compared to the SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB version. The cost per GB metric is also in favor of the Lexar card.

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