📅 October 7, 2015
Based 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.
“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 adapter 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.
I think the 57 MB/s benchmark result from CrystalDiskMark was a freak result. 42 MB/s was more consistent for reads.
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.
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?”
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%).
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.
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.
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.