Integral Memory’s new 512GB microSD card is the biggest microSD card yet

There’s a new king of the microSD card: Integral Memory’s 512GB microSD card, which packs a record breaking full half-terabyte of storage into the diminutive card format. You definitely should try not to lose it.

The previous record holder — SanDisk’s now paltry 400GB card — is still a bit faster at 100MB/s, whereas Integral Memory’s new 512GB behemoth tops out at a maximum speed of 80MB/s. The new 512GB microSD card is also classified as an SDXC UHS-I U1 card (i.e., it has a minimum write speed of 10MB/s) and meets the V10 standard for video transfer rates, so it’s designed to capture full HD video off cameras.

No price was given, but it’s almost guaranteed to be expensive when in launches sometime in February.

Comments

As a Nintendo Switch owner, I’m excited and depressed by this news. Excited because this will inevitable lead to lower prices for microSD cards all around. I’m also sad at the severity of how these are required for many games (LA Noir, Doom & 2K come to mind) because Nintendo currently does have a cartridge to give developers to ship these games on, so they count on the user having a large enough SD card to download a 40 gb+ file. To me this is the biggest concern about the Switch going forward, but that being said, it doesn’t seem like an impossible thing for Nintendo to overcome.

The Switch at least has cartridges that can hold the entire game for most of their catalog, so memory concerns aren’t as severe as they could be on a disc based system that requires games to be installed before running. Multi GB day one patches are entirely at fault with the developer for not doing their job porting the game properly, with very few exceptions (Doom is an excellent port and still needs much less downloadable game content than LA Noir regardless) and it’s definitely not an inherent design flaw of the platform. I have a Switch with multiple games that I’ve bought and don’t even have and SD card in the slot because the only eShop only titles I’ve bought are less than 1GB and they fit snugly in the internal memory with space to spare.

As much as I love having everything downloaded these days, the Switch has been an exception for me. It’s in an awkward position for memory as a console trying to be portable. I chose to revert back to physical games from being all digital with my new3DS. My rule of thumb is buy the blockbuster single player games in physical form, then the multiplayer and small games that aren’t physical in digital form. Physical games are cheaper and shareable. They can be traded in as well. Seeing how the memory management is designed for the Switch, you can swap SD Cards around if you want to be all digital. They don’t cost much if you keep an eye on the prices.

I have the same issue with the 3DS. Many of my big games are on cartridge, while others are installed on a 32GB SAD card.

Physical media is dying. Do people still buy music and movies on disc? Why should they with games?

Most of my PS4 games are downloaded onto the hard drive. It’s pointless to buy games on disc when you have to install them to the console anyways.

For me…

Music: 95% downloads (I buy the odd CD, maybe one a year… but never stream)
Movies: 75% Blu-Ray (I prefer owning a physical collection, and better quality)
Games: 100% physical (again I prefer owning, but the main reason is trading in)

I buy both physical still as the value propositions generally not there for digital. In cases where I save a fair bit I’ll go digital but 3/4 of what I want is the same price or cheaper for the physical copy since retailers seem to compete harder for peoples wallet.

For games I’m largely digital for my Xbox but I’ve gone physical for big games on the Switch. Frankly I’m not at a point yet where I’m confident in Nintendo maintaining any online infrastructure for the long term and I’d like to be able to play my games in 10+ years time if only for nostalga purposes. We’ve seen the Wii shop close and the fact that Nintendo isn’t strong on backwards compatability, and even where titles appear across multiple virtual consoles customers get asked to repurchase the game.

I may re-asses that in the future but for the long haul I don’t think Nintendo has a proven track record for maintaining online infrastructure and their release and sales policies are ones that don’t necessarily support customers who have brought titles in the past as they move to newer hardware. I feel a tad more comfortable with MS in this regard, particullarly following their investment in BC titles for the Xbox One which I think is forward thinking.

Movies and music don’t have nearly as much DRM or platform restrictions. If I want to play my music on my phone, or host it on my home server, I can. If iTunes shut down tomorrow I would still have all of the music I’ve bought over the years. If Nintendo shut down tomorrow, I’d have no access to any of my digital games unless they happen to be currently installed on the very limited system memory. More realistically, if I want to play a game 20 years from now, I don’t want to have to rely on Nintendo to have some Switch content servers running in a closet somewhere. Nintendo has a terrible track record for anything internet related.

I do buy digital games, lots of them in fact, but there are good reasons to keep buying physical games that don’t apply to physical copies of movies and music (or at least not to the same extent).

Physical media is dying. Do people still buy music and movies on disc? Why should they with games?

What? There is a HUGE difference with music/movies and games.

A piece of music or a movie can be streamed. You don’t need to have it ON your device, just a portion of it, that is, the portion being played right now as well as a tiny bit of the piece you want to see/hear a short time from now.

