Western Digital combines with Fortnite and we benchmarked it!

Let’s be very, very honest – Epic’s little game Fortnite was an absolute no-brainer at launch. A stylized shooter with great performance and just ok shooting won’t get us out of bed these days. That said, adding the build mechanic and converting it to a then-new mode called Battle Royale made the game absolutely explode. Fast forward to today and the Epic team has made some great connections with companies like the NFL, Marvel’s Avengers, John Wick, Stranger Things, Star Wars, Rocket League, Ghostbusters, God of War, Halo, The Walking Dead, Predator, TRON, Avatar, Rick and Morty, Batman, Tomb Raider – this list could go on and on. However, one thing they haven’t done is endorse a specific piece of hardware. Well, that recently changed when the Epic Games team teamed up with Nintendo to create a Fortnite-branded microSDXC card just for the Nintendo Switch. I got my hands on one and decided to run it through the benchmark glove instead of just snapping a shot, saying “neat” and calling it a day. When a company like Western Digital delivers a disc with a specific badge from their SanDisk line, I wanted to see if it lived up to their usual quality. Let’s go there.

Like all my benchmarks, I ran everything you see below at least 3X to make sure the results are consistent. For reference, a microSDXC card typically has a maximum read speed of 130MB/s, and let’s break down those letters. Micro means… well, it means it’s small. In this case, the smallest you buy as a consumer is slightly larger than your index fingernail. The four letters after it have some specific meanings, so let’s break those down further as they are far from interchangeable.

If you have a microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC or microSDUC card they all look the same, but I can assure you they are far from that. A microSD has a capacity of only 2 GB or less. Moving to microSDHC, where SD stands for Secure Digital and HC stands for High Capacity, moves that limit to 32 GB. Of course we see how stupid it is to call something “high capacity” or “new technology”: – if you look at Windows NT – because it only takes a while for them to be old technology and no longer fast. The microSDHC does just that, moving the bar from 2GB to a maximum of 32GB, which was a lot at one point. The microSDXC is where we are as consumers today, with the XC standing for “eXtended Capacity” because EC would have been too hard I think. It supports a capacity of more than 2 TB. The last card type is the microSDUC, where UC stands for… oh come on, now. Apparently it stands for “Ultra Capacity”. Absolutely stupid naming convention aside, these are monster cards, with support from 2TB to 128TB. Realistically, you’d never use anything this big on your portable devices, with the possible exception of high-speed cameras. With the alphabet soup explained, let’s go back to the microSDXC and be glad they didn’t call it “Extreme”.

Aside from the silly naming convention, it’s important to look at benchmarks, especially when it comes to companies slapping their logo or design on a third-party device. Here we have the exception to the rule, as SanDisk is the manufacturer here. (To catch up, SanDisk is the subsidiary of storage giant Western Digital that operates many of their portable storage platforms.) This means we should be getting the same top card as if we bought a high-performance card from the company. Still, it’s better to be sure, so we benchmark – let’s get to it.

For reference, SanDisk’s proprietary Ultra PLUS 256GB microSDXC UHS-I memory card advertises a maximum read speed of approximately 130 MB/s. In our own testing, we find that they average around the 90MB/s range, while cheaper cards are closer to the 80s. Here we see that these cards deliver in that high-end range with 95MB/s read and 83MB/s write. Writing speed is another aspect that can vary greatly, so it’s good to see consistency here. Speaking of consistency, let’s take a look at my other favorite benchmark tool – ATTO.

What we see is that there is a progressive slope for both reads and writes that is remarkably consistent throughout the work cycle, reaching roughly the same high watermarks that we saw in CrystalDiskmark.

In this case, there are two different versions of this card – one in black and one in bright pink. The black card has a capacity of 128 GB and the pink one doubles that for 256 GB of storage. Most Nintendo Switch games are relatively small, with the largest being NBA 2K21 at 39.4 GB. Aside from the bloated NBA series, most games are in the 8-15GB range, meaning you can keep about 8-10 games on the black card, doubling that on the larger card, of course. That makes it perfect for the Nintendo Switch, for example.

The black card and pink card, as you can see below, are patterned after the Skull Trooper and the Cuddle Team Leader. Rare outfits in their own right, the team wanted to deliver not only great storage, but also an extra icing on the cake. To that end, each of these cards will also include an “Angular Flow Wrap”. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s an extremely rare wrap that is normally a bargain that will set you back 500 V-Bucks. The last time this was available in store rotation was all the way back on September 8, 2019, all the way back to Chapter 1, Season 10. If you missed it then, now’s your chance.

With very consistent results in terms of performance and a thumbs up to the looks department, the only thing left to talk about is the price. The aforementioned Ultra PLUS 256GB microSDXC UHS-I memory card costs $49.99 – the same exact price as the 256GB version of this card. Likewise, the unbranded 128GB card costs about $26.99, as does this black Trooper card. It’s great to see extra value at no extra cost (looking at Nintendo with your $5 surcharge!), so it’s a thumbs up all around.

I’m hesitant to rate any of these analyzes as there isn’t a huge range of cards to test against for this market. Instead, I give my thumbs up seal of approval on the cards themselves. They provide reliable and fast storage for your Nintendo Switch without breaking the bank, they come with the same excellent 5 year warranty and they look good. Plus you get a sweet wrap!

Ron Burke is the editor-in-chief of Gaming Trend. Ron, who currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas, is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platform games, music games, and has recently taken up table gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master’s rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also ranks in several other styles in his quest for a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs – Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).

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