The Lexar Diamond is the latest CFexpress Type-B memory card from Lexar. The card comes with some cool features like XQD backward compatibility, VGP-400 certification but is also the fastest CFexpress Type B card out there to date.
A quick disclaimer – Lexar as well as a few other brands do send me samples of their cards or readers. Lexar has been very professional, and quick at answering any questions which has been very helpful.
What I Like – XQD Backward Compatible, VGP-400 Certified, Fastest card available currently, Lifetime warranty.
Who is this card for? – While a lot of the first-generation CFexpress Type-B cameras did not have the technology to support the fastest speeds of the CFexpress card, the latest batch of professional cameras do. Cameras like the Nikon Z9, Fujifilm X-H2s, and Panasonic GH6 can really benefit from these new faster CFexpress cards.
Not only that but since the Lexar Diamond is XQD backward compatible, photographers that are still using older Nikon DSLRs in conjunction with their new mirrorless cameras can get some quality of life improvement by having one card that works with both systems.
1900 MB/s read speeds and 1700MB/s write.
1600MB/s Sustained write speeds
VPG 400 – 400MB/s guaranteed minimum write speeds.
Benchmarks are taken using a Macbook Pro 2018 model. The Software I’m using now is AJA System Test set to 5k with the 16bit RGBA Codec. I started using this software instead of Crystal Disk since it writes video files and gives us a little more of a real-world test vs straight file transfers.
|Card Name||High Heat Write||USB Write||USB Read||Check Price|
|Sandisk Extreme 128GB||297 MB/s||489 MB/s||989 MB/s|
|Sony Tough 128GB||268 MB/s||965 MB/s||997 MB/s|
|Lexar 128 Pro Diamond||982 MB/s||983 MB/s||1000 MB/s|
|Lexar 512GB||765 MB/s||908 MB/s||994 MB/s|
|Lexar 128GB||804 MB/s||923 MB/s||995 MB/s|
|Prograde 128GB||576 MB/s||679 MB/s||685 MB/s|
|Prograde Cobalt 325GB||971 MB/s||973 MB/s||998 MB/s|
|Delkin Black 150GB||974 MB/s||974 MB/s||998 MB/s|
|Delkin Black 128GB||973 MB/s||973 MB/s||997 MB/s|
|Delkin Black 75GB||951 MB/s||951 MB/s||998 MB/s|
|Delkin Power 128GB||974 MB/s||977 MB/s||997 MB/s|
|Delkin Prime 64GB||946 MB/s||948 MB/s||998 MB/s||discon.|
|Nikon 660GB||959 MB/s||961 MB/s||998 MB/s|
|Hoodman Steel 128GB||173 MB/s||558 MB/s||991 MB/s|
|Wise Pro 160GB||863 MB/s||941 MB/s||999 MB/s|
|Wise 128GB||171 MB/s||577 MB/s||997 MB/s|
|Angelbird AV Pro MkII 1TB||579 MB/s||889 MB/s||701 MB/s|
|Angelbird AV Pro XT MK2 330GB||970 MB/s||970 MB/s||996 MB/s|
|Angelbird AV Pro 256GB MK1||834 MB/s||948 MB/s||981 MB/s|
|Angelbird AV Pro SE 512GB||794 MB/s||794 MB/s||710 MB/s|
|Angelbird AV Pro SX 160GB||946 MB/s||946 MB/s||997 MB/s|
|RitzGear 128GB||158 MB/s||251 MB/s||991 MB/s|
|Pergear Lite 128GB||202 MB/s||311 MB/s||950 MB/s|
|Silicon Power Cinema EX 256GB||314 MB/s||453 MB/s||996 MB/s|
The Lexar Diamond ran at a write speed of 983 MB/s, with the second fastest card being the Delkin Black 128GB version which ran at 977 MB/s. So even with my USB 3.2 10Gbps limitation, we’re still seeing the card doing something slighter better than all the other cards.
I found the 16bit RGBA codec gives me the best overall read and write speed with most cards, although sometimes I can get slightly faster write speeds if I use something like Sony 16-bit RAW as the codec.
Note, I get maxed out speeds here at around 1000MB/s because most computers are only USB 3.2 10Gbps, not 20Gbps. Newer M2 Macs now support 3.2 10Gbps and USB 4, unknown if they support USB 3.2 20Gbps. Alternatively, if you had a custom PC, some motherboards will support USB 3.2 20Gbps and you will see faster speeds.
Be aware, the Mac Mini and iMac models share the USB bus with other system hardware and you’ll likely see a pretty significant reduction in speed. On my M1 Mac Mini I can usually only get speeds of around 400-500MB/s. Mac Studio, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro machines have more internal bandwidth that can handle faster speeds and this is actually listed in the configuration section when building a Mac Studio. Keep this in mind when buying your next computer if you want to take full advantage of these latest cards.
More important than the USB speed are how the cards perform in the camera.
I have benchmarked this card in most of the latest cameras and it is without a doubt the best performing card in terms of speed and consistency at the time of writing this.
I’m still compiling a lot of the data for these benchmarks which will take a few weeks.
Again using AJA System test we can look at the I/O transactions to see how the card is thermal throttling.
I couldn’t really get this card to throttle, so I pushed it as hard and as hot as I could by doing several 64GB read and write sequences – still consistent performance. This is what currently makes this one of the best cards.
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