The Silicon Power 128GB MicroSD Card, Linux, and the PSP

๐Ÿ“… October 7, 2015
128g-01Based upon the excellent results I have had with the Silicon Power S60 120GB SSD (Solid State Drive), I was expecting identical results with the Silicon Power 128GB Micro SD card. The S60 SSD and the A80 external hard drive both continue to perform well as advertised, so I had high hopes for another product from Silicon Power.

For me, the 128GB micro SD card was a disappointment.


Silicon Power produces a 128GB Class 10 Micro SDXC card for use in cameras, tablets, and other devices that can benefit from a large storage capacity in a tiny package.


Silicon Power 128GB MicroSD package includes the card and an SD adapter.


Back of the package.

“Will this card work with Linux?”

Yes. In fact, I had better results using this card with Linux (Disks and GParted) than with Windows 7, which insisted upon NTFS or exFAT.

The card works. So, what went wrong?


As seen in the picture, the package boldly boasts a read speed of up to 75 MB/s. I benchmarked this card using the Plugable USB 3.0 adapterย and tested in different computers using Linux Mint 17.2 (Disks benchmark) and Windows 7 (CrystalDiskMark). Try as I might, I could never reach the advertised claim.

Real-world read speeds always hovered around 42-57 MB/s, and write speeds were a dismal 10 MB/s. Always.


CrystalDiskMark in Windows 7 (64-bit) consistently reported about 57 MB/s for reads and about 10 MB/s for writes. Always. Never did the Silicon Power 128GB card reach the “up to” 75 MB/s read speeds.


By comparison, here is the result of the Samsung EVO 64GB MicroSD card. Reads might not be as fast, but write speeds were about twice as fast. (These benchmarks are from an older version 3.0.3.)

I think the 57 MB/s benchmark result from CrystalDiskMark was a freak result. 42 MB/s was more consistent for reads.


FAT32 performance with Linux Mint 17.2 was much worse. Here, the Silicon Power 128GB card is connected to a Linux computer using the USB 3.0 Plugable adapter connected to a USB 3.0 port on the motherboard. The Silicon Power 128GB card never exceeded 42 MB/s reads, and writes were a measly 4.7 MB/s or lower. This was consistent no matter the sample size.


Update December 28, 2015: Having used the Silicon Power 128G micro SD card frequently for quite some time, I can report that the low read/write numbers are consistent. Shown here is a recent re-test using the Disks benchmark in Linux Mint 17.3. The miscrosd was connected to a USB 3.0 port using a USB 3.0 adapter. Both this test and Nemo report a write speed of 4.4 MB/s. This is atrocious compared to the Samsung EVO result below.


Update for December 28, 2015: Here is the Disks benchmark result for the Samsung EVO 64G micro SD card. While the Samsung reads might not be as high as the Silicon Power, the writes are practically double that of the Silicon Power. For everyday reading usage, the Silicon Power is okay, but writing is tedious. With a 128G capacity, a 4.4 MB/s write takes a looooooooooooooooooong time. Twice as long as the Samsung EVO.



GParted will format the card to FAT32, but usable space is 117GB, not 128GB, due to formatting overhead.



Windows 7 also reports a formatted capacity of 116GB. Note that Linux (or a third-party tool) is required in order to format as FAT32 since the built-in Windows format tool limits the option to exFAT or NTFS.



Thinking that the filesystem might make a difference upon speed, I formatted the Silicon Power 128GB card to ext4. However, the Disks benchmark result was slightly worse than FAT32. Apparently, the chosen filesystem matters little in the card’s performance.

I purchased this card based upon glowing reviews praising its superior speeds, but I had no such success. For me, this card was no better than the Samsung 64GB Class 10 MicroSD card that offered 42 MB/s reads and 22 MB/s writes — twice as fast writing as the Silicon Power card.
Disks and CrystalDiskMark produced very different results on average. Both systems used the same CPU and had the same hardware specifications.
Disks (Linux Mint 17.2 64-bit)

41.6 MB/s read
 4.7 MB/s write

CrystalDiskMark (Windows 7 64-bit)

57.6 MB/s read
10.7 MB/s write


The card come preformatted with exFAT, one of the most problematic and least compatible filesystems in existence for my uses. The first thing I did was format it to ext4 and then FAT32 for benchmarking and greater compatibility.

