To say that CFExpress Type B cards have not redefined digital media over the past two years would be an understatement. Many people like to move large photo and video files from the card to the PC for work in much less time than in the past, but more importantly, the in-camera capabilities of the CFExpress B card are impressive. They allow us to get photos that were simply not available before. They took amateur photographers like me to the next step and...well...the results were clear.
The phenomenon started two years ago with the release of Canon's EOS R5 mirrorless camera, with countless photo and video enthusiasts giving up the R5 they had to get. It sold out immediately worldwide and angered many because Canon couldn't keep up with demand for over a year. It all comes down to the fact that the R5 takes the CFExpress Type B card it deserves, enabling faster in-camera data transfer and opening up digital media for higher photo frame rates and video.
On the bench today, we have Acer's newest CFExpress Type B memory card, the CFE100, and our sample is 512GB in size. The 1600MB/s read and 1200MB/s write specs and 8K markings are printed on the front of the card, leading us to believe this card is capable of 8K recording. This means it has good sustained write performance, although this doesn't seem to be indicated anywhere. Designed and manufactured by BIWIN Technologies for Acer, this card is also listed as backward compatible with XQD, anti-static, X-ray, magnetic and UV resistant.
The Acer CFE100 will be available in 128, 256 and 512GB capacities with MSRPs of $130, $270 and $460, however, we have yet to see availability. Check Amazon for release updates . What we're sure about is whether this card can achieve sustained write results of at least 400 MB/s for higher video recording capabilities; this is of course the new VPG400 standard set by the SD Association.
TSSDR Test Bench and Protocol
TSSDR's CFExpress card tests vary slightly depending on whether we're looking at consumer or enterprise storage media. For our Acer CFE100 Type B card test today, we aimed to test in a system that has been optimized using our SSD optimization guide .
For this test bench, CPU C-States, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST), and Intel Speedshift (P-States) have not been disabled. As you'll see below, the system also hits 5.1GHz in its XMP 2 profile, with memory running at full speed.
The components of this test bench are detailed below. All hardware is linked to purchases and product sales with a single click of a single item.
Intel Z690 PCIE 5.0 Components
Corsair 5000X RGB White Tempered Glass Case
ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming PG Velocita Gen 5
Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K
Corsair Hydro Series H150i Capellix White
Corsair RM850x 80Plus White
ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity White
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 64GB
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Gen 4 4TB NVMe SSD
Corsair K70 RGB Mk. 2 SE White Gaming
Corsair M65 RGB Elite FPS Gaming
Samsung 34" 1440p WQHD Ultra Wide Gaming
The software analyzed today is typical of many of our reviews, including Crystal Disk Info, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, Anvil's Storage Utilities, AJA, TxBench, and Sustained Disk Transfer, Temperature, and True Data Transfer Rate tests. The software we have chosen allows each to build on the last and provide validation for the results already obtained.
For our testing today, we'll be relying on the PCIe 3.0 x4 CFExpress reader shown here that Lexar created for us some time ago. As confirmation, we always test with multiple readers we have on hand, as well as ThunderBolt 3 and newer USB 3.2 2×2 specs. There should be no difference between these devices, as CFExpress top speeds are well below the threshold for all readers (and our AIC Gen 3 reader), whether they're Thunderbolt 3/4 or USB 3.2 2x2 with a threshold of 2.8GB/s , the maximum speed is 2GB/s.
Additionally, Acer has provided a compatibility list of the cameras they've tested so far.
Crystal disk information version. 8.11.2 X64
Crystal Disk Info is an excellent tool for displaying storage device characteristics and health. It shows everything, including the temperature, the number of hours the device has been powered on, and even notifies you of the device's firmware.
When publishing this Crystal DiskInfo result, our practice was to determine the highest recorded temperature achieved in our test scenario. Compared to other temperatures we've tested, 60°C is actually a decent temperature.
ATTO disk baseline version. 4.01
The ATTO disk benchmark is probably one of the oldest benchmarks out there, and is definitely a staple of manufacturers' performance specs. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data, for our benchmark we use a set length of 256mb and test read and write performance for various transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this test method because it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (including incompressible data), which, while more realistic, leads to lower performance results.
Benchmark version of the wafer. 8. 0.1X64
Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance by sampling random data, which is incompressible in most cases. The performance is effectively the same regardless of the data sample, so we only include performance using random data samples.
Anvil Storage Utility Professional
Anvil's Storage Utility (ASU) is the most complete testing platform available for solid state drives today. The benchmark not only shows throughput, but also test results for IOPS and disk access time. Not only does it have preset SSD benchmarks, but it also includes things like endurance tests and threaded I/O read, write, and mix tests, all of which are very easy to understand and use in our benchmarks.
AJA Video System Disk Test
Relatively new to our test, the AJA Video Systems Disk Test tests the transfer speed of video files of different resolutions and codecs.
TxBench is one of our newly discovered benchmarks, and we work very similarly to Crystal Diskmark, but with several other features. Advanced load benchmarking can be configured, as well as complete drive information and data erasure via Secure Erase, Enhanced Secure Erase, TRIM, and Overwrite. Just click on the title to get a free copy.
Temperature, continuous write and real data testing
With the introduction of CFexpress as a mainstream storage medium, two very important characteristics are temperature and sustained write speed. We measured the temperature by monitoring and updating the Crystal DiskInfo Benchmark while performing a large 85GB 8K file transfer. This is the extreme case that might be seen in this environment.
An important aspect to keep in mind is that the temperature results we obtained were extreme. They were the hottest cards we got during the tests we constantly monitor. It does not represent the median or typical temperature one might expect, which is around 30°C. Having said that, the results we got from the Acer CFE100 512GB CFExpress Type B memory card at 60°C are just behind the top cards on the market, which is excellent.
Sustained write performance
We determined sustained write performance by transferring an 85GB 8K media folder from a PC to a CFexpress Type B card. This test is critical for those looking for digital storage for high-end 4K and 8K video recordings.
While sustained write performance isn't what we've seen in high-end competitor cards, it's well above the VPG400's minimum 400MB/s speed rating. This card shouldn't have any difficulty getting recordings at the 8K DCI level.
Real World File Transfer Comparison
For a real-world file transfer comparison of the world's top CFexpress Type B cards, we've included all the cards we've received so far. This test was conducted by transferring data from one point on the test drive to another in order to give us the most realistic transfer speed results for this device.
This poor data transfer speed was unexpected, although we did wonder if the low ATTO 512KB data transfer result could provide that.
Report Analysis and Final Thoughts
When testing our sample copy of the Acer CFE100 512GB CFExpress Type B memory card, we found it to be fairly close to its listed specs. What's more, its sustained performance of 595MB/s at 60°C is encouraging. This card will ensure that your digital camera works properly, and since it offers higher data transfer speeds within the device, your ability to be behind the camera is significantly improved. A direct relationship in my photography is that faster data transfers mean that buffers are never filled at the most inopportune moment, and higher FPS finds those shots you might have missed before.
The only thing we need to bring up is that this card has relatively low data transfer speeds outside of the camera. This can mean a difference of a few seconds when you transfer data from the card to the PC via the card reader, nothing more. Again, this is only the case when using a 20Gbps (2GB/s) CFExpress B reader to move data at maximum speed.
The Acer CFE100 can be priced competitively and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. This would be a great addition to digital gear, but if you're going into 8K, I'd probably recommend a higher capacity.