A new specification, CFexpress 2.0, that expands the CompactFlash Express spec to include two additional form factors for professional imaging and industrial markets in need of higher-speed digital storage and transfer rates, was announced Thursday by the CompactFlash Association (CFA).

The CFA is the organization responsible for professional removable solid state media specifications including CompactFlash, CFast, XQD, CFexpress, now CFexpress 2.0.

The CFexpress 2.0 specification will enable hardware manufacturers to create next-generation higher resolution and multi sensor cameras.

CFexpress is billed as a stable and consistent format to leverage the industry’s R&D investments in technology and help reduce churn in the market surrounding standardized and proprietary recording media formats, according to the CFA.

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CFexpress 2.0 is based on the use of PCIe Gen.3-based removable Flash memory cards. It was developed to meet the demand for sustained high performance with balanced power and optimized thermal dissipation while allowing next-generation plug-and-play capability.

With now three form factors, CFexpress 2.0 supports performance levels to match various market requirements, while maintaining the same electrical/physical interface and memory/storage protocol, according to the CFA.

All form factors leverage the PCIe Gen 3 interface for higher performance based on a computing industry storage interface and utilize NVM Express 1.3 protocols for fixed length commands, an efficient queuing model, and very low non-cacheable PCIe accesses per command, the CFA said.

This enables access to a wide range of open standard platforms consisting of mature and proven drivers, saving development time and effort.

The new form factors are designed to meet specific requirements for applications in various verticals including the following:

Imaging – Improved data rates in enthusiast and professional digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs), drones and video cameras

Compute – Low latency external and removable SSDs

Enterprise – Faster and more reliable media to store image files, software features and configuration files for servers and routers

The three form factors – designated as Type A, with 1 lane of PCIe, Type B, with 2 lanes of PCIe, and Type C with four lanes of PCIe – support up to a maximum theoretical performance of up to 4000MB/s and offers host vendors design flexibility with a form factor size.

In related news, the CFA said it is also preparing two further specifications; The VPG Profile 4 Specification will be released shortly bringing higher sustained video performance. In addition, the CFA plans to start specifications utilizing PCIe Gen4 in order to realize even higher speed memory cards.


By Greg Tarr


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