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Speeding up your SD card (the unexpected way)
  • Short story: My SD Card got a speed upgrade from stock and it cost me NOTHING!

    Long story:

    Bought a Samsung SD 16gb Plus Class 10 (this kind:

    First thing I did was format it at 32K and 64K clusters for optimal speed and benchmark it. Speed gains from 64K were marginal, and IIRC the camera didn't like them and defaulted to 32K if I formatted in camera.

    Benchmarked the card at almost ~15MB with 16MB files and ~13MB with 8MB files. "Nice!" - I thought, 15MBs is better than Class 10 and since it's 120Mbps it will hold some pretty aggressive patches for a card that costs 20€.

    But one day as I was moving FW from my laptop to the card I noticed the transfer speed was way below 10MBs! :( This started a heavy series of benchmarks that were all flawed (basically the problem was that the internal SD reader on the laptop is speed limited) but that had an unexpected development in my struggle to get the benchmark back to the speed I knew it was capable of. In that series of events I used some SSD reasoning "It's flash memory, I should try a Full Format not a Quick Format."

    When I returned home and benchmarked the card on the external reader where I originally got almost 15MBs, this is what I got:

    I don't know if this will transport to other brands, but I know I'll be doing this every now and then....

    863 x 613 - 118K
  • 7 Replies sorted by
  • @duartix, yes I have found that it does speed up the handleing of the files by the shorter the cluster size per sector allows lager amounts of data per chunk. However it really slow down how the card can handle date in a sense. This is because even though you allow the card to get bigger chunks of data per second for example this slows the amount of at which it can handle those chunks.


  • Perhaps I wasn't clear in my post. I wasn't talking about cluster size.

    I was pointing out that I got from 15MBps to 18MBps after I did a full format on the card! Cluster sizes were the same before and after.

  • @duartix Your find goes hand in hand with previous experiences of performance improvements from a Low Level Format on Sandisk 30mb/s cards..

  • What formatting tool for Macs could do that type of thing?

  • @sprinke: from @allenswrench 's post:

    Been talking to a friend that is usually on Canon EOS 1D and he told me his camera does quick formats but also low level formats, which they advice to do occasionally on the manual.

    In the end this looks like a know situation for flash based devices, even though it's not common knowledge either.

  • If you don´t forget to do a low level format before shooting video, you can get a lot out of cheap cards. I have been using Transcend 16 and 32GB Class 10 cards from Amazon with @driftwood patches and never had any problems. Just record, copy and format again,never delete any videos or photos in-cameraand it should work great!