With the new 5k H.265 recording modes in the GoPro Hero 9, you may be wondering what memory cards are best for the camera.
This guide will walk you through the different requirements and recording modes of the GoPro Hero 9 to help you find the best memory cards for the most stable performance.
GoPro Hero 9 Black – GoPro
Best SD Cards GoPro Hero 9
Before buying memory cards for the Hero9 there are a few things you should know.
The camera uses a single UHS-I micro SD memory card slot. You don’t need to buy UHS-II card, but you should stick with the U3 speed class to avoid any problems.
The Hero9 has a memory card capacity of up to 256GB. It’s not recommended to use bigger cards.
Compatibility and reliability issues to look out for – After testing memory cards in GoPro cameras since the Hero5 we’ve discovered a trend with GoPro cameras where you can get strange errors or problems if you’re using the wrong card. A lot of people think this is the camera’s fault, maybe so, but usually, most strange issues are cleared up by switching out your memory card. This has improved dramatically over the years, but occasionally you’ll still see some issues with things like camera locking up, lagging, clips getting corrupted, or battery draining when the camera is off, if you’re using a memory card the camera doesn’t like. Like the Nintendo Switch Sandisk cards as an example – GoPros hate those.
If you experience lost clips, errors, abnormally bad battery life, laggy interface, etc, try switching out your card first, and here are some of the top recommendations.
I’m currently using the Delkin Black SD card which has been working great. It’s the latest from Delkin with built-in error-correction and wear-leveling but expensive compared to some of the other options.
Recommendation SD Cards
These are the best memory cards with their corresponding performance take from an Android smartphone.
The GoPro Hero9 can take memory cards up to 256GB, but 128GB cards work very well for normal usage.
The bitrate of even the 5k recording mode in the Hero 9 is only up to 100Mbps which is 12.5MB/s so you don’t actually need an ultra-fast micro sd memory card, just one that comes rated with a minimum of a U3 spec. U3 means the card will maintain a minimum write speed of 30MB/s.
|Recommended SD Cards||Write Speeds||Read Speed||Order|
|Sandisk Extreme A2 U3 128GB – Top Recommendation||54MB/s||79MB/s||Amazon|
|Samsung EVO Select U3 128GB||40MB/s||69MB/s||Amazon|
|Netac Pro A1 U3 128GB||37MB/s||83MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 667X A2 U3 128GB||38MB/s||86MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus A2 U3 128GB||75MB/s||80MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 128GB||73MB/s||83MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin Black V30, U3 128GB – What I use||71MB/s||77MB/s||B&H|
Regarding UHS-II cards
Only buy the UHS-II micro SD cards if you want very fast transfer speeds from your card to your computer with a micro UHS-II reader. They will give you no benefit in the camera.
SD Memory Card Speed Tests
There is still a not great way to benchmark memory cards in the new 9, so what we do is test different cards throughout the life of the camera. I’ve been doing this since the Hero 5.
The Hero9 has moved the bitrate up to 100Mbps and now to shoot 5k you’ll need to use HEVC, or H.265.
This chart shows the performance benchmarked in a Galaxy smartphone.
