Review: Toshiba Exceria N301 64Gb SDXC & Samsung Evo+ 128Gb microSDXC

It’s been a while since I last reviewed some flash memory. After all, if you already have enough cards, there isn’t really much reason to get more unless the price is great.

Regrettably, on my recent holiday, I managed to lose one of my prized Toshiba Exceria Type 2 64Gb SDXC cards, most likely at a hotel. Luckily, no data was lost because the data was already backed up, but I was fairly miffed that I was one 64Gb card short of my happy equilibrium. As a result of that, I went looking for a replacement, taking advantage of a few eBay specials.

Aside from that, while strolling through Golden Computer Center in Hong Kong, I came across a great price for a Samsung Evo+ 128Gb microSDXC card (~AU$50) – just perfect for replacing my faultering Sandisk 128Gb microSDXC card.

As a result, we have this post … the result of commissioning tests on the cards prior to use.

Toshiba Exceria N301 64Gb UHS-I SDXC

These were being sold by a local seller on eBay, and had a regular price of about AU$36. After I applied my discounts, I was able to reduce this to about AU$29, making it a good value buy.

The packaging shows that this is a card intended for the China market, with Chinese text and China URLs. It claims 48MB/s using the UHS-I SDR50 transfer mode, or 20MB/s using regular SD mode, likely the maximum read speed, and does not specify the write speed. Judging from this, it seems to be a fairly ordinary basic Class 10 card, but somehow, the card itself is branded Exceria.

After cutting the box open as described, the card is housed in a plastic shell with an adhered paper backing which is peeled to release the card.

The card is black in colour with a plastic shell. The rear text codifies the product code as SD-K64G – similar to the SD-K32G of the “ordinary” 32Gb card reviewed earlier. The second line appears to start with a date code – week 15 of 2016 seems most reasonable. The card is Made in Japan. Further card details include:

Capacity: 61,983,424,512 bytes
CID: 02544d534136344724456057d0010469
CSD: 400e00325b590001cdcf7f800a400007

HDTune Pro Read

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

For the first time, I am also testing the memory cards with a newly purchased Transcend RDF9K. This is a newer reader, capable of USB 3.1 (not important) and UHS-II card operation (also unimportant). However, as it uses a different chipset, it provides another opinion on card performance – likely a better one as it is probably better optimized.

Sequential read speeds averaged 42.2MB/s on the Transcend RDF8, 44.8MB/s on the Transcend RDF9, and 44.2MB/s on the Kogan RTS5301. This is slightly below the package claim of 45MB/s, but that may be due to Toshiba’s accounting of 1,000,000 bytes/second = 1MB/s versus what is used by the benchmark. The RDF8 which was my normal reference reader is already bested by the RDF9 here.

HDTune Pro Write

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Sequential write testing could not be performed with the Kogan RTS5301 because it seems to have a “bug” which makes HDTune think the card is partitioned and not blank when it has been zeroed. This suggests the card reader may be altering accesses to certain card locations upon access – the reasoning behind this is unclear however.

Regardless, the two readers produced identical results of 14.5MB/s average write speed, which is above the minimum necessary for Class 10, but not by that much. Compared to the Exceria Type 2 which could manage 60+MB/s, this is rather meagre. Previously, the Exceria branding was reserved for their premium cards – this card certainly doesn’t appear to belong to that league.

CrystalDiskMark

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

Similar results appeared to be had all round, although the RDF9K seems to have the upper hand on sequential, it seems to report slow 512kB accesses (unusually). On the whole, the 512kB write speed seems slower than many competitors. Maybe this is a timing related issue. The 4kB access figures don’t seem particularly interesting – a fairly average result it seems. As a result of these strange figures, I’ll try ATTO.

ATTO

Transcend RDF8K

Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

No discrepancies are noted by ATTO in regards to 512kB accesses, so maybe the results from CDM are in error, or timing specific. Regardless, on the RDF8K, full performance is attained around 64kB accesses, with 4kB accesses coming in at 5837kB/s read and 1195kB/s write, with other readers reporting roughly the same result.

H2testW

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

As expected, no data integrity errors occurred. Just to be extra sure, the card with the written data was re-verified on the RDF9K just to ensure it was performing properly.

Samsung Evo+ 128Gb UHS-I microSDXC

As mentioned earlier, I purchased this card for about AU$50 from Golden Computer Center in Hong Kong. Knowing that Hong Kong is a hotbed for fake flash made me a little cautious, however, if you examine the packaging and product carefully, it’s not too difficult to weed out the fake stuff from the real stuff. Branded products generally fare better in that regard.

