Hardware About Switch's microSD reader's max bandwith and other questions

Hectorimus

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Hello, I would like to confirm a few things about microSD cards and Switch capabilities.

I've stumbled upon this test:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SwitchHack...ch_speed_tests_u1_vs_u3_microsd_cards_xci_vs/

It seems that UHS-I U3 is strictly better for loading.

What I want to inquire about is that I've read Switch's SD reader maxes at 100MB/s. Can't find the source ATM, but I've read it in several places. However, I found a UHS-I card that goes well beyond that in max read speed of 160MB/s:

https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-256GB-Extreme-microSD-Adapter/dp/B07FCR3316

Is the alleged Switch SD reader limit true? If UHS-I indeed maxes out at 100 MB/s, then what is the point of creating a card capable of more on UHS-I bus? So that can be used in UHS-II readers if necessary?

I am now wondering if an OC'ed Switch would benefit from reading speed above 100MB/s, and to a lesser extent, from A1 standard (I've read Switch now supports A1, can't find the source though; the card itself is A2, but it's backwards compatible ofc).

Is my reasoning faulty anywhere? Am I missing something important in NX specification?
 

The Real Jdbye

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Hello, I would like to confirm a few things about microSD cards and Switch capabilities.

I've stumbled upon this test:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SwitchHack...ch_speed_tests_u1_vs_u3_microsd_cards_xci_vs/

It seems that UHS-I U3 is strictly better for loading.

What I want to inquire about is that I've read Switch's SD reader maxes at 100MB/s. Can't find the source ATM, but I've read it in several places. However, I found a UHS-I card that goes well beyond that in max read speed of 160MB/s:

https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-256GB-Extreme-microSD-Adapter/dp/B07FCR3316

Is the alleged Switch SD reader limit true? If UHS-I indeed maxes out at 100 MB/s, then what is the point of creating a card capable of more on UHS-I bus? So that can be used in UHS-II readers if necessary?

I am now wondering if an OC'ed Switch would benefit from reading speed above 100MB/s, and to a lesser extent, from A1 standard (I've read Switch now supports A1, can't find the source though; the card itself is A2, but it's backwards compatible ofc).

Is my reasoning faulty anywhere? Am I missing something important in NX specification?
Some devices will be able to take advantage of that extra speed, others will not. It depends on the quality of the SD reader in the device. UHS-I going up to 160MB/s is not a guarantee that every device that supports UHS-I can do 160MB/s. The Switch also does not advertise supporting UHS-I at all to my knowledge which means all bets are off.
 

Hectorimus

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The Switch also does not advertise supporting UHS-I at all to my knowledge which means all bets are off.

Just so we are on the same page - Nintendo officially stated UHS-I capability in the official FAQ:

https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22481/~/microsd-card-faq#s1q3

So that part I think is clear, however UHS-I support does not really specify the average bandwith achievable by the device I believe.

As for Hekate: I can't find any option for microsd checking, can you specify?
 

uyjulian

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Just so we are on the same page - Nintendo officially stated UHS-I capability in the official FAQ:

https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22481/~/microsd-card-faq#s1q3

So that part I think is clear, however UHS-I support does not really specify the average bandwith achievable by the device I believe.

As for Hekate: I can't find any option for microsd checking, can you specify?
In Hekate 5.2.0, go to Console Info -> microSD -> Benchmark
 
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The Real Jdbye

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Just so we are on the same page - Nintendo officially stated UHS-I capability in the official FAQ:

https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22481/~/microsd-card-faq#s1q3

So that part I think is clear, however UHS-I support does not really specify the average bandwith achievable by the device I believe.

As for Hekate: I can't find any option for microsd checking, can you specify?
Well, there you have it. Even Nintendo themselves recommend up to 95MB/s. They have probably tested it to not give any benefits beyond that. It might not even be the SD reader, it might be a bottleneck in the loading routines of the games. Having to decompress data can quickly make the CPU the bottleneck at higher read speeds, and you see this with SSDs on PCs as well, which of course have much much more powerful CPUs, but you usually don't see much benefit in load times in games beyond a standard SATA SSD (600MB/s read speed) despite the SSDs offering much higher speeds. And even Optane, which is optimized for very fast random access, does not seem to give much benefit in games.

As you said, I don't think UHS-I has a speed requirement. It just specifies the maximum speed that the protocol allows, under optimal conditions. Conditions are rarely optimal though.
As it is, I think very few devices can take advantage of the speeds those Extreme cards offer. There's a reason they're priced so much higher than the Ultra cards, and I doubt it's because they're much more complex to make. There's just not a lot of demand for them because they're only useful in very specific scenarios, like high resolution video recording and app storage for those that need hundreds of GBs of app storage (obviously not most people)
If there's less demand, they have to price it higher to make it worthwhile.
 

pcwizard7

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I would say SanDisk extreme/extreme pro running android, Linux or lakka is worth the though put the A1/A2 class

this will help explain

 
Last edited by pcwizard7,

RAHelllord

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I would recommend a verified good A1 card over A2 that hasn't been benchmarked on similar hardware. The reason for that is fairly simple in that the A1 standard is reliant on the card being able to reach those minimum speeds by itself, whereas A2 requires special hardware in the reader to reach those advertised speeds. As expected the Switch does not support the A2 standard but it can take advantage of the A1 certification.

However, the A1 standard will do surprisingly little unless you play a lot of open world games, since that just assures a minimum throughput for random reads and writes and games that load entire levels and nothing new in-between don't really load anything randomly. But something like Skyrim or the Witcher 3 will definitely benefit from it.
All that said a few Samsung Evo cards reach A1 performance levels without having been certified to do so. The best way to go about it is to compare benchmarks of people on the Switch, and you should be able to find those fairly easily.

Personally I'm using one of those Nintendo branded SanDisk Ultra cards because they were on sale for cheaper than the regular SanDisk Ultra.
 

pcwizard7

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I can only speak for SanDisk pro and a Sandisk extreme pro SD card. I have used both for android in a Nintendo Switch and i did notice with the SanDisk pro it worked fine but every once and while the OS would skip for few secs then become ok.

Now the difference between extreme and extreme pro is very small, so if you want to save little is fine.

I have both speeds of cards and can run the hekate benchmark if people would like it
 

Theone5000

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For reference. I did a benchmark using Hekate 5.6.0.
The Top Switch contains a Samsung EVO Plus v2 microSDXC 512GB | Class 10, UHS Class 3, UHS-I | 100MB/s read and 90MB/s write.
The bottom Switch contains a Kingston Canvas Select Plus microSDXC 128GB | Class 10, Class A1, UHS Class 1, UHS-I, Video Speed Class 10 | 100MB/s read

52IcRI4.jpg
 
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