|Card Name||Class||S10 Write||S10 Read|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 128GB||UHS-II||73MB/s||83MB/s|
|Sandisk High Endurance V30 128GB||UHS-I||41MB/s||84MB/s|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 64GB||UHS-I||75MB/s||78MB/s|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 A2 128GB||UHS-I||54MB/s||79MB/s|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus U3 64GB||UHS-I||75MB/s||80MB/s|
|Sandisk Extreme U3 A2 128GB||UHS-I||55MB/s||78MB/s|
|Sandisk Extreme U3 64GB||UHS-I||55MB/s||81MB/s|
|Sandisk Ultra U1 A1 128 GB||UHS-I||32MB/s||72MB/s|
|Sandisk Ultra U3 64GB||UHS-I||30MB/s||79MB/s|
|Sandisk Nintendo 128GB||UHS-I||49MB/s||49MB/s|
|Samsung Pro+ U3 64GB||UHS-I||73MB/s||75MB/s|
|Samsung Pro U3 64GB||UHS-I||67MB/s||74MB/s|
|Samsung Pro Select U3 64GB||UHS-I||72MB/s||75MB/s|
|Samsung EVO Plus U3 64GB||UHS-I||42MB/s||83MB/s|
|Samsung EVO+ U1 64GB||UHS-I||20MB/s||74MB/s|
|Samsung EVO Select U3 64GB||UHS-I||40MB/s||69MB/s|
|Samsung EVO Select U1 64GB||UHS-I||23MB/s||77MB/s|
|Samsung EVO U3 64GB||UHS-I||40MB/s||70MB/s|
|Samsung EVO U1 64GB||UHS-I||22MB/s||42MB/s|
|Kingston V30 A1 128GB||UHS-I||40MB/s||74MB/s|
|Kingston V30 128GB||UHS-I||40MB/s||74MB/s|
|ProGrade V60 64GB||UHS-II||67MB/s||79MB/s|
|Lexar 1800x 64GB||UHS-II||37MB/s||83MB/s|
|Lexar 1000x U3 64GB||UHS-II||38MB/s||79MB/s|
|Lexar 633x A2 V30 128GB||UHS-I||38MB/s||86MB/s|
|Lexar 633x U1 64GB||UHS-I||24MB/s||75MB/s|
|Lexar 300x U1 64GB||UHS-I||24MB/s||42MB/s|
|Delkin V60 64GB||UHS-II||71MB/s||77MB/s|
|Delkin V30 128GB||UHS-I||43MB/s||77MB/s|
|Delkin U3 64GB||UHS-I||70MB/s||74MB/s|
|Sony V30 128GB||UHS-I||39MB/s||75MB/s|
|Transcend A1 V30 128GB||UHS-I||40MB/s||79MB/s|
|Transcend Ultimate 633x U3 64GB||UHS-I||42MB/s||75MB/s|
|Transcend 400x U1 64GB||UHS-I||24MB/s||76MB/s|
|Transcend 300x U1 64GB||UHS-I||24MB/s||76MB/s|
|Transcend High Endurance C10 64GB||UHS-I||21MB/s||22MB/s|
|PNY Elite-X A1 V30 128GB||UHS-I||45MB/s||78MB/s|
|PNY PRO Elite U3 128GB||UHS-I||70MB/s||74MB/s|
|PNY Elite U1 128GB||UHS-I||28MB/s||76MB/s|
|Amplim A1 V30 667X 128GB Gold||UHS-I||38MB/s||80MB/s|
|Amplim A1 V30 667X 128GB Purple||UHS-I||40MB/s||81MB/s|
|Amplim A1 V30 667X 128GB Green||UHS-I||41MB/s||81MB/s|
|Netac Pro A1 U3 128GB||UHS-I||37MB/s||83MB/s|
|Netac Pro U3 64GB||UHS-I||35MB/s||69MB/s|
|Pariot U1 64GB||UHS-I||20MB/s||55MB/s|
*Speed scores are taken from Disk Speed Test using the Samsung Galaxy S10+ SD Card Benchmarks.
SD Card Related Camera Specs
Sensor Size: 20 MP 4:3 1/2.3 inch CMOS
About Each Card
Of all these cards, the Sandisk Extreme and Extreme Plus cards are pretty much guaranteed to work. But there are some other great options, especially if you want to use your camera in other devices, and there is even a new Delkin Black card that offers a tougher build quality.
Sandisk Extreme UHS-I V30 A2
This is the best memory card you can buy for the GoPro Hero 9. It works in all GoPros and Sandisk Extreme cards have always been the cards bundled with the cameras and sold by GoPro themselves.
If for whatever reason you can’t get this card then there are a few other great options below.
Samsung EVO Select U3
Available at: Amazon
Samsung has always been a top performer in micro SD memory cards. Second, to the Sandisk Extreme cards, this is probably your best option.
