ProGrade Releases Ultra-fast 3rd Generation CFast 2.0 Cards
For the shrinking number of users who still depend on the CFast memory card format for their storage needs, ProGrade’s newest release should certainly be handy.
The manufacturer has unveiled new third-generation CFast cards that are probably the fastest on the market. For owners of certain cameras from brands such as Blackmagic, Arri, Atomos and Canon among others, these new cards offer heavily beefed-up specs over alternative options.
The general maximum transfer speed of the CFast format is just 600MB/s but so far even this hasn’t been achieved by any manufacturer.
So, partly due to this, it has largely been abandoned in favor of other formats like CFexpress, which –depending on the type, A or B- can reach much faster read and write speeds.
The main limitation to the velocity of CFast cards is that their storage uses the SATA interface, as opposed to say, PCIe, which is used in CFexpress. SATA has a hard speed limit of 600MB/s for its transfers, based on the technology’s physical nature.
This poses an obvious problem for videographers working with the latest cameras at 6K and 8K resolutions, which simply need more than SATA’s speed limit can handle.
This is where CFexpress and SSD have started taking over the market as more camera makers simply switch over for the sake of the much heavier video data loads their cameras now output.
ProGrade’s release of a new CFast card type that reaches speeds of up to 520MB/s is an effort to corner the still-existing market of camera users whose cameras do indeed use CFast. These people want the best that’s possible even if the format they’re working with is slowly being replaced.
ProGrade Digital’s new 3rd-Gen CFast 2.0 Cobalt series cards are a possibly ideal choice for these users. The cards come in 320GB and 650GB capacities and can handle read speeds of 550MB/s while being able to write at the already-mentioned 520MB/S maximum.
It’s worth noting that both of the above speeds are peak velocities and consistent read/write results stay closer to 470MB/s. This is still a very decent speed by the standards of many previous CFast cards.
Another thing that potential buyers should also keep in mind for these cards is that both their consistent and peak read/write speeds as claimed by CFast don’t quite correspond to the card’s VPG certification rating, which is set at no more than 130MB/s.
The organization that certifies these ratings of maximum consistent card speed is generally considered to be a reliable indicator of expected performance.
By contrast, many CFexpress cards are rated at VPG 400, making them much more ideal for heavy video loads.
In terms of other useful specs in these new CFast Cobalt 2.0 cards from ProGrade, they’re all fitted with optimized controllers designed for professional camera recording. These controllers can detect and correct errors during recording and data transfer.
Finally, ProGrade Digital’s new CFast cards are robustly built to be impervious to damaging effects by X-ray scanning (such as in airport security checkpoints) and are also shockproof.
ProGrade claims that its new cards can operate at temperatures that range between 0 and 70 degrees Celsius too. Fortunately, in case the cards do end up having problems, they come with a three-year warranty upon purchase from an authorized dealer.
As for their price tags, the ProGrade Digital CFast 2.0 Cobalt series memory cards will retail at $330 for the 320GB edition and $600 for the $650GB model when they start shipping in December 2022.