Review: Samsung 128Gb EVO Plus microSDXC Card (MB-MC128G)

During my recent trip to Hong Kong, there was ample reason to get myself a few more microSD cards. They’re just so ubiquitous nowadays, and prices are coming down. As a result, I scoured all of Golden Computer Centre looking for the “best” deal, and it came down to the newly revised Samsung EVO Plus.

Last time I visited, I purchased the old 128Gb Samsung EVO Plus, which turned out to be a decent speed increase from the competing 128Gb Sandisk Ultra of the time. Little did I know, Sandisk had then increased their speeds to become more competitive, although their reliability had been a problem for me. Of course, Samsung wouldn’t let this go unmatched and thus comes their newly revised Samsung EVO Plus.

The new card differs from the old by advertising UHS Speed Class 3 support, 4k-video recording support, read speeds up to 100MB/s and write speeds up to 90MB/s. It basically advertises what would have been considered “pro” grade performance but still using TLC technology and with a competitive price. While it wasn’t the cheapest 128Gb card on sale (that honour would go to the Toshiba Exceria), it was only about HK$60 (AU$10) more expensive with a big improvement in speeds. The card was bought for HK$358 or roughly AU$60 on the 29th September 2017.

Unboxing

Owing to the tight luggage situation, I discarded the boxes while still in Hong Kong, so all I have are phone photos. This package is intended for the China market, as witnessed by all the Chinese on the packaging and the model code which ends in /CN. The model is MB-MC128G, and it seems it may have been manufactured on 1st September 2017, which less than a month from when I bought it (29th September).

Two cards were purchased in all. The distributor’s label on the rear and the scratch-off holographic labels with different codes gives confidence that this product is genuine. It won’t evade testing though.

The printing on the card is decidedly English. The design differs from the old card by incorporating the word “Plus” rather than the symbology of “+” and the UHS Speed Class 3 mark instead of the UHS Speed Class 1 mark on the older card.

Another differentiating factor is the card is manufactured in Philippines. Formerly, all of the cards I have received from Samsung were all manufactured in Korea (as you would expect).

The card retains a white edge which distinguishes it from most other cards on the market. The card-specific data is as follows (showing the card is slightly smaller in capacity than its predecessor):

Capacity: 128,043,712,512 bytes
CID: 1b534d454434515430699f616a01193f
CSD: 400e00325b590003b9ff7f800a4040ab

Performance Testing

Unfortunately, as my old test set-up has been decommissioned, tests were performed using my new rig, using a Transcend RDF9K reader which typically produces the best results of all the readers I presently have. The software has also been updated too, due to it being a fresh installation, so some of the benchmark results will vary. As a result, this test result will not be entered into the present performance test database, and a new one will be built as soon as another contender is tested.

HDTune Pro

The sequential read performance stayed above the 90MB/s mark except for a short period where it dipped below. The average read rate was 92.5MB/s, which is pretty close to the stated 100MB/s and could be due to reader chipset compatibility and timing issues.

The sequential write performance was impressive, staying mostly above 85MB/s, averaging 86.1MB/s which is fairly close to the claimed 90MB/s. Such high levels of performance were once the domain of premium level cards, but it seems that users won’t have to pay the premium for performance. The durability, however, is not known.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark seems to report higher figures – this time, the write speeds are pretty much “on the money” with their claims, and the read speeds are close enough. This might be down to slight differences in how each software measures the speeds. In terms of 4K accesses, it seems that the card is pretty competent at them as well, although I’m not sure if that is down to a change in how the benchmark works (due to the new version). The old benchmark seemed to be very timing sensitive and potentially unreliable.

CrystalDiskMark 6

At the request of a reader, I’ve also installed CDM6 and run the test on the card. Generally speaking, the results are within margin of error for the results where they are common to both, but I suppose what’s missing from CDM5 and 6 that was in CDM3 was the “512kB” level. That being said, ATTO covers almost all bases for transfer sizes anyway.

ATTO

As a result, we turn to our “trusted friend” ATTO for some numbers. It seems that the card really only reaches its full performance for 64/128kB and above accesses. It does post better figures for 4kB accesses as well, so it seems all is good.

H2testW

The card passes a test of its full capacity, with no complaints. The speed reported is slightly lower as normal.

Conclusion

The “new” Samsung Evo Plus 128Gb microSDXC card really does pack a punch. It’s not expensive compared to its competitors, but it offers “pro-level” performance with a UHS Speed Class 3 rating and observed ~100MB/s read and ~90MB/s write speed. Endurance is still an unknown, but given that Samsung is the largest supplier of flash memory at the moment, it seems unlikely that their products would be any worse than the competition. It’s really a no-brainer, and quite an impressive result to see, especially when contrasted with the last Evo Plus which offered just ~22MB/s and Sandisk Ultra which offered ~26MB/s of write speed less than half a year ago.

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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3 Responses to Review: Samsung 128Gb EVO Plus microSDXC Card (MB-MC128G)

  1. cheapie says:

    Have you considered using CDM 6 instead of 5.x? It was released fairly recently and changes the benchmarks around a bit, replacing the QD1 sequential part with an 8-thread QD8 random read/write.

    • lui_gough says:

      Thanks for the heads-up. I wasn’t aware this was the case – I did find it a bit odd the suite of tests changed from the CDM 3.0.4-era, however, for the most part, I figured ATTO would have given what most people were interested in. I’m literally going to grab it now and give it a whirl, and update the results accordingly.

      – Gough

    • lui_gough says:

      Okay, updated with CDM6 result as well. Not much difference, within the margin of error as far as I’m concerned. Quite a decent performance from this tier of card – although I just noticed that Sandisk have just introduced a 128Gb card “for Nintendo Switch” that also has a UHS Speed Class 3 rating, so I wonder how that might compare on both price and performance.

      – Gough

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