Even in older cameras, the Samsung cards have always performed very well and they are priced very competitively.
Netac Pro A1 U3
Available At: Amazon
The new Netac Pro has been performing surprisingly well and is priced very competitively. It was the first card I tried with the new 8. I shot with it for a solid week and experienced no issues it’s also getting great reviews on Amazon, so I feel confident in recommending it as an alternative to the Sandisk Extreme.
Lexar 667X A2 U3
Available At: Amazon
Lexar was sold off to a new company out of China a few years ago. Their cards still perform well but we’re not seeing the same positive ratings as they did with Micron owned them. However, these new microSD cards look like they are performing well and the price is very competitive so they are still a great option.
Sandisk Extreme Pro or Plus V30 A2
Pro Available At: Amazon
Plus Available At: Amazon
The Sandisk Extreme Pro or Plus micro sd cards are often a little more expensive than the Extreme cards and they aren’t worth it if you’re just using them for your GoPro. However, a lot of people like to use their cards in multiple devices so this will give you great performance in other cameras or drones.
If you own older GoPros like the 7 Silver or the 6, stay away from the Pro. The Plus will still work in those.
PNY Elite-X A1 U3
Available At: Amazon
A few years ago I was seeing a lot of issues with PNY cards with different cameras and I stopped recommending them. Lately, they’ve been performing very well and have been getting good ratings. Their PNY Elite gave me problems in the GoPro Hero 6 but this new Elite-X has been flawless in the new 8. I would maybe stay away from this card if you have older GoPro cameras you still use. But I haven’t had issues in the Hero 7 Black or the Hero 9 Black.
Delkin Black 128GB MicroSD V30 U3
Available At: B&H
The Delkin Black micro SD cards have a tougher build to them. They are x-ray, water, and shockproof and can resist temperatures up to -13 to 185°F. The cards also feature built-in error correction and wear leveling to maximize longevity and avoid potential data loss.
You can also see GoPro’s official memory considerations. I have made sure the cards I’ve recommended here work in my GoPro without any issues, but are also on GoPro’s official considerations page to further reduce any problems, minus the Netac which they have not tested.
GoPro Hero 9 Memory Card Size
The maximum SD card size for the GoPro Hero 9 is 256GB.
With the higher bitrate of the Hero 9 compared to the older cameras, I find myself often getting halfway through a 64GB card, with the high bitrate doing things like going to SeaWorld with the kids.
Do you need an SD Card Bigger than the 32GB the Hero 9 ship with?
Now that the Hero 9 is capable of shooting 30p at 100Mbps, you may want a card bigger than 32GB. At 100Mbps, a 32GB card will only give you 43 minutes of recording.
GoPro Hero 9 Bitrates
These are the bitrates you can expect to find in the different record modes.
|Hero 9 Recording Options||Standard HEVC||High HEVC|
Use the Bitrate Calculator to see how much time each bitrate will record.
Potential Problems Shooting 5k
If you want to shoot 5k, you have to use the HEVC / H.265 codec. This is good in that the H.265 codec is more efficient than the older H.264 codec and you will get better image quality with it. However, it’s harder to decode.
If you do not have a computer with a processor that is newer than 2015, you could have serious issues with H.265 playback, and you’ll need to convert your files right away with handbrake or some other app to something else.
I would probably just do H.264 with a target bitrate of around 150Mbps or 200Mbps to keep the files small.
Best Memory Cards GoPro Hero9 | Conclusions
While it seems like there is a lot to worry about with memory cards in the GoPro, most of the problems come from using off-brands, or specialty cards like the Sandisk Nintendo Switch cards and high endurance cards.
GoPro cameras have been configured to run very well with Sandisk cards and Samsung micro SD cards. The Sandisk Extreme cards really are the way to go, but I have found Extreme Pro, Ultra and Plus cards all work great as well.
If you are still having strange issues with camera lockups or sluggish performance, it’s almost certainly your memory card and the firsts thing you should always try is to swap out memory cards to something different than what you were using.