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This article will help you if you’re wondering what’s the difference between PNY vs Sandisk SDXC / Micro SD memory cards, or want to know if PNY SD cards are any good.
To quickly see which is the best SD card for your needs, take a look below. The PNY SD card review and Sandisk Extreme Pro review both follow this in full.
Best SDXC Memory Card: Sandisk Extreme Pro
Best Value Memory Card: PNY Elite Performance
The PNY memory cards are best for you if you are primarily shooting JPGs, and do not want to shoot bracketed exposures, due to the reduced real-world write speeds of these memory cards. If you are using an older camera, this SD card will be ideal, as it is unlikely that your camera would be able to support the increased read and write speeds of the Sandisk Extreme Pro.
Is PNY Good?
PNY is not a well known brand, so you may well want to know before you buy, is PNY a good memory card? The simple answer is yes, they are. Although they may not have the name recognition of Sandisk, PNY have existed since 1985, and are based in the US. In the past, their main source of sales has been direct to business rather than to consumers, hence you may not have heard of them. Nonetheless, they offer high quality products at a reasonable price – you’re not paying extra for the branding here.
What’s Better: PNY or Sandisk?
Of course, if you want to know is Sandisk a good brand, the answer is also a resounding yes. Sandisk have widely been regarded as the best memory card brand due to their focus on these products, and innovative design to get the most out of the memory card architecture. In a straightforward comparison of Sandisk vs PNY, Sandisk will always come out on top in terms of absolute quality, but this does not mean that PNY should be written off, particularly if you are using an older camera, which tend to work at lower SD card speeds.
SD Card Speed Ratings
When you take a look at SD cards, you can see a variety of symbols that show the SD card speed class rating and the SD card speed rating.
Take a look at this picture of the Sandisk Extreme Pro to see the five symbols that I have highlighted inside the red box, and read the full explanations below.
Capacity Standard – SDXC
Memory cards are sorted into groups depending on their capacities. SDXC refers to cards in the range of 32GB to 2TB. You can safely ignore this symbol if you know the capacity of the card, as the capacity is obviously a more accurate measure.
Video Speed Class – V30
The video speed class, in this case V30, refers to the ability of the memory card to reliably record video at a specified resolution. As video recording requires a continuous high throughput of writing to the memory card, this symbol lets you know that the card can keep up, and doesn’t throw an error when recording.
|Minimum Sequential Writing Speed||Video Class||Supports Up to:|
Bus Speed – I
The bus speed is indicated by a Roman numeral, in this case I, which gives a broad range of the maximum read and write speeds that the memory card can support. UHS-I indicates the card is in the range of 50 – 104 MB/s. You are better to look at the exact read and write speeds specified for each card, as these numbers will be more accurate.
UHS Speed Class – Class 3
The number inside a U, in this case 3, indicates the specific UHS speed class, which is essentially a more detailed breakdown of the bus speed. This specifically refers to the minimum write speed of the SD card.
|Minimum Sequential Writing Speed||UHS Speed Class|
The speed class of the SD card is an older measure, that has largely been superseded by the UHS speed class and video speed classes. All of the SD cards you will be looking at will have a speed class of Class 10 (a 10 inside the letter C). This indicates that the minimum write speed is at least 10MB/s. If the memory card has a speed class of less than Class 10, you should immediately discard it, as it will not have sufficient writing speed for your digital camera.
Compare Sandisk vs PNY
Comparing the PNY SD card vs Sandisk involves looking at the read and write speeds that they can sustain, as well as the durability and resilience to errors, and the warranty and price.
Sandisk 32GB / 64GB / 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB / 1TB SD Card ReviewSandisk SD Card Review
- Available in capacities up to 1TB
- Fastest read and write speeds of any SD card
- Lifetime warranty (for most countries)
- Waterproof, shockproof and x-ray proof
- Older cameras may not see any speed advantage
- Most expensive SD card
The Sandisk Extreme Pro SD cards are market leaders, and for good reason. They have the fastest read and write speeds of any SD cards, with a claimed write speed of up to 170MB/s. In practice, write speeds of about 90MB/s seem to be the maximum for the Sandisk 32GB Extreme Pro SD card, but as camera technology improves and megapixels go up, the additional potential speed advantage of the Sandisk memory cards may come into play.
Before buying this card, check that your camera can support the high speeds of this card. You will not see a card failure, but if your camera operates at a lower speed, you will be paying a premium for a feature that you cannot use.
PNY 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SD Card ReviewPNY Memory Card Review
- Cheaper than Sandisk Extreme Pro
- Fast performance on all but the newest cameras
- Waterproof, shockproof and x-ray proof
- Only five-year warranty
- Slower real-world read and write speeds than Sandisk Extreme Pro
The PNY SD card is generally a very good performer. PNY do not state a maximum write speed, only that the maximum transfer speed is 95MB/s. This can be taken to be a maximum read speed, as reading from a memory card is a much faster, less intensive process than writing to it.
Real world testing puts the maximum write speed for the PNY 32GB Elite Performance SD card at about 70MB/s, which is significantly less than the Sandisk alternative. This is still a very good speed, and if your camera cannot support write speeds above this, you would see no speed difference in using this card over the Sandisk.
To determine the maximum write speed your camera can support, check your user manual. If your manual only gives you the speed class of memory card that it can support, you can use the SD card speed guide earlier in this article to find the actual write speed.
PNY High Performance SD CardBest PNY 64GB Memory Card for Budget Users
- Very cheap
- Waterproof, shockproof and x-ray proof
- Read and write speeds are good enough for older cameras
- Slowest read and write speeds
- Only five year warranty
- Lower capacities
The PNY 128GB High Performance SD memory card is the slowest of the memory cards we are looking at here, but is by far the cheapest option. You can get a PNY 64GB SD card for under $10, making this a bargain, if you are using an older camera, or are only shooting JPGs without bracketed exposures. Bear in mind that a slower card such as this one will hit buffering limits if you try to take too many pictures in too quick a succession.
The PNY SD card warranty is only five years, compared with Sandisks’ lifetime warranty. In practice, SD cards are very unlikely to fail as they have no moving parts and are relatively simple. You are more likely to physically lose one than have it fail. If you regularly transfer photos from your SD card to your computer, then any memory card failures should not impact you to any great degree.
It’s also likely that you will have upgraded your camera over the five year length of the PNY warranty, and your current card will become obsolete as your require a higher capacity for the new camera technology.
Where to Buy Memory Card?
If you want to know where to buy memory cards, my preferred location is Amazon. There is no benefit to seeing an SD card in person before purchase, as you cannot test them, and Amazon tends to offer the cheapest prices for products like this.