*Per SanDisk themselves - SanDisk Ultra has an 'undefined' write speed (most likely ≤ 50 MB/s)
Note: You're required to have a UHS-II card reader to harness the UHS-II speeds (up to 304 MB/s). This is a physical requirement (more pins on a UHS-II card ). The theoretical top speed of UHS-I is 104 MB/s.
Before we talk about the difference between Sandisk Ultra and Extreme... we must first discuss the different bus interfaces.
You see, there are two versions of a SanDisk Extreme.
You have a UHS-I and UHS-II. UHS stands for 'ultra-high speed'.
As you'd expect, UHS-II is significantly faster than UHS-I.
The speed increase is obviously a positive - while cost and compatibility are the negatives. Not every camera/electronic is compatible with UHS-II cards - so check your make and model to see if it's an option for you.
Sandisk Ultra only comes in UHS-I
Keep this in mind if you're going to decide to purchase.
We just got done talking about the bus differences between the cards.
With that in mind, there are two versions of an Extreme card. There's the 'regular' Sandisk Extreme, and there's the Sandisk Extreme Pro.
The main difference between the two is speed (like mentioned before).
Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards offer UHS-II speeds (up to 300MB/s) and are physically different (will get to that part here in a minute). The UHS-I version of the pro card is 170MB/s (and significantly less expensive).
Hopefully, that alleviates any confusion about the difference between the regular and pro versions.
Now, let's dive into the differences between the Ultra and Extreme cards!
The Sandisk Ultra SD card is a more affordable choice for people who do not require high performance. The Sandisk Extreme SD card, on the other hand, is more expensive and offers outstanding performance for people who are into photography or videography and for those who need high-speed storage space.
Let's dive a bit deeper...
When you look at an Ultra and Extreme memory card from a bit of a distance... you may not notice a difference at all (other than the labels).
Well, you'll find the difference on the back - the contact pins are very different.
Seeing as an Ultra card only supports UHS-I; it only has a single row of pins along the edge of the card (9 pins in total).
The Sandisk Extreme Pros (UHS-II versions), on the other hand, have the same row of pins along the edge( 9 in total)... along with a second row of pins (8 additional pins). The total number of 'pins' or contact points for the UHS-II version of an Extreme Pro is 17.
It's these additional contact/pins that allow for the increase in speed. It's also the reason some devices are compatible with them too.
There's a difference in the maximum capacity of each type of card as well!
As you can see, it's not the speed of the card that determines its capacity. In fact, according to this information, the faster the card, the less the capacity (at least the maximum).
We're going to dive a little deeper into the specifics. Get the exact data when it comes to the speed differences.
Check out my Best SD card for the Sony A7iii if you want more info on the idea that every card has a read and a write speed.
What you see on the front of the memory card is usually the read speed only (SanDisk loves to do this). What you'll want to do is dive a little deeper into each card to figure out what the write speed is and go from there.
As I had stated in the Sony article, there are write speed requirements of the camera. The camera needs to write at a certain speed for video footage (like 4k). If your card does not meet that - you'll have a bunch of fails or corrupt cards.
Check the device you're thinking of throwing these cards into. Make sure that what you're picking up meets (or exceeds) the requirements of the device.
The battle - SanDisk ultra vs extreme has arrived at one of the most important aspects of the stand-off... write speeds compared.
Starting with the Ultra:
Let's move onto some other info worth knowing!
Implemented in 2016 - video speed class (the V on your card) became a requirement.
What the means is the card has to meet certain continuous write speeds to have the label on their card.
Well, for HD video to remain smooth and watchable - you need a device that will write at the rate. Most cards write far faster than their video speed class - but this rate is the minimum. It should never drop below that. This ensures smooth recording even if the card is strained; it won't drop below that mark.
V60 and V90 video speed class is made for 4K+ recording... while V10 and V30 are great for HD/1080p recording.
If you've noticed - most high-end UHS-II cards are either V60 or V90. The most expensive will, without a doubt, be V90.
Lower-end cards rarely go above V30.
It's pretty simple - the only reason is adapters.
When used, you now have an extra piece of plastic in your camera that, believe it or not, is prone to break or get stuck in your camera.
Not only that - you're now relying on the micro sd card to make the connection to the adapter and the adapter to connect to the camera.
All these are areas of failure. It's as simple as that.
Some have no issues - others have dealt with the many issues this can cause.
Do yourself a favor and stick with standard/native sized cards in your DSLR/mirrorless camera - and leave micro SD cards where they belong (some point and shoots, drones, etc.)
I thought it only fitted to include the benefits of SanDisk cards in an article devoted to Sandisk!
So, every card they offer is:
The answer to this statement all depends on you and your needs.
First, what kind of device are you using (DSLR, mirrorless, action cameras, drone, etc.).
Figure out what rate your device records at and go from there.
So who won the battle of Sandisk Ultra Vs Extreme? It's simple - the winner is what works best for your needs!
Luckily, you understand the difference between sd ultra and sd extreme (and pro) - and can make a much better decision on which card will be your next purchase.