CFexpress is a standard for removable media cards proposed by the CompactFlash Association. The standard uses PCIe 3.0 interface with 1 to 4 lanes where 1 GB/s data can be provided per lane. NVM Express is also supported to provide low overhead and latency. There are 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.
CFexpress 2.0 was announced on February 28th 2019. It features two new card formats ("type A", one lane, more compact and "type C", four lanes, bigger and thicker, up to 4 GB/s). Existing cards are labelled "type B". The NVM Express protocol was upgraded to 1.3.
In the future there are plans to increase the speed further by adopting PCIe 4.0.
|Launched||2010 Q2||2011 Q1||2017 Q1||?||Q2 2016||?||2008 Q3||2012 Q3||2011 Q4||2014 Q1||2017 Q2||2019 Q1|
|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 x4|
|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||1.0 GB/s||1.97 GB/s||1.0 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 would 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 Mbit/s read speed and over 700 Mbit/s burst write speed. This demonstration was performed using a Thunderbolt 3 CFexpress/XQD reader on a  MacBook Pro computer.
On 7 April 2019, Wise Advanced announced the development of their CFexpress cards in capacities 512GB, 256GB, and 128GB, as well as their CFexpress Card Reader, all using CFexpress Type B.
As of October 2017, there were no 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. While supporting only XQD cards at launch, they can be upgraded in firmware to support CFexpress. On 13 February 2019, Nikon further confirmed that CFExpress support via a firmware update will also be coming to the D5, D850 and D500. On 16 December 2019, Nikon released firmware version 2.20 for the Z6 and Z7, adding support for CFExpress.
On 24 October 2019, Canon announced the development of the EOS-1D X Mark III with dual CFexpress slots. The camera was officially released on 6 January 2020, with availability set for that February.
- "CFA 5.1 Press Release" (PDF).
- "CFexpress 1.0 Press Release" (PDF).
- "Industrial CFexpress 1.0 and Industrial CFX 1.0 Cards". Delkin Industrial. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
- CFA announces CFexpress 2.0 specification
- Shilov, Anton. "SD Association Announces SD 7.0 Spec & SD Express Interface: PCIe + NVMe, Up to 985 MB/s". AnandTech.
- "It looks like the strange port on the back of the Xbox Series X is for expandable storage".
I was recently told by a couple of sources that there are cards being shipped out to some testers/devs and they're based on CFexpress
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- prograde digital incorporated
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- "Nikon announced the development of new firmware for the Z6, Z7, D5, D850 and D500 cameras". Nikon Rumors. 2019-02-13.
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- "Nikon Z Series Evolves To Become Even More Powerful: Firmware Ver. 2.20 Released, Adds Support For CFexpress Memory Cards; Paid Service To Install RAW Video Output Function Also Begins". web.archive.org. 2019-12-23. Retrieved 2019-12-23.
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- "A Masterpiece In Engineering And Design: Canon Announces The EOS-1D X Mark III Camera" (Press release). Canon U.S.A., Inc. 2020-01-06. Retrieved 2020-01-29.