Reviews |Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card

Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card Review

Incredible value and superb performance marks this card out against the competition

Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card review
Review

Price when reviewed

£339

$§339
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Our Verdict

Let’s face it; many laptops offer less capacity and speed than this CFExpress card. The small form factor packs in an incredible amount of storage, and coupled with the latest technology and updatable firmware, your investment in this card should be safe for a good few years.

Through the test, the card provided consistent performance, and while not as fast as some of the other CFExpress cards I’ve looked at recently, the capacity and price make it worthwhile.

To be honest, with the write speeds tipping the balance at a rate beyond the cameras tested, this seems like an ideal card for anyone shooting video or stills with the latest batch of cameras.

For

  • Well priced
  • Large capacity
  • Fast read speeds

Against

  • Sustained write speed drops

What is the Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card?

The Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card is a large-capacity memory card designed for the latest batch of high-resolution cameras. Interestingly the card is well-balanced and doesn’t push the speed of the technology, which means that it’s slightly cheaper than many of its rivals.

However, while it might not be as fast as some, it’s still double the speed of the fastest UHS-II SD cards I’ve tested, and will far outperform most cameras presently on the market, including the Canon EOS R5’s requirements.

Based on the CFExpress type B size, the card features x2 PCIe 3.0 interface with a 3W power draw. Sabrent states that in an ideal circumstance, the card has a transfer speed of 1700MB/s, 1700MB/s read and 1500MB/s write. Interestingly they also put down the sustain transfer rates, which drop to 1600MB/s read and 400MB/s write. I’m not sure they have this right, as in our test, the sustain write speed was far higher.

Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card reviewHigh endurance technology is used inside through LDPC, RAID ECC, End-to-end data protection, SmartRefresh, static and dynamic wear-levelling, defect management and over-provisioning.

The card also supports TRIM, SMART, TCG OPAL/Pyrite and features upgradeable firmware. This all points towards this card being able to be used for other applications besides simply a storage device for images and video.

Unbelievably the 512GB version of the card is the smallest denomination, with a 1TB version also available.

Performance

Installed into a Nikon Z6, the CFExpress initially required formatting to be recognised by the camera. While it’s always good practice to format a card before use, it’s unusual for a card to arrive unformatted.

Once the card is formatted, the huge capacity is recognised by the camera without issue; for most people, the scale of storage on this single card will likely be enough for a lifetime of images.

Even for videographers, the huge size of the 512GB card will happily see most through around four hours of high-quality 4K video capture.

Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card review

In use, the card kept up with the demands of the camera, and at no point was there any issue, dropped frames or pausing of the camera due to write issues.

After the real-world test where the card performed as I’d hoped, it was time to get a little more scientific and pop the card through the Blackmagic Disk speed test with the following results.

Write 625.1 MB/s
Read 883.7 MB/s

While these results were a way off those stated by Sabrent, the results are still excellent. It’s also worth pointing out that the transfer speeds of these cards are also limited by the technology, with the card reader only having a maximum transfer rate of 950MB/s through USB 3.2.

Leaving the card running in Blackmagic for a couple of hours to see the effects of sustained use, the card held up well with no notable drop in performance. As with other CFExpress cards of this type, the heat generated over the hour starts to build, but the performance is steady.

Overall in camera and tested through the disk speed tool, the Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card proved that it was a solid performer.

Final Thoughts

I must admit that I find it amazing that we can now get memory cards for our cameras with capacities that exceed some laptops. 512GB seems like an incredible amount of storage, but if you’re shooting 4, 6 or 8K video, you’ll know how quickly that storage can disappear.

Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card review

In all tests, the Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card passed with flying colours, but I liked the balance that this card strikes. At $339/£339, it’s about $100/£100 less than most of its rivals that put in a similar performance, and if you look at the likes of Sony or SanDisk, you can add another £100; that’s a big difference.

For my money, the Sabrent CFExpress B 512GB Card is a fantastic deal, especially if you’re shooting video.

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