The photos above were taken “on location” in Hong Kong with my mobile phone – so I guess you can call these holiday photos. Bad jokes aside, the card is a Chinese market product, sporting a boast of 80MB/s read and 20MB/s write – a little quicker than your average Class 10 card, and indeed the standard Evo series which has a 48MB/s read and unspecified write speed. It has a scratch-off holographic verification label on the front, and a distributor label on the rear. A 10 year warranty appears to be offered (subject to conditions). This particular unit is a cheaper version without the microSD to SD adapter – something which is rarely needed anyway.

The card itself is somewhat unique amongst microSD cards in that it appears to be built on a white substrate. This is definitely a distinguishing factor, when the majority use black substrates. The card is Made in Korea, as expected. Further details include:

Capacity: 128,094,044,160 bytes
CID: 1b534d303030303010e9f05d8e010c43
CSD: 400e00325b590003ba5f7f800a40405d

HDTune Pro Read

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

When it comes to sequential read speeds, this card churns out fairly impressive numbers. It achieved an average of 78.6MB/s on the Transcend RDF8, 87MB/s on the Transcend RDF9 and 83.9MB/s on the Kogan RTS5301. Very much living up to, and exceeding the paper specifications and should make for a very speedy download of data from the card.

HDTune Pro Write

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Sequential write speeds averaged 20.9MB/s on the Transcend RDF8K and 21.4MB/s on the RDF9K. This is just above the claimed amount on the package, which is a nice finding. However, the throughput rate does show some inconsistencies and access times seem a little high. On the upside, this is fairly impressive performance – above average for a “low end” Class 10 card, and half-way to U3 rating of 30MB/s. It doesn’t beat the “extreme” level professional cards, but for the price, it’s hard to fault. However, it’s notable that its competitors have also moved to (slightly) higher speeds since I reviewed them. Unfortunately, due to a bug with the RTS5301, write testing could not be performed as it seemed to confuse HDTune into thinking the card was partitioned when it was not.

CrystalDiskMark

Transcend RDF8K                                             Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

The sequential transfer rates sit broadly in line with that revealed by HDTune, although it seems the RTS5301 chipset does have some difficulty attaining maximum read rate in this benchmark. The cause is unknown, but could not be remedied by removing and re-inserting the card. Medium-block accesses posted fairly good figures, although there seems a large discrepancy between the RDF8K and RDF9K results, which show significantly better performance on the RDF8K, possibly due to how the Genesys Logic chipset translates USB Mass Storage commands into SDXC bus commands, however, the lower sequential rate may have to do with the Genesys Logic chipset’s strange clock rates. Regardless, the 4kB accesses also show fairly good results, although strangely, the RTS5301 shows the QD32 result as being low for write – in the region that I would expect some Class 10 cards to be. The results may be highly sensitive to timing, so lets take a second opinion.

ATTO

Transcend RDF8K

Transcend RDF9K

Kogan RTS5301

The Transcend RDF8K shows the full performance being achieved around 64kB to 128kB accesses. In this case, 4kB transfers came out at 9846kB/s read and 3296kB/s write. The Transcend RDF9K shows full performance by 64kB accesses, and 4kB accesses were measured at 10357kB/s read and 3624kB/s write. Discrepancies in the 512kB access speed were not detected by ATTO. Problems with the RTS5301 continued into this bench, where lower performance was recorded.

H2testW

As expected, no data integrity issues occurred during testing with the RDF8K.

Conclusion

The performance of the Toshiba Exceria N301 was unremarkable, and in some ways, undeserving of the Exceria branding. It represents a fairly average Class 10 memory card, possibly what may have been sold on their “green card” packaging without any fancy whistles and bells, and is in a much lower performance league compared to the Type 2 (which I have, sadly, lost one of). It’s not a bad card if you can get it for a decent price, and only demand what an ordinary Class 10 card is capable of.

The Samsung Evo+ card was a rather pleasant surprise. Despite being bought from Hong Kong at a reasonable price, it met all the promises on the package and even exceeded it slightly. It is a card that will push fast downloads, and its write speed is a little faster than the average Class 10 card which is very welcome at the lower end of the market. It’s not a replacement for your “extreme” high-end cards, but it does bring very respectable performance for its price.

Upon examination, it seems that my reliance on CrystalDiskMark may have produced some strange and timing-sensitive results. While variance due to card reader, USB controller and computer used is a known issue, it seems that the benchmark produces some results which are difficult to explain and counter-intuitive. This may be related to timing-related performance variances of flash memory, as a result, ATTO results will also be included in the future. There is a possibility I will retire CrystalDiskMark testing into the future. This was also the first review where the Transcend RDF9K was used, which appears to be a superior reader. It will probably be used as the primary test-reader in the future.

The SD Card Performance Database and CID/CSD Database have already been updated with the new data. Be sure to look out for my next post about the Transcend RDF9K card reader.

About lui_gough

I’m a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!

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