CFexpress is a standard for removable media cards proposed by the CompactFlash Association. The standard will use PCIe 3.0 interface with 1 to 8 lanes where 1 GB/s data can be provided per lane. NVM Express is also supported to provide low overhead and latency. There will be multiple form factors that feature different PCIe lane counts. One of the goals is to unify the ecosystem of removable storage by being compatible with standards already widely adopted, such as PCIe and NVMe. There already is a wide range of controllers, software and devices that uses these standards, accelerating adoption.
On 7 September 2016 the CFA announced CFexpress. The specification would be based on the PCI Express interface and NVM Express protocol.
On 18 April 2017 the CompactFlash Association published the CFexpress 1.0 specification. Version 1.0 will use the XQD form-factor (38.5 mm × 29.8 mm × 3.8 mm) with two PCIe 3.0 lanes for speeds up to 2 GB/s. NVMe 1.2 is used for low-latency access, low overhead and highly parallel access.
On 13 June 2017, Delkin introduced the first CFexpress cards based on the CFexpress 1.0 specification. In February 2018 they released benchmarks, sample units are available in Q2 2018 and production is scheduled for Q3 2018.
|Launched||2010 Q2||2011 Q1||2017 Q1||?||Q2 2016||?||2008 Q3||2012 Q3||2011 Q4||2014 Q1||2017 Q2||?|
|Bus||UHS-I||UHS-II||UHS-III||PCIe 3.0 x1||UFS 2.0||UFS 3.0||SATA-300||SATA-600||PCIe 2.0 x1||PCIe 2.0 x2||PCIe 3.0 x2||PCIe 3.0 x8|
|104 MB/s||312 MB/s||624 MB/s||985 MB/s||600 MB/s||1.2 GB/s||300 MB/s||600 MB/s||500 MB/s||1 GB/s||1.97 GB/s||7.88 GB/s|
On 13 June 2017, Delkin introduced the first CFexpress cards based on the CFexpress 1.0 specification. The cards have a XQD form factor and use two PCIe 3.0 lanes. They come in 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB capacities.
More details on Delkin's CFexpress cards were revealed in February 2018. The cards should be able to be read from and written to with respectively up to 1.6 GB/s and up to 1.0 GB/s benchmarked with CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1. Sample units will be available in Q2 2018 and production is scheduled for Q3 2018.
In a statement to DPReview, ProGrade Digital confirmed that it will launch CFexpress cards in 2018 with the Type-B form-factor (the same as XQD). The 1 TB CFexpress card that ProGrade Digital showed at the Spring NAB show in 2018 demonstrated 1,400 MB/s read speed and over 700 MB/s burst write speed. This demonstration was performed using a Thunderbolt 3 CFexpress/XQD reader on a  MacBook Pro computer.
As of October 2017, there are no known CFexpress client devices released. However, in late October 2017 a Lexar employee stated to Nikon Rumors:
CFExpress is essentially the next revision of XQD, and there should be full backward compatibility with XQD, and that getting D4/D5/500/D850’s to work with CFE cards should be a simple software patch.
On 23 August 2018, Nikon announced their new mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7. Both use XQD cards but will be upgraded in firmware to support CFexpress.
On 7 January 2019, Nikon confirmed at CES that is will bring CFexpress support in a firmware update to the Z6 and Z7.
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- "CFexpress 1.0 Press Release" (PDF).
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- prograde digital incorporated
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