I will be comparing the Gold Series card to two other cards I have on hand: a PNY Class 4 SDHC 4GB card and an OCZ Class 6 SDHC 4GB card. For benchmark testing, I used HD Tune 2.55 to analyze the minimum, maximum and average transfer rates of the three cards. I used the built-in card reader in my HP Pavilion tx1119us to conduct all of the tests here today.
First up is the minimum transfer rate, which notes the slowest transfer speed during the test. As expected, the Class 4 PNY card was a good deal slower than the two Class 6 units. Only .5 MB/sec separated the two OCZ cards.
Here we have the maximum transfer rate obtained during the test. The 4GB OCZ card narrowed the gap slightly on the Gold Series card, lagging behind by only .3 MB/sec.
Finally we have the average given by HD Tune. As you can see, the two OCZ cards are virtually identical in transfer speed.
I also conducted a real world test where I timed how long it would take to copy data to and from the Gold Series card. I used 535 MP3 files (2.44GB) in this test with the Gold card freshly formatted. It took 7 minutes, 2 seconds to copy the MP3 files from the hard drive to the flash card. Data transfer the other way, from the flash card to the hard drive, took only 3 minutes, 12 seconds. The results here were typical, as write speeds are almost always slower than read speeds.
Since this is a high-speed card, I decided to put it to the test using my Nikon D80 in continuous shot mode and recorded a video of this. There are a few things you will need to know about the camera before watching the video. It has a built-in memory buffer, represented as rXX on the camera's control panel when the shutter-release button is pressed. This number is updated as photographs are transferred to the memory card and more memory becomes available in the buffer. If 0 is displayed, the buffer is full and shooting will slow.
As you can see, the camera is capable of shooting photos very fast, and only after several shots does the memory buffer reache 0 and shooting slows unless I stop pressing the shutter button which speeds it up. Each photo snapped was roughly 3MB in size and as fast as they were being shot, that is a lot of data to transfer. I would, however, be curious to see if a 200x SDHC card could keep pace and allow for non-stop shooting, or if the host device itself (the camera) is limiting transfer speed.
The OCZ Gold Series 8GB SDHC Memory Card performed exactly as anticipated during benchmark and real-world testing. It was able to slightly edge out the non-Gold 4GB OCZ card despite them sharing the same Class 6 speed rating. The Class 4 PNY card was no match and would be better suited in devices like MP3 players or other equipment that don't have fast read / write demands.
I have been using the Gold card exclusively in my Nikon D80 which I use mostly to photograph review products and have probably snapped close to 700 photos without incident. As seen in the video above, the card was able to perform very well under continuous shot mode. Odds are, 99% of people won't be shooting in continuous shot mode non-stop, so the fact that the buffer did in fact get full after several shots shouldn't be much of an issue.
Like other memory and storage mediums, prices continue to drop on an almost daily basis. As of writing, the OCZ Gold Series 8GB SDHC Memory Card retails for $24.99 at a popular online reseller. OCZ also offers a lifetime warranty on this card, which is a step above the 3 year warranty offered on their previous line of SDHC cards.
If you are looking for a fast Class 6, 150x SDHC card and don't need a super speedy 200x card for continuous shot performance, the OCZ Gold Series 8GB SDHC Memory Card is certainly worth a look.