With a game, you don’t know where the player will go and what assets are needed, so need to have much more data, and thus you cannot stream a game the same way as with a movie. Because of this you need to download the game, at least a big chunk of it. And guess what! Now we have even bigger memory media to download the games to.

So this isn’t some kind of physical media vs digital downloads dichotomy. The technology here can be used in both cases, either in preloaded cartridges (à la Nintendo Switch/3DS etc) or as media for storing your digital downloads. Physical media is NOT dying. Pre-loaded physical media might be in a decline, but that just opens up the need for empty physical media, either in your local device (for example for games) or with your cloud service provider (for example with music/movies). No matter how you swing it, you need to store the data somewhere, and the need for data storage is just getting bigger and bigger each day.

Also remember that broadband penetration isn’t 100% and in many regions the service is rather poor still, so I can understand that buying a physical media with the game already on it is preferable to buying to trying to download a huge game over a capped service with poor speed. And there is off course the part with the resale or lending to friends, so pre-loaded physical media have a market for quite some time.

Don’t get me wrong, digital downloads are great, but not all the time.

So how’s that working with PC games? PC games don’t release on disc anymore, it’s all through Steam. No one complains about that.

I wish Sony and Microsoft had gone with partial installs rather than that full. There must be tens of gigabytes of cinematics on my hard drive that gain no advantage from increased loading speed.

2K could have fit on a cartridge. Apparently the game was around 23GB so it’s not a case of cartridges being unavailable but the publisher being cheap and not going for the larger capacity media. See http://nintendoeverything.com/nba-2k18-switch-file-size/

Same applied for La Noir which was 29GB but they opted not to use a 32GB cartridge – http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-11-02-la-noires-switch-physical-edition-requires-14gb-download-to-play

Dooms apparently around 22GB (13.4 base game, 9GB for multiplayer) so again well within the 32GB cartridge limit – http://nintendotoday.com/doom-switch-file-size-revealed/

Basically for now cartidge sizes is not the issue, although the cost of those cartridges may be. I doubt the costs are made public to assess that fully and even if they were they could potentially vary based on volume. As it stands theres a trend of developers not opting for media that could otherwise fit a game so even if the 64GB cartridges were available, there’s no guarantee publishers are going to use them.

Cost of cartridges is definitely the issue. Multiple devs have said thanks the reason games cost more on switch. Just comparing LA Noire to PS4/XB1 the cost difference was substantial at launch. If they’d gone for a larger cartridge it likely would have been worse.

I’ve had a 512GB microSD for ages. This isnt correct. Did anyone inthe newsroom fact check the press release?

Make? Model? Price? Any details on the card at all? Or we should just take your word for it "just because"?

No you haven’t. If you’re not a mild troll, you’ve been scammed mate. It’ll be a smaller card (maybe a 64GB at best) hacked to show up as 512GB but when you get to the real limit it’ll just wrap around and write over the stuff at the beginning.

Even if Nintendo is forcing us to download memory heavy games I don’t see how you should be depressed by this one bit. The only reason Nintendo has delayed the 64gb cartridges is because of low silicon supply currently.

If only all Android phones allowed you to move apps to the SD card. Otherwise this is useless for Android users.

Some apps let you, its up to the app developer. Check in settings → applications → application manager → move to sd card, if its grayed out you can’t, sometimes you can though!

And, if you really want to use the MicroSD for apps, most phones support Adoptable Storage (although some require an ADB command to enable it; like Samsung Galaxy phones). This "swaps" the user data storage folder (internal) and the user apps folder (MicroSD) around. A side effect of this, though, is that you can’t remove the SD card from the phone and use it in anything else (so no removing the card, sticking it in a reader on a computer, and copying stuff to/from it). But, it makes using the SD card for apps seamless.

Is there some more background available on this? Sorry for being skeptical, but the 512GB microSD has been a bit elusive in the past. Microdia announced one back in June 2015, to be released one month later. That is over two years ago, their card still is not available, but Microdia sure got some media attention back then.

512GB sound a lot more feasible today, with 400GB already being available. Nevertheless it is a bit surprising to get such an announcement from someone other than the biggest brands, like SanDisk, Samsung, etc. How does Integral Memory compare to them? Do they actually manufacture these cards themselves (and if not, who does)?

Integral Memory seems to be just a reseller from UK. The Businesswire article announcing the 512GB card also mentions that they get their supplies from Toshiba, Samsung and Hynix. So most likely this card would also come from one of those.

Hmm, yeah. In that case I guess we can expect a similar announcement from one of the big ones anytime now as well.

Follow-up to myself – February has passed, no 512GB microSD is available anywhere. Looks like another case of vaporware to gain publicity. I will wait for Sandisk.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