Patriot EP Pro 32 GB SDXC/SDHC Card Review

BluePanda - 2012-06-26 08:21:50 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: July 19, 2012
Price: $69.99

Introduction:

Flash memory has become the key component to each part of our everyday lives. For some of us our smartphones alone use microSD cards just to carry all our extra Angry Bird games and thousands of camera phone pictures. Others of us take for granted our larger memory cards for our cameras when we go on vacations and no longer have to choose which pictures to delete to take some more – jus the ability to look at the pictures we’ve taken has been a long process of development in the memory world. We’re a bit further in the world of technology today and flash memory is a bit more than just a camera card. Today we’ll be taking a look at Patriot's newest addition to the family: The Patriot EP Pro.

The Patriot EP Pro is a high performance addition to Patriot Memory's SD card lineup. It was designed specifically for all HD video and photography enthusiasts. As better and better quality imaging becomes more affordable to the average household, the ability to store recordings is moving up too. The ability to capture high quality video at high resolutions is the new demand and perhaps here to meet that demand is Patriot. 

The Patriot EP Pro can provide uncanny transfer speed of up to 90MB/s read and 50MB/s write with a capacity up to 128GB; I remember when a 1GB SD card was "huge," these things are getting massive! Because it’s an UHS-I card, when used with compatible devices it can go nearly five times as fast as a standard SDHC card – I can hardly imagine the lag time between taking pictures. Heck, with these sizes just talk about the awesome storage solution on the go for my laptop or netbook; especially with UHS compatible devices. It's got speed and capacity – a win-win for memory.

Overall it looks to be a good option for anyone trying to capture high definition video at high resolutions – the way it should be done. Somehow I now have the urge to get a new video camera…

 

About the Ratings:

So if you don't know a whole lot about Classes and UHS or all that technical jargon – here's a quick synopsis of the two to let you see exactly how significant all these things are. I saved your Google noodle a couple minutes.

Class 10 is a strange rating that has developed over the years to measure speed. When I hear Class 10, it really means nothing more to me than "fast" as I know it is the highest "class." The class speed ratings come in Class 2, 4, 6 and 10; what happened to 8, I don't know. The class ratings represent the minimum expected read and write speeds you should see from the card. Class 10 is 10MB/s, Class 6 is 6MB/s, etc.

UHS Speed is a newer designation available on some SDHC and SDXC cards standing for "Ultra-High Speed." The UHS-I cards support a clock frequency of 100MHz in which a 4-bit transfer can allow 50MB/s. They also support a clock frequency of 208MHz allowing for 104MB/s. There is also a UHS-II designation, which further raises the theoretical data transfer rate to a maximum of 312MB/s (though there aren't any products on the market for this class yet). However, in either case, the theoretical values are only even closely obtained when using UHS host devices – so if your old camera or card reader doesn't support UHS don't expect to see these top speeds.

 

Closer Look:

The Patriot EP Pro comes in the standard packaging for any regular SD card. The SD card itself is in a protective, plastic, carrying case that is sealed up in a plastic shell and then covered with a decorative cardboard overlay. The front of the package seems to be designed to note three important factor: 1) It's the 32GB EP Pro from Patriot; 2) It is a "PROFESSIONAL" card, and 3) It is a Class 10, UHS-1, super-duper fast card. It's pretty obvious what you are getting from the front of the packaging alone.

The back of the package doesn't really give you a ton of information; and actually all that is in English is: "For use only with SDHC & SDXC compatible devices; 10 Megabytes per second minimum sustained write speed." The rest of the back is covered in the same two phrases in different languages. But don't forget the Facebook and Twitter pages… not that these will tell you much about the product.

 

 

I opened the package the simple way; a sharp knife around the edge of the carrying case. I didn't have to worry about hurting the card itself and I always hate cutting apart plastic covered in cardboard, but maybe we can call that one a scissor user error? Either way out of the package it looks like any other SD card in a carry case. It's red and black with an easy to identify front. It reminds you it's your 32GB, Class 10, UHS-I, SDHC card… so when it ends up in a pile with the rest of your cards from over the years – you'll be sure to know you've got the right one.

 

 

Out of its little carry case, where it will probably spend the rest of its life (or in use), it's ready to go. The back side of the card looks the same as any other SD card, showing off its shiny, un-scuffed contacts. With it plugged into my new USB 3.0 reader I'm ready for benching. Let's see how well this little guy can do – I hope it's ready to keep up with me.

