Western Digital's G-Technology brand is well-known in multimedia production circles with products ranging from portable SSDs to multi-HDD RAID enclosures. As part of its Flash Perspective event today, the company is introducing the SanDisk Professional tag for products sold earlier under the G-Technology brand. In addition to new products targeting the prosumers and production houses, existing products are also getting speed bumps with updates in the USB interface.
With increased resolutions and frame rates, content capture on location (as well as post-processing) now deals with huge amounts of data. On the capture side, we have seen multimedia-recording equipment support new card formats such as SD Express, CFast, and CFexpress. These allow capture at speeds exceeding even SATA SSDs, with CFexpress being the current card of choice for professional capture equipment. SanDisk has traditionally played in the consumer market with various memory cards. On the CFexpress side, they have been offering the Extreme PRO lineup - however, the other products in the Extreme PRO category are often meant for the consumer base too. With SanDisk Professional, the company has introduced the PRO-CINEMA CFexpress VPG400 (with a guaranteed 400MBps write speed) for multimedia production houses with the 256GB version carrying a MSRP of $450.
Card readers that integrate into optional card docks are quite popular in the industry, allowing for simultaneous ingestion of content from multiple capture devices. One of the first products in this segment was the Thunderbolt 2-equipped Lexar Professional Workflow HR2, which we reviewed back in 2017. Though Lexar dropped the ball in terms of keeping up with the latest technology, vendors such as ATech Flash Technologies carry products such as the Blackjet TX-4DS. Equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 upstream interface, the TX-4DS supports up to 4 different swappable modules to support a range of physical media (CFast / CFexpress / XQD / Sony SxS / RED MINI-MAG / SDXC / 2.5" SATA / M.2 PCIe etc.). Western Digital has also decided to play in this market - the SanDisk Professional PRO-READER series comes with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C interface (up to 10 Gbps) and supports different types of cards including CFast ($90), CFexpress ($100), RED MINI-MAG ($200), and CF / SD / microSD ($80).
These readers can also integrate into a 4-bay PRO-DOCK with a MSRP of $500. The Thunderbolt dock (with support for traditional USB-C hosts also) includes additional USB Type-C and Type-A ports.
In terms of product upgrades, the G-DRIVE ArmorLock SSD introduced last year with a 2TB SKU now comes with the SanDisk Professional branding and a 4TB SKU. The G-RAID and G-RAID SHUTTLE products with the enterprise HDDs are also getting updated interfaces to work with both Thunderbolt and USB hosts. The entire product portfolio is expected to hit shelves in June 2021.
The G-Technology brand has got significant traction in the professional market. However, SanDisk is better known to consumers moving into the prosumer category and SOHO / SMBs just starting out with video workflows. By retaining the G-Technology product names under the 'SanDisk Professional' tag, Western Digital has managed to create a unified branding for its entire portfolio of products targeting the full spectrum of content capture and post-processing markets.