Entertainment, Hardware

Patriot EP 32GB SDHC Memory Card: Affordable Speed

Today we are going to be reviewing the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC. This memory card is the little brother to our previously reviewed Patriot EP 128GB SDXC. The primary difference between these two cards is not only in the capacity (128 v 32GB) but also in the fact that the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC is faster on paper than the Patriot EP 128GB SDXC due to being rated as UHS Class 1.

Technically speaking, both of these Patriot EP memory cards are rated at 50MB/s read and 35MB/s write, however, the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC is billed as a faster memory card. Additionally, because it is SDHC, your camera does not require SDXC support in order to deliver high speed reads and writes. This memory card will likely remove any storage bottlenecks that might exist in your photography.

Since memory cards are simple, we’re going to keep this review nice and to the point with only two benchmarks.

Testing Set Up
In our testing set up, we will have two separate set ups using three different memory cards. We will be testing our Patriot 32GB SDXC card against the 128GB Patriot EP and Kingston’s 32GB SDHC UltimateX Class 10 memory card as well as Kingston’s 16GB MicroSDHC with an SD adapter. The MicroSDHC is a perfect solution for anyone that would like to instantly view their pictures on their tablet without having an EyeFi memory card

Our first set up will consist of a USB 3.0 capable computer paired up with a Kingston USB 3.0 external media reader. This enables us to surpass the measly speeds of USB 2.0 which are generally capped around 30MB/s. If you don’t have USB 3.0 you probably shouldn’t be looking into high-end high-speed memory cards because you’re probably wasting your money.

In our other set up is our Nikon D5100 with SDXC support. This camera is approximately 1 year old now and has supported SDXC and SDHC right out of the box, so we’re not concerned about support. When trying to find out if your camera supports SDXC or SDHC, the best thing is to head over to the Canon or Nikon sites for your camera. Most DSLRs that have been released in the past 5 years should support SDHC, smaller pocket cameras may or may not. The point of this test set up is really to examine real world performance rather than simple benchmarks.

In CrystalDiskMark, we simply took each of our SD cards and placed them into our Kingston USB 3.0 media reader. We reformatted all of the cards into the FAT32 format in order to be fair to all of the cards since that is the default format for 32GB memory cards.

Looking at our results in CrystalDiskmark, you can see that our results for the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC show it pulling away greatly from all the other cards, even the 128GB EP. With a speed of almost 90MB/s, the EP 32GB’s reads are absolutely astonishingly fast and the writes are equally as impressive, although not by as large of a margin when compared to reads. The write speed for the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC is 47MB/s, which is still better than the 40MB/s of the 128GB EP memory card, indicating potential room for improvement in our following test.

In-Camera Real World Testing
For real world testing, we wanted to see exactly how many photos and how many hours of 1080P video we could cram onto one card. We also wanted to test the real world performance of the memory card in capturing rapidly shot photos.

In our testing, we shot in 16MP RAW + Fine JPEG mode. This resulted in two different images and yielded approximately 3,700 images on a single memory card. This means that you would have to capture more than a photo every single minute of the day in order to fill this memory card up in a single day. Granted, if you had a larger resolution sensor, say like the Nikon D800 with a 36 Megapixel Sensor you could probably dip below the 2400 photos in a single day if you captured a shot every minute at full resolution. You would without a doubt run out of battery before you ran out of memory card capacity. Then again, if you nix the RAW + JPEG mode and go just RAW you’re looking more at 5,300 which amounts to more than 2 frames every minute in a single day.
For video, we captured a 10 minute long video at 1080P resolution at 30 frames per second (18mbps). Since the D5100 is capped at 20 minutes per video due to european laws.

You can compare our actual measurements against what Patriot reports in their charts, admittedly our camera is different from what they used to measure, but our measurements are much more real world and accurate, in our opinion. Based upon our own video recordings and conversion of actual available space as well as real footage, we have concluded that at the settings stated above, we can get up to 3.6 hours of footage on a single 32GB Patriot EP SDHC memory card, which is not bad but definitely not something that you would consider something you would want to put a lot of video footage onto.

Finally, we tested the four different SD cards we had in our camera using the same settings as our capacity test, but instead we were testing the real world write speeds of the memory cards. What we did was set the camera to capture the same image continuously for exactly one minute. After that minute we would count exactly how many shots had been captured within that minute. Initially, all four of the cards did pretty well, but after about 3-5 seconds the camera’s processor and the memory cards began to choke due to lack of write speed/processor speed.

Looking at our results, you cans see that the Patriot 32GB EP SDHC card delivered 57 shots in 60 seconds while the 128GB EP delivered 55. Additionally, the Kingston 32GB SDHC delivered 34 shots and the Kingston 16GB MicroSDHC delivered a slightly lower 32. When you consider that these cameras are billed as 4 frames per second, many people forget that their memory cards and the camera’s processor are also bottle necks and realistically continuous shooting is limited by these two things. If you improve the memory card’s write speeds like we did with the Patriot 32GB EP, you nearly double the amount of shots you get in a single minute.

The price of the Patriot EP 32GB SDHC is currently at $28.99 on Newegg. At this price point, when you compare it to the 128GB Patriot EP SDXC, you can actually buy four of these cards at a total slightly over $100 and still end up under the 128GB card’s price of $154.99 on Newegg and get faster speeds. There are a lot of UHS-1 c
ompatible SDHC cards out there for similar prices, however, almost all of them are more expensive with Mushkin being the closest at $29.99 and some unknown named brand coming in around the same price as the Patriot.

Based upon the performance of this card and the ability of it to even further improve the performance of our camera, we have become more inclined to use this camera. The added reads and write speeds resulted in faster thumbnail generation and quicker photo reviews as well as data transfers from SD card to computer.

As if all of those metrics weren’t enough, Patriot has also priced their SD card to basically be the cheapest one available while still being from a well known manufacturer that delivers quality products. Based upon our performance results and the relative cheapness of the memory card to the rest of the market and cards even within its own brand, we are more than happy to award this card our value award for prosumer because it not only met, but surpassed our expectations due to it’s price.