PlayStation Portable

Given the past success of using multiple MicroSD cards with the PlayStation Portable (PSP), I thought, “Why not combine the Silicon Power 128 GB card with one Samsung EVO 64GB card for 192GB of storage space?”


The dual slot adapter accepts two MicroSD cards and combines them into a single Memory Stick Pro Duo card. Here, we see the Silicon Power 128GB card (1) and the Samsung EVO 64GB card (2). Even though two 64GB cards run well in a PlayStation Portable, this arrangement caused nothing but problems.

Sounds simple, right? In practice, it is an error-prone, unreliable experience. Most often, formatting the dual-card arrangement from the PSP system menu would fail.

Attempting to mount the PSP with a computer for file transfer was impossible since the computer would refuse the mount due to an input/output error. Also, the computer would only recognize 142GB of space, not 175GB (192GB – ~7%).


After I formatted the 192GB dual MS card in the PSP, I tried to open it in Linux. This dialog appeared.


Various format ideas produced the same error dialog.

To be fair, I think this is a limitation of the PSP, not a problem with the Silicon Power card. The PSP does not seem to work with capacities greater than 128GB. When the 128GB Silicon Power card was used alone with the PSP, the PSP formatted it normally and files transferred between the computer reliably. No problems there.


Here, the Silicon Power 128GB card is used alone in the PSP. The PSP formatted it properly, and performance was the same as with a dual 64GB MS card.

The single 128GB card formats to 116GB on the PSP and works as normal, but combining it with a 64GB card does not work.

Determined not to give up, I tried formatting the 192GB dual-card arrangement with Linux Mint 17.2. It took time, but the Linux Mint 17.2 Disks utility finally formatted the 192GB card combination as FAT32. Here are the steps I used:

  • Must format in Linux.
  • Put dual MS in PSP and connect PSP to computer via USB cable.
  • PSP will not format to full 175GB but Linux (Disks) will.
  • Format as FAT. PSP can now use the 175GB dual MS.
  • Manually create directories and files from a good PSP memory stick. Since PSP did not format the dual MS, the default directories do not exist.

Yes, the entire process is a hassle, but it does work.


At last! The PSP recognizes 175GB of usable space afte rmuch hassle, but it is slow and unreliable.

The PSP finally recognized the card, but only 175GB of free space was available. This is normal. 128GB + 64GB = 192GB, but we must subtract about 7% for OS formatting reasons. The PSP correctly reported 175GB of free space, which is close to the expected amount.
However, the 192GB dual card in the PSP was so slow that it made using the PSP an onerous chore. Switching menus took minutes. Want to find a music file to play? Wait at least 30 seconds. Playback for music, videos, and pictures was satisfactory without skipping, but the PSP card LED blinked nonstop while the PSP GUI froze. Even the 192GB card was finally working with the PSP, it simply took too long to do anything. Press a button. Freeze and wait. Press a button. Freeze and wait.

Again, this is probably a limitation of the PSP in not being able to recognize cards above 128GB and not a problem with the Silicon Power MicroSD card. This is worth mentioning because if you purchase two 128GB MicroSD cards with the intention of combining them into a single 256GB Memory Stick Pro Duo, then you will probably be disappointed by the slow loading times and formatting issues.

Another unexplained idiosyncrasy was that Linux showed the PSP formatted as 189GB, but GParted showed it formatted as 175.58GB.


The Silicon Power 128GB MicroSD card might have let me down with its poor read and write speeds that drastically failed to meet the advertised expectations, but it does work. Besides the PSP problems, which are most likely problems with the PSP itself and not the card, the SP 128GB card works fine in cameras and other devices that require it. I have experienced no read or write problems so far.

Given the price at the moment, it seems on par with other 128GB MicroSD cards, but if I were to purchase another knowing what I know now, I would choose SanDisk or Samsung instead.



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