First CFast card reader with Thunderbolt 3

Users of CFast cards know that card readers with USB connections represent a bottlenech in terms of data transfer. Sonnet solved the problem with a new CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader.

First CFast card reader with Thunbderbolt 3

The new SF3 Series – CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader from Sonnet is an industry’s first: it has a Thunderbolt 3 interface, for fast transfer of data.

With the increasing popularity of profession digital cinema cameras from Canon, ARRI and Blackmagic Design, the use of CFast 2.0 memory cards has soared, and the need for a truly high-speed card reader is undeniable. With current CFast 2.0 cards’ rated read speeds near 550 MB/s, it’s clear that USB readers don’t fill that need. Sonnet’s SF3 Series – CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader does.

The SF3 Series – CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader from Sonnet Technologies is the first in a new family of professional media readers that feature a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface. The Sonnet reader employs dual card slots to take advantage of the tremendous bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 offers. Sonnet’s CFast 2.0 Pro Reader, the industry’s first card reader with Thunderbolt 3, can ingest files simultaneously from two cards at concurrent data transfer speeds up to 1,000 MB/s — more than double the average ingest speed of USB 3.0 card readers.

“Our CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader was designed to meet the time-sensitive demands our customers face on location as they ingest footage from Canon, ARRI, and Blackmagic Design professional cameras,” said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. “Not only do they need a rugged and portable reader, but they also need to be able to ingest a whole stack of CFast cards as quickly as possible. The SF3 Series — CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader gives users the ability to ingest content from two cards at once and at the fastest speeds the cards will support.”

Measuring just 5.75 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep by 1 inch tall, the compact CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader’s shell is made from extruded aluminum, making it lightweight, rugged, and easily able to withstand heavy use. The reader features a user-replaceable, captive 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable with USB-C connector, and it is bus-powered with no power adapter required.

Sonnet’s SF3 Series – CFast 2.0 Pro Card Reader is expected to be available May 22 with a price of $199.

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Jose Antunes

I am a writer and photographer living on the West Coast of Portugal, a place I tend to call the Atlantic Realm. An area of rugged cliffs and sandy beaches overlooking the sea, a coastal area sitting between the Atlantic Ocean waves and hills and forests with some of the most magical palaces, castles and prehistorical sites for you to visit and photograph. Little hamlets, vast fields, inviting you to a contemplative state of mind. That’s where I live, and the landscape surely makes you what you are.

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3 Comments on "First CFast card reader with Thunderbolt 3"

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Can you clarify how, In the first part of the article,
USB-3 readers “just don’t fill the need” of a card reader of “near” 550 MBps.
but later Sonnet’s Thunderbolt reader does:
“up to 1,000 MBps – more than double the average ingest speed of USB 3.0 card readers”
Which would make the average speed of USB card readers
very near the 550 MBps you just said they couldn’t do.

Jose Antunes
Jose Antunes

The answer here is simple: the Sonnet uses dual slots, as mentioned, to ingest files simultaneously from two cards, and it connects through Thunderbolt 3. Usually USB card readers only have one slot – like the SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Reader/Writer – so having two, with Thunderbolt 3 connection, makes the simultaneously transfer speed double of that of a normal USB 3.0 card reader, which is up to 500MBps. Note that the first time USB is mentioned it is in general terms – not USB-3 as you wrote. Only the second time USB 3.0 card readers are mentioned.

Yes, the first time you mention USB it is in “general terms”, but with a top theoretical speed of just 60 MBps (vs. USB-3’s theoretical top of 640 MBps) one would not think you were talking about the 17-year old USB-2 standard. Now you say this new reader has two slots, and the _simultaneous_ transfer (of two cards) is double that of a single-slot USB-3 reader. So each slot is the SAME speed as a USB-3 reader? Meaning USB-3 could do the job just fine. Unless, again, I’m still not understanding you. When you say “With current CFast 2.0 cards’… Read more »