SD Express: The Next Chapter of Industrial Memory Cards?

In June 2018, the SD Association, which establishes SD memory card standards, published a specification for SD Express memory cards for the first time. This allows the cards to transfer data at a rate of nearly four gigabytes per second, thanks, in part, to the use of PCIe 4.0 and NVMe interfaces commonly found in solid state drives. That faster transfer rate might be essential as emerging technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and decentralized edge-centric models, become widely deployed.

With the introduction of a new, emerging SD card variant, it appears that a competitive battle between the established standard and its successor is on the horizon. The goal of this white paper is to provide an objective comparison of the two competing SD representatives and to serve as a possible decision support.


  • A brief history of SD memory cards
  • PCIe eats the world
  • What is SD Express?
  • Use cases
  • SD Express technical specifications
  • Design-in considerations