by Lyle Smith

SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Card Review

The SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Card is designed specifically for professional videographers and photographers as it is optimized for professional-grade video capture, boasting transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s as well as quoting minimum sustained write speeds of 20MB/s to ensure smooth recording; it also has a slight speed advantage when formatted in exFAT mode, though this might have some compatibility issues with certain cameras. The SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Card's specifications ensure that it is fast enough to keep up with advanced UDMA-6 enabled DSLRs to satisfy enthusiasts who need high quality video and image capture.

The SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Card Capacities go all the way up to 64GB (as well as 16GB, 32GB, 64GB) to accommodate a good number hours of video and thousands of high-res images. In addition, it is designed with added protection in mind with its extreme temperatures resistance and shock protection.

Our review is of the 64GB unit, which goes for a street price of approximately $300 USD. All Extreme PRO models ship with a limited life-time warranty.

Specifications

  • Capacities:
    • DCFXP-016G-A91 SanDisk Extreme Pro, CompactFlash, 90MB/s, 16GB, RTL, AM
    • SDCFXP-032G-A91 SanDisk Extreme Pro, CompactFlash, 90MB/s, 32GB, RTL, AM
    • SDCFXP-064G-A91 SanDisk Extreme Pro, CompactFlash, 90MB/s, 64GB, RTL, AM
  • Read & write performance: 
    • Up to 90MB/sec write speed; read speed lower.
    • (600x) for serious performance gains.
  • Capacities: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB** give you more room to capture RAW+JPEG, sequential bursts and high-definition video
  • UDMA: UDMA-6 enabled (works in all UDMA modes)
  • Power Core Controller & Enhanced Super-Parallel Processing Technology (ESP): Was invented by SanDisk to increase the card’s performance level.
  • Temperature: Tested to perform from -25°C to 85°C (-13°F to 185°F)
  • Specification: Meets CFA Specification Type I Card
  • Durability: Tested for shock. RTV silicone coating for added protection against moisture and humidity
  • Warranty: Backed by rigorous stress-testing procedures and our limited lifetime warranty† (30 years in certain countries)

Design and Build

Looking at the Extreme Pro card itself, we see the shiny gold label indicating that it is the Extreme Pro edition. Displayed below the SanDisk branding is the 90MB/s, which is the maximum transfer speed. SanDisk has boldly displayed the capacity on the lower right where we see the 64GB listed in big, red font. Other specific identifiers on the card include the UDMA7 designation as well as the cut scene logo with the number 20, which simply means the Extreme Pro is capable of 20MB/s sustained write.

Underneath, on the back side of the card, SanDisk has its usual label sticker, allowing users to write a description of what is currently recorded on the card. The Extreme Pro Compact Flash memory cards are categorized  as Type, which carries a 3.3mm thickness (where as Type II is 5mm). You can also see the Type I 50 Pin interface used on the Extreme Pro.

Performance

In this review, we include the following comparables from our database of memory card reviews:

Using our Consumer Testing Platform, we measured transfer speeds from the new SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB with IOMeter. Sequential read and write speeds measured 88.7MB/s and 83.3MB/s respectively. These results were noticeably higher, as expected, when compared its UDMA 6 32GB brethren, which posted read and write speeds of 57.9MB/s and 68.2MB/s respectively. The Komputerbay CF 1000x 64GB hit sequential speeds speeds at 121.3MB/s read and 101.6MB/s write, well above both SanDisk units.

Switching to random large-block transfers, we measured 77.4MB/s read and 3.7MB/s write for the 64GB Extreme Pro, while the 32GB model had read and write speeds of 53.5MB/s and 3.9MB/s respectively. We measured 124.2MB/s read and 52.8MB/s write for the Komputerbay card.

The SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB was expected to outperform the 32GB UDMA 6, but fell well short of the 1000x KomputerBay CompactFlash. 

Conclusion

The SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB CompactFlash Memory Cards designed to keep up with advanced UDMA-6 enabled DSLRs that SanDisk quotes minimum performance figures of 90MB/s for sequential write and a bit lower for sequential reads. The SanDisk CF cards are offered in range of capacities including 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. However, this performance comes at a hefty price point, with the 64GB model going for $300.00 USD. As a comparison, the KomputerBay 64GB card goes for less than half that at $134.99 USD and boasts better performance numbers. 

In terms of tested performance, the SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB posted results just the quoted figures of 90MB/s write. In our testbed, the memory card showed 88.7MB/sMB/s for sequential reads and 83.5MB/s for sequential writes, beating out its UDMA 6 32GB brethren.  All in all, the performance of the 64GB Extreme Pro CF might not be enough to some consumers looking to get consistent speeds for rich 4K and HD video; however, it will function well enough for high-end cameras with its decent throughput, as well as a slightly increased chance that your RAW data will be safer compared to other cards of its class.  If you fall in this category, it might just be well worth your while to purchase this SanDisk card.

Pros

  • Decent performance
  • Great warranty
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Pricey

Bottom Line

The SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Cards are expensive but if you're willing to look past the price, they're definitely worth it when considering the total package of performance, reliability and warranty support. 

SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash at Amazon

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