PNY 128G MicroSD vs. Patriot 128G MicroSD

bothcardsPNY or Patriot? PNY or Patriot?

With 128G MicroSD cards falling to near-identical prices, the choice becomes more about performance than cost.

The PNY 128G High Performance MicroSD card and the Patriot 128G LX Series MicroSD card were exactly the same price, so which one offers better read and write speeds? Do they live up to the promises made on the packaging? Are they compatible with Linux? With they work with the Kingston MicroSD reader?

Both cards are MicroSDXC Class 10 cards capable of high speeds when connected via USB 3. I tested them using the Plugable USB 3 adapter connected directly to a mother board running Windows 7 (for CyrstalDiskMark tests) and to Linux Mint 17.3 (for formatting to FAT32 and Linux compatibility tests).


Shown here is the PNY High Performance 128G MicroSD, the Patriot LX Series 128G MicroSD, and the Kingston USB 2 MicroSD Reader.

Kingston USB MicroSD Reader

This is an adapter that allows you to plug a MicroSD card into it, and then plug the adapter into a USB port in order to read the MicroSD card.


This handy device transforms a spare MicroSD card into a USB 2 stick. Works perfectly with 128G and 64G MicroSD cards.


Out of the box. The string is for a keychain, but the knot near the adapter makes for a tight fit with a MicroSD card.

This is a USB 2 device, not USB 3, so its speeds will be limited to USB 2 whether it is plugged into a USB 2 or a USB 3 port.

Even though the reader includes a nylon string for attachment to a keychain, I removed it since the tiny knot tends to make a snug installation more difficult, and I have seen pictures of the Kingston reader breaking apart at that point.


Kingston reader compared to the Verbatim Tuff-n-Tiny USB 2 stick. Cord string removed.



Underside of the reader with the Patriot LX Series 128G card inserted. The MicroSD card fits flush with the adapter — compact enough to be a small stick of chewing gum.

PNY 128G High Peformance MicroSD


The front of the package claims “up to 60MB/s,” and this claim is true for reads.

The green and black color scheme set it apart from the other back color schemes, and the “High Performance” text screams, “Test me because I make disappointing claims like other manufacturers do!”

I have discovered that performance varies drastically among storage devices and cards, and the labeling is often more hype than realistic truth. Usually, the bigger the claim, the lower the real-world performance.

The package claimed “up to 60 MB/s” with a little asterisk meaning, “read the fine print on the back.”


Back of the package. So, reads are fast and writes are slower than reads.

Okay, let’s find out with CrystalDiskMark 4.0.3.


CrystalDiskMark. Card formatted to FAT32.



CrystalDiskMark. Card tested with the pre-formatted exFAT. There is no noticeable performance difference between exFAT and FAT32.

Wow. This is better than advertised on the package. Even writes were better than I expected.

The PNY exceeded the 60MB/s-read claim, and consistently hovered around 77 MB/s no matter how many times I ran the test. (These speeds were obtained with the Plugable USB 3 adapter.) When connected to a USB 3 via the Kingston USB 2 adapter, the speeds were lower.


Plugged into a USB 3 port using the Kingston USB 2 reader.

Remember, the Kingston adapter is a USB 2 device, so the card is limited to the speed of the adapter.

Patriot LX Series 128G MicroSD


Patriot LX Series package front. It boldly proclaims “up to 70MB/s read” without a tiny asterisk. Sounds confident.


No tiny asterisk with a disclaimer regarding the read speed, but the fine print says the minimum sustained write speed will be 10MB/s. That sure inspires confidence.

The Patriot was rather disappointing compared to the PNY. It worked, but nowhere near the speeds of the PNY.


Patriot LX Series 128G FAT32. USB 3.


Test after test reported low numbers compared to the PNY. Never did the Patriot reach anywhere near 70 MB/s. Though, 53MB/s is still a decent read speed via USB 3.


Patriot LX Series 128G via the Kingston USB 2 adapter plugged into a USB 3 port on the motherboard.

Both reads and writes were significantly lower via USB 3. With the Kingston USB 2 adapter, the read/write speeds were close to the PNY, but the PNY was still faster with USB 2.

Graph Summary

Here is a spreadsheet to help compare the numbers. In addition, the Samsung EVO 64G and Silicon Power Elite 128G MicroSD cards were included for comparison.


A comparison of the read and write speeds of four different MicroSD cards. All are 128G cards except for the Samsung EVO, which is 64G.

exFAT or FAT32?

The PNY and the Patriot are shipped pre-formatted with *cough* *sputter* *gag* exFAT. I found no performance difference between exFAT and FAT32, so there was no need to include exFAT results aside from the lone exFAT test shown in the graph.

FAT32 is far more compatible with non-Windows devices than exFAT. A default Linux installation usually has issues with exFAT, so I cannot recommend exFAT at all.


exFAT is not exactly the most cross-platform friendly file system around. If you try to mount an exFAT-formatted device in a Linux system without setting up exFAT support beforehand, then you will see an error dialog similar to this.

Windows 7 does not provide an easy way to format 128G MicroSD cards to FAT32. Only NTFS and exFAT options are given whether using the basic formatter or the Disk Administrator. Sure, there are ways, but it requires effort. Linux is much easier.

Linux is happy with many file systems, so I used gparted to format both cards to FAT32.


gparted cannot read exFAT either, but it can certainly reformat the MicroSD card into something all of my devices like.


Once formatted, Linux recognized both MicroSD cards like any other. I have experienced no Linux compatibility issues. A 128G card formats to about 119G. If formatting with ext3/ext4, be sure to set the reserved blocks to 0.

sudo tune2fs -m 0 <card>

Replace <card> with something like /dev/sdd1 or whatever device file sudo fdisk -l sees your MicroSD card as. By default, ext3 and ext4 reserve 5% of the card space, but this is unnecessary for storage devices.


Both cards work fine in Linux and other devices as long as they are re-formatted to FAT32 or something more platform-friendly than the horrid exFAT. There is no bloatware to remove from either card, and 119G of formatted capacity offers plenty of room.

Given that both cards were exactly the same price at the time of purchase, the PNY is easily the winner and one of the fastest MicroSD cards I have ever used. The Patriot fails to meet the “70 MB/s” claim on the package, but the PNY exceeds its “60 MB/s” claim consistently. The PNY is the superior card.

During testing, the Kingston reader turned out to be an invaluable device. I have found it to be more useful than a dedicated USB stick since I can swap out MicroSd cards to effectively create a USB stick with whatever MicroSD card I have on hand. Have a spare MicroSD? Use this adapter, and, Presto! Instant USB stick. With adapters, MicroSD cards are more versatile than dedicated storage devices, and the 128G MicroSD cards offer plenty of space…that seems to fill up quickly.


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