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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #1
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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New P2 cards and HMC40

I just typed up a live blog from the Panasonic press conference. The highlights are that there's a new series of P2 cards, the "E" series -- with massive price reductions. They're still offering the "A" series (which use single-level-cell memory) at the same prices, and the new "E" series are even faster, but with a shorter lifespan, due to their use of MLC memory.

16GB: A-series $900, E-series $420
32GB: A-series $1650, E-series $625
64GB: A-series $2600, E-series $1000 (well, they said "under $1000")

So, what does the "shorter lifespan" mean? Typically SLC memory is good for 100,000 rewrite cycles, and that's what they said about the "A" series. And typically MLC memory is good for 10,000 rewrite cycles. Panasonic won't comment on that, but they say that you could fill up and empty a card every day for at least five years before you hit the lifespan limit.

As for speed: the original P2 cards were 640mbps. The "A" series are 800mbps. The new "E" series are even faster, at 1.2gbps (or 1200 mbps). That puts them at nearly twice the speed of the original cards, and 50% faster than SxS or P2 "A" series. If you were offloading to a SATA RAID using a PCD35 5-slot PCIe reader, which is also capable of 1.2gbps, you should be able to offload a 64gb card in about 7 minutes. A 16gb card should take less than 2 minutes.

Also, the HMC40 was announced; think of it as an AVCHD version of the DVC30. Way smaller than the HMC150, but with most of the "good stuff": 1080/24p, 1080/60i, 720/24p, 720/60p, waveform monitor, HDMI output, etc. 1/4" 3-MOS 2.2megapixel imagers. Optional XLRs.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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I am very happy with the panasonic announcement, and I'm sure my hvx will be too. And maybe down the road the hmc40 will make sense for smaller jobs.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 02:32 AM   #3
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I sure like the E series P2 cards :-). That should put an end to all the grumbles about the high cost of P2 cards ...

Realistically, I don't think we even think about using the P2 cards for 5 years (filling it up to 100% capacity) at every day usage. So, maybe on average, 7 to 10 years lifespan is the norm here.

I will be very eager to wait for the 64GB E series P2 cards to hit the market (sometime in August this year).
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Old April 20th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #4
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That is great news and looks like three 301 cameras may be coming my way soon.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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Great news on the E-P2 cards! Looks like I'll be buying some cards soon.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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Was there an ETA on the new P2 cards? B&H doesn't have 'em listed yet...
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Old April 26th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #7
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Andy:

May for the 16GB and 32GB and late August for the 64GB.

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Old April 27th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #8
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Panasonic says you can fill up and empty a card everyday for 5 years.

The question I have is "What if you use the same 16 g card and download to your computer 3 times a day, does it effect the lifespan and by how much."
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Old April 27th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #9
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Do you mean "load" and "empty" three times a day or just "dump" the cards three times a day using the same material as might happen in a broadcast newsroom sort of situation?

If it is a full load and empty, than you would be reducing that five years by 2/3. I believe that the rating is pro-rated by how much you load(shoot) and empty, if you load(shoot) and empty less than a full capacity of the card, the overall time remaining is greater than if you fill it up all of the way and empty it all of the way.

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Old April 27th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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It's based on the number of times the memory can be rewritten before it wears out. If you use fill the card up twice a day instead of once a day, you'd have to cut the rated lifespan in half. If you used it every other day, you could double the rated lifespan.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #11
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I assume that this is a gradual loss of available data space and not a total catastrophic failure?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #12
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The P2 system does write verification on every byte of data that gets written to the cards. It also does load leveling to spread out the data across all the memory in the card, so that it will wear evenly.

If a written cell fails to read back properly, it'll get marked "bad" and then move on to the next cell. If I'm reading into this properly, this behavior would manifest itself as a general shrinking of the card's available space. So when your 16GB card starts reporting that it only has 12GB of available space, that'd be a pretty good indicator that it's time for a new card.

The cards will warn you long before they're used up, with a "RUN DOWN CARD" error that displays on the LCD when a card gets put in that's nearing the end of its life. I don't know how "near" to the end of life that message starts appearing; I heard it said at NAB that there would probably still be about 200 rewrite cycles left when the warning comes up, so there should be no catastrophic failures, it should be a very obvious and very gradual transition from usable to run down.

Frankly, I think the "5 year" claim is probably way conservative; the original cards were introduced as being able to handle 100,000 rewrite cycles, which is consistent with SLC memory. The new cards use MLC memory, which should be good for 10,000 rewrite cycles. Once a day every day for five years is not even 2,000 rewrite cycles. I think they're hedging their bets and being extremely conservative.

I'd love to test one to see how long it'll last... but... doing the math, if I put a 16GB card (the smallest "E" series card) in LOOP record mode, it'd fill up (roughly) four times an hour, or (roughly) 100 times per day. At that rate it'd still take over three solid months of continuous running before it hit the 10,000 rewrite limit.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #13
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What about the warranty of the card? How long is it?
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