Today Compact Flash memory cards are still common in the professional field and high-end DSLR cameras, however SD cards have been eating little ground in recent years, specifically high-capacity SDXC. Despite everything, the Compact Flash alliance has been developing more modern technology for some time.
What is a CFast memory card?
A card CFast is a new type of memory card, the natural evolution of Compact Flash cards. In fact, its development is intended to replace the
old Compact Flash, which arrived back in 1995.
The evolution between Compact Flash and CFast is similar to the interface change from old IDE hard drives to SATA. In fact, Compact Flash cards use the old IDE connection interface, although some high-end CF card models use the UDMA interface., something faster and more modern.
CFast cards are based, like other memory cards, on the solid state NAND memoryand use a data interface SATA in front of the ATA interface of Compact Flash cards. CFast comply with the SATA-IO specifications, but physically use a different connector and shape defined by the Compact Flash Alliance.
Thanks to this evolution, CFast memory cards can offer significantly higher data transfer speeds than Compact Flash. The theoretical speed of a CFast is approximately 375MB/secwhile the Compact Flash theoretically go up to 90MB/sec in the highest ranges.
CFast cards are still in full development. The latest spec is version 5, and new to this revision is 48-bit memory addressing to lift the previous 137GB capacity limit to a theoretical maximum capacity of no more and no less than 144 Petabytes (144,000 times the size of a 1TB hard drive).
The most common CFast cards range from 64 to 512 GB.
CFast cards are the same length and width as a Compact Flash card, however they are 0.3mm thicker.
The dimensions of the CFast are:
- Length: 36.4mm
- Width: 42.8mm
- Thickness: 3.6mm
In the way CFast memory cards differ, we have the VPG Profile 3 specification. This certificate assures us of a guaranteed continuous recording speed of video streams of up to 130 MB/s. With these figures we will be able to record professional video with high resolution and bitrate without problems.
SanDisk CFast cards are capable of reading speeds of up to 525 MB/s and writing speeds of up to 450 MB/s. They are currently compatible with video cameras such as the Canon C300 Mk II, C700, XC10 1D X mk II and C200. They are also good cards for recording professional video with Blackmagic cameras, such as the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K, URSA Mini 4.6K, URSA Mini 4K, and URSA.
They are currently available in 64, 128, 256, and 512 GB.
Lexar has two types of CFast cards in its catalog: the 3600x and the 3500x.
The Lexar 3600x CFast Memory Card is specifically optimized for shooting video with ARRI cameras. These cards have a heat sink to dissipate the temperature generated during continuous recording. In addition, they include firmware optimized to handle the very large video file formats generated by ARRI professional video cameras. The 3600x models are also compatible with other cameras, such as the Blackmagic URSA, URSA Mini and URSA Mini Pro. The CFast Lexar 3600x was made in 128 GB and 256 GB.
The CFast 3500x is capable of read speeds of up to 525MB/s and write speeds of up to 445MB/s, while the 3600x is capable of read speeds of 540MB/s and write speeds of up to 445MB/s. The 3500x is also VPG-130 certified, while the 3600x is not.