gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Kioxia Exceria 128GB High Endurance microSD Card

With the Steam Deck on the horizon and a renewed interest in fast, high-capacity SD cards (my day job working with Raspberry Pi’s doesn’t normally necessitate anything larger than 16GB) it’s a great time to introduce you to the Kioxia Exceria. Formerly Toshiba Memory the Kioxia brand carries on the flame, bringing a third option for quality conscious buyers. At least… mine’s been fine so far and I’ve run 30GB videogames from it!


— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) June 15, 2021

Testing a microSD card can be a tricky business, with devices supporting so many SD-card standards, and so may proprietary variations upon those, I first had to make sure I matched the UHS-I specified Exceria with an SD card reader that would cut the mustard. I picked Anker’s 2-in-1 USB to UHS-I SD/microSD card reader and it seemed to do the trick.

Using the @AnkerOfficial UHS-I SD card reader and a Kioxia SD card to get a feel for what SD card throughout might be on the @Steam Deck with the @azulletech Byte 4 acting as an eMMC equipped stand-in.

Left is UHS-I and right is the @azulletech Byte 4’s internal SD card slot.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) July 16, 2021

Indeed the difference in performance between an internal SD card slot on every a relatively new mini PC (albeit that does not specify UHS-I) versus a reader that’s explicitly UHS-I is night and day. While the theoretical throughput of a UHS-I SD card is 104MB/s Kioxia’s Exercia benched around 87-89MB/s sequential read and 62-63MB/s sequential write. These speeds were sustained while copying many, many gigabytes of files since I used the SD card to test game loading times in Steam to get a feel for how the Steam Deck’s UHS-I SD card might affect them.

Game loading times were surprisingly fast, taking some 60% longer than my generously fast internal NVM.e SSD. The following times were for Shadow of The Tomb Raider in minimum detail:

Loading from Kioxia SD card

Loading from NVM.e SSD

Even from the SD card these weren’t long waiting times, suggesting most of the data is loaded sequentially taking advantage of the full performance of the card. For a system where installing, moving, backing up and loading gigabytes of games is a common occurrence the high endurance option seems like a sensible choice, though Kioxia’s claims are 20,000 of full HD recording at 21Mbps which suggests around 9.45Gbits or 1.18gigabytes an hour or a total of around 23,000gigabytes of data written. Since gaming is mostly a read-only operation (depending on how you use your SD card to cycle games out of system memory) this should last about 400, 60GB game installs or one install of Ark: Survival Evolved.

Over in my Raspberry Pi 400 the enormous 128GB of this SD card was mostly wasted, but the endurance counts for system log writes, software installs/compiles and the general humdrum of Linux use- which has apparently killed many an SD card, albeit very, very few of mine. What I appreciated was the blistering fast write times- bumping up from a woeful 15-20MB/s to a sustained 60MB/s made the process of re-flashing Raspberry Pi OS painless. While the Pi isn’t equipped to take advantage of this extra speed the extra endurance could make all the difference in an always-on setup.

Pretty quick!

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) June 15, 2021

At time of writing the Kioxia Exceria High Endurance 128GB SD card is £34.20 on Amazon with 256GB coming in at £78.11. These are on a par with high endurance prices from other brands, but approximately 2x to 3x the price of regular cards. Are the worth it? I honestly don’t know but if I were picking an SD card to complement a 64GB Steam Deck, this is what I’d pick.

Monday, July 19th, 2021, Computer Gaming, Home Entertainment, Personal Computing.