OWC Atlas CFexpress 4.0 Memory Cards


OWC has announced its new Atlas CFexpress 4.0 Memory Cards that offer
2x faster speeds than CFexpress 2.0 memory cards and backward and forward compatibility.

The new Atlas Pro 256GB, Atlas Pro 512GB, Atlas Ultra 1TB, and Atlas Ultra 2TB cards utilize PCIe Gen 4 technology to enable 3650MB/s read and 3000MB/s write speeds. While these speeds don’t currently matter when recording 4K, 6K, and 8K+ videos from currently available cameras, I would imagine we will see new cameras coming to market that will have higher resolutions, higher fps, more color depth, and higher recording bitrates in the future. In saying that, I don’t anticipate any cameras supporting this new spec to be released in 2023 or even early 2024.

The main benefit of these PCIe Gen 4 new speeds is when it comes to offloading material, although you would need a very fast card reader and drive to take advantage of it. The increased speed will also help higher resolution cameras clear the camera buffer much faster for continuous burst shooting.

All the previous generations of OWC’s CFexpress cards supported CFA 2.0 spec with PCIe Gen3 interconnect. These new cards support the next generation CFA 4.0 spec that was announced on August 28th, which doubles the speed of the card from 1GB/s per PCIe lane to 2GB/s.

Industry’s First Backward & Forward Compatibility

Screenshot 2023 10 12 at 10 19 15 AM

The new Atlas CFexpress 4.0 memory cards utilize OWC’s Innergize software so that you can upgrade the firmware on previous PCIe Gen3 Atlas Ultra 1TB and 2TB cards to CFexpress 4.0 firmware. This gives users the opportunity to increase their existing card’s performance and prolong its usefulness with field firmware upgrades. This OWC exclusive upgrade almost doubles the current read/write speeds, from 1850 and 1700MB/s read/write speeds to 3650 and 3000MB/s.

In addition, Atlas CFexpress CFA 4.0 memory cards are also backward compatible with CFA 2.0 PCIe Gen 3 hosts.

It is great to see OWC doing this, and being able to upgrade old cards to a newer specification certainly increases their life span and protects your investment. The only slight caveat is that you do need to use either an Atlas FXR Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.2 Gen2 reader or an Atlas Dual CFexpress/SD reader to perform this firmware upgrade.

OWC Innergize

OWC’s Innergize software is designed specifically for OWC Atlas memory cards and readers. Innergize first checks the health of an Atlas card to ensure it is reliable to use, and then cleans and restores performance so there will be zero dropped frames when shooting video or continuous burst photos. Atlas owners can then upgrade their firmware in the field to take advantage of the latest card improvements and ensure OWC cards and readers will perform optimally with their cameras.

Pricing, Availability, & Upgrades

The OWC Atlas Pro CFexpress 256GB and 512GB memory cards will be available in October for $169.99 USD (256GB) and $199.99 USD (512GB).
Atlas Ultra CFexpress 1TB and 2TB memory cards will be available in October for $579.99 USD (1TB) and $999.99 USD (2TB).

You will be able to download OWC Innergize software to upgrade Atlas CFexpress 1TB and 2TB memory cards, with 1850MB/s on the card label, to the new CFexpress 4.0 specification. Innergize for Mac is available now, and a Windows version should be available soon.

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