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ProGrade Digital Skips XQD Memory Cards, Pushes for CFexpress


ProGrade Digital, the new memory card company launched in mid-February 2018 by a group of former Lexar executives, is trying to stay ahead of the game in the memory card format wars. It will not be making any XQD cards, and instead the company is pushing for the CFexpress format.

This fact was first reported by Nikon Rumors and then subsequently confirmed by DPReview, which reached out to ProGrade Digital about its XQD plans.

“ProGrade Digital is not planning to manufacture XQD cards at this time,” ProGrade Digital CEO Wes Brewer tells DPReview. “We are however strongly promoting the future standard of CFexpress through our efforts in the Compact Flash Association.”

CFexpress was proposed by the CompactFlash Association back in September 2016. Here’s a comparison of specs for the latest generation of memory card formats and the CFexpress format:

CFexpress is essentially an update to the XQD memory card because the goal is that existing cameras and devices that support XQD cards will be able to support CFexpress cards after a simple firmware update.

“The CFexpress Type B form factor of this new standard is the successor to XQD, and allows existing cameras that utilize XQD cards to be upgraded to operate with the new CFexpress Type B cards if the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) chooses to update firmware in those devices,” Brewer tells DPReview. “In addition to the option of backward compatibility to XQD cameras, the new CFexpress cards utilize two lanes of PCIe (vs. one lane on XQD) and support the NVMe (Non Volatile Memory express) protocol, which provides more than twice the interface speed of XQD.”

Brewer says that ProGrade Digital is planning to make CFexpress related announcements throughout 2018.

ProGrade Digital unveiled lines of CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II memory cards at the time of its launch, with capacities and speeds up to 512GB for the former and 256GB for the latter. Its CFast 2.0 cards have reported speeds of up to 550MB per second, but we may soon be seeing cards that are over 3 times faster when ProGrade Digital announces a CFexpress card.