Toshiba shows off UHS-II bus SD cards

Computex 2014: We forgot they existed too but here you go

Toshiba LogoOne Standard SemiAccurate didn’t remember existed until Toshiba showed it to us at Computex was SD card UHS-II. Unlike the older UHS-I standard, this new one has additional pins meaning a new physical format.

Toshiba UHS-II SD card back

Note the added pins…

We have no idea when UHS-II aka SD v4.00 actually came out because the SD Association seems hell-bent on hiding it’s existence. Go to their main page and try to find it, you really have to know it exists to hunt it down. Even then the monumental change that it is, probably the largest in SD card history, seems to be an afterthought at the bottom of a buried chart. If you don’t want to look for it yourself, click here.

Toshiba Exceria UHS-II SD card front

Find the UHS-II logo, just try!

If you look way back it was actually announced at CES in 2011 but we had never actually seen a UHS-II card until Computex 2014. Officially it raises the bus speed from 104MBps to 312MBps, half that for full-duplex and is only supported on HC and XC cards. These are suffixed with a II but the card speed marks, the U with a 1 or 3 in them are not changed. Unless you notice that little II after the card class, you won’t know that it exists unless you flip it over. In short it is about as bad a messaging and labelling job as you can reasonably expect from a product that actually functions.

Most of this push to show off their ancient but well hidden format is because of, you guessed it, 4K video. The older UHS-I bus was adequate for some forms of 4K video, it would not be sufficient for long. This is likely why we are seeing actual UHS-II hardware being made, it didn’t take three years from spec ratification to actually make one. That said UHS-II cards are finally here but good luck actually reading them at speed, they are backwards compatible but that misses the point.

Until UHS-II readers become ubiquitous, something we don’t expect to see soon with the utter pointlessness of new PCs, there is little reason to buy one. If you still have to have a device, Toshiba sells theirs under the Exceria Pro brand, Sandisk and Phison have versions as well.

Toshiba FlashAir SD card

FlashAir is not AirFlash

On a happier note, another product we didn’t know existed until Toshiba showed it to us was their FlashAir Wi-Fi SD card. It is effectively an Eye-Fi with 8-32GB of storage, 802.11n, and Class 10 transfer speeds so it should be fast enough for real world use. Since it is from Toshiba we expect it to actually live up to the speed rating but software support is, err, not their problem. In any case it is a good idea and we wish it were more ubiquitous, basically the same way we feel about UHS-II.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate