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Lexar announces 133X Pro Series CompactFlash and SD  
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

Lexar today has unveiled its next generation of Pro Series CompactFlash and Secure Digital (SD) cards. Both card formats are promised to deliver a minimum sustained write speed of 133X using Lexar's standard test procedure, support the speediest data transfer methods of the CompactFlash v3.0 and SD v1.1 specifications and include performance optimizations for popular camera models from Canon, Nikon and others. And in our initial testing, Lexar's 133X CompactFlash in particular appears to now be on par - and in some instances, quicker - than the fastest available CompactFlash cards from other makers when in-camera write speed is measured.

Lexar Pro Series 133X CompactFlash will initially be available in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities. The Pro Series 133X SD will be available in 1GB and 2GB capacities. The 2GB SD will also be bundled with a small but speedy Lexar USB 2.0 card reader. Older SD readers generally don't support cards above 1GB, so Lexar opted to ship a reader with the larger-capacity Pro series SD to ensure purchasers would have a way to read the card. All capacities of 133X CompactFlash and SD include Image Rescue 2.0.5, Lexar's photo recovery and card management application for Windows and Mac.

lexar_133x_cf.jpgThe full 133X CompactFlash and SD lines are slated to ship from Lexar within about 3 weeks from today, say John Omvik, Lexar's Director of Professional Product Marketing. The new CompactFlash cards succeed the 18-month-old Pro Series 80X at the top of Lexar's product pyramid, while the release of 133X SD will mark the first time Lexar has offered a Pro Series SD card with a speed rating comparable to its top-tier CompactFlash.

The Pro Series 80X models will be phased out in the weeks ahead, but certain 80X capacities will re-emerge in Lexar's recently-announced Platinum II line. Platinum II will be comprised of 512MB, 1GB and 2GB CompactFlash rated at 80X, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB SD rated at 60X and 512MB, 1GB and 2GB Memory Stick Pro rated at 80X.

Platinum II models will come available starting in the March-April 2006 timeframe, says Omvik.

A speed-rating of 133X is equal to 19.5MB/second (where X=150K/second and 1024K=1MB). Note that while there is no standardized method of benchmarking camera memory cards, Lexar's assignment of a 19.5MB/second write speed rating to their new Pro Series cards is meant to put them on equal footing with SanDisk's Extreme III line, most of which are also rated to deliver 19.5MB/second.

Testing Lexar 133X

Armed with four newer Canon and Nikon digital SLR cameras, we timed how long it took to transfer a burst of RAW files to a selection of CompactFlash and SD cards, including production-level Lexar 2GB 133X models in both card formats. The test procedure used mirrored that of the CompactFlash Performance Database on this site. The fastest transfer for each card is marked in bold.

Brand and Model
(Card Identifier)1
Canon EOS 5D
(7 RAW CR2)
Canon EOS-1D Mark II N
(16 RAW CR2)
Nikon D200
( 21 RAW NEF)
Nikon D2X
(17 RAW NEF)
Lexar 2GB 80X Write Acceleration *3rd edition*2 (CF)
(Edge stamp: 39132GBCI29052D97)
6.619MB/sec 6.703MB/sec 6.523MB/sec 7.009MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 133X Write Acceleration (CF)
(Edge stamp: 39652GBAB5205CDC3)
7.621MB/sec 7.616MB/sec 8.420MB/sec 9.117MB/sec
SanDisk 2GB Extreme III (CF)
(Edge stamp: BE04121FA)
7.459MB/sec
7.192MB/sec
8.419MB/sec
9.117MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 133X Write Acceleration (SD)
(Rear label: 3408-2GBS A 5005B)
--- 6.034MB/sec --- ---
Ridata 2GB 150X (SD)
(Rear label: U51007997391)
---
7.486MB/sec
---
---
(1) To help determine whether the card you own is substantially similar to the one tested, the card's description includes an identifier - series number, internal name or other unique value - where possible and applicable.
(2) Lexar began shipping their Pro Series 80X line of cards in late June 2004. There were three distinct versions of Pro Series 80X before the cards were phased out beginning in early 2006. The cards marked *third edition* in the table are production models representative of the 80X lineup that began shipping in early summer 2005, and include an important fix for an incompatibility problem with certain Canon cameras. The last four digits of the card's edge stamp differentiate the various editions; as of this writing, an edge stamp ending in 2D97 means a third edition card. If the last four digits are A4B6 or 9171, it's a second edition card. In separate testing, we've determined that, based on the second and third edition cards we have in-house, third edition cards are only very slightly faster than second edition ones. First edition cards, ones whose edge stamp ends in 9FFA, 9D66 or F6A4, are significantly slower in some tests.
 
Our test Mac for benchmarking card-to-computer transfer rates is out of commission temporarily, so we haven't yet been able to assess the speed at which a Lexar 133X card can transfer data from itself to a hard drive yet.

Revision History
 Added test results (January 19, 2006)
 Fixed two minor mistakes in article (February 8, 2006)

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