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SanDisk reveals pro-spec SSD ecosystem, plus a record-breaking SD card

SanDisk Professional PRO-BLADE™ Modular SSD Ecosystem
(Image credit: WD)

Western Digital has launched a new storage system aimed at professional photographers and videographers with demanding workflows. The SanDisk Professional PRO-BLADE™ Modular SSD Ecosystem uses NVMe portable SSD ‘mags’ which can be connected to a camera or computer via a portable enclosure, or a multi-drive desktop enclosure. The resulting set-up is designed to give super-fast and ultra-reliable data transfer with the convenience of being able to easily swap between SSD mags.

Read more:
The best portable SSDs
The best internal SSDs
The best memory cards for your camera

(Image credit: WD)

At the heart of the PRO-BLADE system is the aforementioned PRO-BLADE SSD Mag. At first glance this takes a similar form to a conventional NVMe-based portable SSD, though the PRO-BLADE mag isn’t designed to be used as a standalone storage device – it must be paired with one of the accompanying PRO-BLADE enclosures. Each SSD mag can withstand a 3-meter drop and has 4000lb crush resistance and is available in 1TB ($179.99), 2TB ($289.99) and 4TB ($599.99) capacity options. Expect availability in June 2022.

(Image credit: WD)

If you want to use your PRO-BLADE SSD Mags on the go, you’ll need to team them with a PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT portable SSD enclosure. This allows a single SSD mag to slot in and connect to a USB-C compatible camera or computer. The PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT enables you to swap between SSD mags so multiple drives can be carried with the minimum of weight and bulk. The PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT can be purchased as a bare enclosure for $69.99. Alternatively, it can be had complete with a 1TB SSD mag for $239.99, 2TB for $359.99 or 4TB for $659.99. Shipping is due to commence in June.

(Image credit: WD)

But to really unleash the full power of the PRO-BLADE system, you’d need the PRO-BLADE STATION desktop SSD enclosure. Where the PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT makes do with a 20Gbps USB-C connection, the PRO-BLADE STATION gets a full-on 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 link. Combine that with the four SSD mag slots and there’s the potential to simultaneously transfer 4K, 8K or even 12K footage in real time and make super-fast copies. Of course, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got one seriously fast internal SSD in your computer to ensure the PRO-BLADE’s speed isn’t bottlenecked. Pricing of the PRO-BLADE STATION desktop SSD enclosure has yet to be revealed, with availability scheduled for late 2022.

(Image credit: WD)

In addition the launch of the PRO-BLADE system, Western Digital also announced the world’s fastest SD card, but don’t get too excited. This is the world’s fastest UHS-I SD card, meaning it’s still some way short of the speed you could get simply by buying a UHS-II card instead (UHS-I vs. UHS-II explained). But for cameras which only support UHS-I SD cards, the new 200MB/s SanDisk Extreme PRO cards are sure to be very appealing, offering an appreciable speed boost over the previous generation of 170MB/s Extreme PRO cards.

Availability is slated for June 2022, and the cards will come in capacities ranging from 64GB ($18.79) up to 1TB ($279.99).

All PRO-BLADE products will be available to buy soon from B&H

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Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.