Lexar takes super speed to 128GB

Anyone that uses a high end DSLR or HD video camera knows that two factors that can mess up your day are the size and speed of the memory card.  The last thing you want to do is have a shoot spoiled because the camera cannot get a burst of pictures onto a card or waste countless hours waiting to import the latest shoot.  Now that 4K and 8K video are becoming the new standards a 32GB or 64GB card just will not do.  Lexar worked hard to address both issues in the Professional 2000x 128GB DSXC UHS-II memory card that is sold under part number LSD128CRBNA2000R for $229.99 shipped. Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II cards with maximum speed of 312MB/s transfer rates are not new, Toshiba came out with the first one back in October of 2013 hitting a 260MB/s read and 240MB/s write speed.  SanDisk released a 64GB version that we reviewed here back in May, 2014.  In December, 2015 Delkin released a ground breaking 128GB UHS-II 1900x card and now Lexar has done one better with a SDXC 128GB UHS-II U3 2000x card.  As we showed back then, to break the UHS-I barrier requires an extra set of pins for UHS-II as you can see on the right image.
Lexar-128GB-2000x-cardLexar-128GB-2000x-pins

Some of the features of the Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3

Good thing that Lexar includes a USB 3.0 reader for UHS-II  as part of this bundle for lighting fast transfers.  Since Lexar knows that their premium SDXC 128GB UHS-II card will primarily be used for images and video they provide a free code to activate a download of their ImageRescue software with purchase of the card / reader bundle.  This is a great emergency solution for when you hit format and realize you put the wrong SD card in, there goes 100's of pictures (not that the author would know anything about this ). Lexar-128GB-2000x-contents   The card reader is a nice small package and can read both UHS-I and UHS-II cards while taking advantage of USB 3.0 maximum 640MB/s speed.  After a full day of shooting my Canon EOS 6D in RAW, I know how long it can take to get gigabytes of those 25MB files moved into Lightroom CC.  While my current camera cannot take advantage of the UHS-II speed, the Lexar is backward compatible to UHS-I, so I can shoot at lower speed and then offload at full speed.  Anything to help the workflow move faster lets me spend more time editing an less time waiting.

Lexar Professional 128GB UHS-II Performance Test and Conclusion

To test the Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 we started with a write test from a Canon EOS 6D Full Frame DSLR.  This camera came out two years ago before UHS-II was availab le and like most current DSLR's only supports UHS-I.  The 6D can shoot up to 4.5 frames per second (FPS) at 20.2 megapixels using a DIGIC 5+ processor to get them on the SD card as fast as possible.    When shooting JPEG, the processor is fast enough to fire off 4.5 FPS until the card is full; however, when shooting RAW the buffer fills up after a few seconds and then the camera drops to about 2 FPS. Lexar-128GB-6D-Chart Burst Duration: Using a stopwatch, we timed how long the 6D could shoot in burst mode before the buffers filled.  Not surprisingly our old 163x speed Class 10 card dropped out at 4.06 seconds or 18 images.  The newer SandDisk UHS-I card and the Lexmark Professional 128GB UHS-II cards were almost identical with times of 5.38 seconds and 5.57 seconds or 24 vs. 25 images captured.  Clearly the bottleneck is the cameras UHS-I slot and not the cards.  Currently there are only a few cameras that support UHS-II and the newest ones, like the Canon 1dX Mark II, are going down the CFast 2.0 path.  Time will tell if 2016 will see many new cameras going SD UHS-II or the more expensive CFast 2.0 for their storage options. Lexar-USB3.0-Reader

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3

Lexar-128GB-2000x-CrystalDisk File Transfer: Now that our card is loaded up, lets see how the Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 works with the included reader in Crystal Disk Mark v5.11 x64.  UHS-II has a maximum theoretical speed of 312MB/s and the Lexar card / reader combo is clearly using most of it with 297.4MB/s. Writes are a little slower at 246.2 MB/s, but that is nothing but stellar performance for a SD card.  

SanDisk Extreme Pro 1000x 128GB UHS-I

SanDisk-Extreme-Pro-CrystalDisk For comparison, we used the Lexar USB 3.0 reader with our daily use SD card to see how much a difference the UHS-II makes over UHS-I.  While still impressive, the UHS-I card doesn't stand a chance against that second row of pins in Lexar's UHS-II card and gets beat by 3:1.

Delkin 163x 32GB Class 10

Delkin-32GB-CrystalDisk Anyone on a first generation Class 10 card needs to seriously consider the newer technology.  Using an old Delkin 163x Class 10 card in the Lexar reader showed just how far this technology has come with an 8:1 speed ratio. Lexar-128GB-2000x-IOMETER SD Readers do Matter: Throwing the high speed Lexar 128GB UHS-II into a cheap USB 3.0 SD reader simply killed the performance.  Not only does it not support the second set of pins, but it obviously has some issue with the standard buss not even hitting UHS-I speeds.  Good thing Lexar paired a wicked fast card with a wicked fast reader!

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3

Lexar-128GB-2000x-ATTO  

SanDisk Extreme Pro 1000x 128GB UHS-I

SanDisk-Extreme-Pro-ATTO ATTO Benchmark: ATTO v3.05 Shows the similar results as Crystal, the Lexar 128GB UHS-II card hitting almost 280MB/s read and 235MB/s write vs UHS-I 99 / 87 MB/s  read and write.

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 Conclusion

Lexar currently has the only 2000x UHS-II card in the 128GB capacity maxing out the transfer rate of this spec.  That is a very impressive feat that this photographer really appreciates.  A SD card with 128GB means you can go on vacation with the family and shoot for seven days without having to say "hold on to that once in a lifetime pose while I change cards".  Unfortunately the camera industry is behind and confused on which next generation memory card standard they want to support.  Canon's latest top of the line camera, EOS 1DX Mark II announced as of this writing, has a CF and CF FAST 2.0 slot but a SD slot absent.  The Canon 5Ds(r) released a few months ago have a SD and CF slot, but only support UHS-I on the SD side.  Nikon went a different direction with their latest flagship D5 supporting both CF UDMA-7 and the new XQD memory format that is even faster than UHS-II.  Good news to those that own a new Nikon D500 since it has both the SD UHS-II and XQD slots. Lexar-128GB-2000x-contents The speed tests we have seen online show that Lexar is the king of speed and capacity regardless of the format and our testing demonstrates this in the SDXC 128GB 2000x space.  If you shoot with a camera that supports SD, this is a great card to have even if it only records at UHS-I speeds since it will speed up the download after the shoot.  However, given the current market confusion and lack of support for UHS-II it would probably be wise to save the $229.99 shipped and wait for a little more memory card dust to settle before jumping on this format.  Lexar still gets a recommended award for being the best in this category for speed and capacity.   LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line: For devices that use SD,the Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 is the king of speed and capacity in the UHS-II format.