 

Specifications:

Product Name:
EP Pro Series
Patriot Part #:
PEF32GSH10333 (32GB)
Description:
Patriot EP Pro Series Flash, SDHC/SDXC Class 10 Flash Drive
Certifications/Safety:
CE/FCC/RoHS
Product Warranty:
5 years
Unit Dimensions:
0.20 (D) x 2.40 (W) x 3.20 (L) cm
Unit UPC:
0815530013976
Packing Type:
Blister Pack
Packing Dimensions:
0.20 (D) x 12 (W) x 18 (L) cm
Net Weight:
2 grams

 

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of: http://patriotmemory.com/product/detail.jsp?prodline=4&catid=88&prodgroupid=238&id=1275&type=6

Testing:

To test Patriot's 32GB Class 10 UHS-I SDHC/SDXC card, I will run a series of benchmarks to provide as accurate a representation of its performance as possible. Flash Memory Toolkit and SiSoft Sandra will both be used to measure access times and to benchmark read and write speeds in various circumstances. Remember that FMT and Sandra are, however, synthetic benchmarks. To gauge real-world performance, I will also use a set of compressed files of various sizes to measure write speeds under typical usage. These compressed files correspond to those that are used in our product reviews that use the WinRAR benchmark. Let's begin!

 

Test Setup:

 

Comparison Storage Cards:

 

Flash Memory Toolkit 2.0

The first benchmark will use the low level benchmark from Flash Memory Toolkit 2.0. Higher read/write speeds and lower access times are better.

 

Low-level Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. Not that it's totally unexpected since this is the only card capable of breaking the USB 2.0 speed barrier... but wow. The Patriot EP Pro really shows its colors here with a clean sweep. It completely destroys all of the comparison cards in the bandwidth benchmarks and is very competitive in terms of access times as well.

Testing:

The next benchmark will be FMT's 'File Benchmark' that will write files of varying small sizes to the drive to more accurately gauge real world performance. Higher read and write speeds are better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, the Patriot EP Pro simply outclasses its opposition here. It obliterates every single card by margins of two times faster to nearly 25 times faster! This is a speed demon!

Testing:

SiSoft's Sandra 2012 features a specific benchmark for thumb-drives and other externally based flash media. Sandra 2012 writes files of varying sizes to the drive multiple times to measure performance, reminiscent of Flash Memory Toolkit's testing method. A sub-benchmark is also conducted that focuses more on sector use. Higher read and write speeds are better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Removable Storage Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other than the 4KB write result (which is somewhat expected since the cluster size on the Patriot EP Pro is 16KB instead of the 4KB of the competitors) the EP Pro once again shows off with a bloodbath. The other cards don't even come close to the speed this card brings to the table. This lead is greatest with large file sizes, which lends to the idea of using this card for photography using RAW output from the camera as well as streaming HD video to it.

Testing: Custom Files

Nothing reveals the true performances more than actually using the hardware as it was meant to be. That's why this last benchmark is very simple and something anyone can do. Files of varying sizes, small and large, are transferred to the memory cards and the time taken is recorded. Time measurements are taken using a stopwatch. The stopwatch is started as soon as the Windows file transfer window appears and stopped after it closes. After an individual file is tested, it is then deleted before the next file, and the preceding steps are taken again until testing is complete. Average transfer speeds are then calculated by dividing the real file size by the recorded transfer time. Lower transfer times and higher speeds are better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom File Transfers:

 

 

 

 

What can I say here? This card, at minimum, is over 2.5 times as fast as every comparison card in real-world use. This is one of the first SD cards I've seen that can be written to faster than an external 7200 RPM HDD. Awesome!

Conclusion:

Some of you might have seen this nifty little card at Computex and now it’s nearly ready to ship to your house. The price isn’t quite as bad as I was expecting for the performance. The question always comes: it is super-fast; but at what cost? When it comes down to such a simple piece of hardware and the ability to get slower cards for less – price does become a big factor. I wouldn’t pay a hundred some odd dollars for the exceptional speed but I might be willing to pay a little more for the performance – the balance here comes to the individual. The $69.99 price tag, to me, actually doesn’t seem that bad; for the performance it’s a pretty good deal. If you’ve got the camera to take high resolution, high quality video, you want this. However, it is somewhat a one of a kind item on the market right now; so I would guess if you can wait – you can probably find some competitors to let you get it for less if you're patient.

Overall I am very impressed with the card. It has lots of room for pictures, plenty of room for video – and it is to be released in 128GB capacity as well – it’s nearly a mini-SSD for your inner photographer/filmographer. I would normally be a bit miffed that the card didn't reach its full rated specs of 90MB/s read and 50MB/s write, but it is entirely possible that the card reader I'm using can't exceed the speeds I saw in the benchmarks. Until I have another card to test with I have to assume that this card can go even faster! It will be interesting to see what will come out next. I know Delkin, Kingston, and SanDisk have all released UHS-I version cards in the past – but will there become a war for who can go the fastest? Maybe not… for now Patriot takes the lead with theoretical speeds on the EP Pro.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: