Ritz Gear Golden Eagle 256GB SDXC Express Card and Reader Review – Not for the faint-hearted

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A few months back we posted which would be one of the first reports about SD Express 7.o (SDx) and its potential in the media storage industry. This report brought us transfer speeds of just under 900MB/s in a fully backward compatible SD Express card, which was identical in shape to any typical SD card. It was just plug and play and seemed to be on its way. This report brings us a few months ahead of Ritz Gear‘s latest SD Express 7.0 entry which is available now from e-tailers, a little earlier than expected and perhaps a little… rushed.

Today we’re reviewing the Ritz Gear Golden Eagle 256GB SDXC Express Card with its USB 3.2 10Gbps Type-C SD Express (SDx) Card Reader. The two pieces at the moment can be found on Amazon, sold together and 50% off for $150, $299 with 50% coupon when you check the appropriate box. Not so fast though. This SDx card offers 820MB/s read and 500MB/s write performance, but only contains 30MB/s UHS Speed ​​Class 3 and 30MB/s Video Speed ​​Class V30. We found this a little strange, especially since there was no mention in the advertisement that it was UHS-I or II, as you see in any advertisement on Amazon . There is a reason.

First, let’s cover everything we need to know to get the best performance. First, your base system must be USB 3.2 10Gbps compatible and contain a Type-C port capable of accommodating the included cable. You couldn’t achieve peak performance of 820MB/s without it. Then something that is not advertised but should be known is the fact that although SDx 7.0 is backwards compatible, it is STILL at UHS-1 speeds of just over 100MB/s. SDx uses a single lane on the PCI bus while other SD cards use the UHS bus. This means that my Canon EOS R5 will only run this camera at just over 100MB/s max, as will several other newer cameras and external drives. Full performance of an SDx 7.0 card CAN ONLY BE OBTAINED through an SDx card reader plugged into a PC Type-C 10Gbps port.

So let’s take a closer look at the performance of the Ritz Gear 256GB SDx cards as advertised and tested with Crystal DiskMark…

The performance returned in our initial test was impressive to say the least, but that’s not the whole story with today’s media and it becomes a little obvious when we decide to test sustained performance. Keep in mind that this card has a V30 rating which many might find a little out of place next to the 820MB/s read and 500MB/s write transfer speeds.

When transferring our 85GB 8K video folder, transfer speed was 500MB/s for the first 25GB, then performance dropped like a rock to just under 30MB/s where it stayed for the rest of the transfer. Now, we might find this strange, but it’s EXACTLY as advertised with write performance of 500MB/s and sustained write speeds at V30… of 30MB/s. any other SD card reader in the world that isn’t specifically an SDx reader, we would initially have seen performance of around 100MB/s max, followed by a drop to just under 30MB/s. The reason is that the memory used for this device is QLC NAND without a buffer chip and uses a specific partition of this QLC NAND in SLC mode to create this buffer. When the buffer fills up, performance drops.

At the end of days, if the Ritz Gear Golden Eagle meets your needs and you think it might be what you’re looking for, congratulations. My concern is for those who have high end cameras and buy this thinking they are doing a good thing. You should know that at the most inopportune moment they will learn that their UHS-II camera, which should bring transfer speeds of over 300MB/s, is stuck at 100MB/s because of this card.

Myself, I use a Canon EOS R5 with the full range of EF and RF lenses and more often than not I can be found behind the Canon 100-500L. I mainly shoot nature and as such the current SDx setup does not serve me well. I wholeheartedly rely on the performance of the CF Express Type B, but you can also find a UHS-II V90 right next to it as a backup.

Check out Ritz Gear SD Express Card & Reader 50% off at Amazon.

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