Best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD Cards

by Bret
Published: Last Updated on 13 minutes read

After a few years of hearing nothing, and then “There will be no Raspberry Pi 5 in 2023” we have a Raspberry Pi 5. Surprise! This means that it’s time for me to test and let you know what the best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD cards are from my exhaustive collection. Will the usual suspects be at the top? Will the Pi 5 surprise us with its microSD card speeds?

If you don’t yet have the Pi 5, I have articles covering the best Raspberry Pi 4 microSD cards, as well as general single-board computer microSD benchmarks! And if you’re looking to see how the Raspberry Pi 5 performs as a whole, check out my comprehensive Raspberry Pi 5 Review & Comparison.

Raspberry Pi 5 microSD Card Benchmarks

I’m going to be using fio to run the usual sequential read, sequential write, random read, and random write tests with a 4KB block size to be able to compare with those I’ve done in other tests. These are all performed on an ext4 filesystem with a partition spanning the entirety of the disk.

Each test is then run 5 times, with the average of those 5 runs being the data you see below. It’s worth remembering that the sequential read and write speeds are not the most important thing when it comes to everyday usage. The random reads/writes are going to be a better number to look at, though the sequential speeds don’t hurt, obviously!

Sequential Read (MB/s)Sequential Write (MB/s)Random Read (MB/s)Random Write (MB/s)
Sandisk Ultra (8GB)29.719.646.270.62
Sandisk Ultra (16GB)41.811.1212.422.53
Sandisk Ultra (32GB)39.3914.4912.842.57
Sandisk Extreme (64GB)43.9928.6912.764.26
Sandisk Extreme PRO (128GB)39.8928.5511.964.08
Kingston Canvas Select Plus (32GB)64.1618.1210.32.53
KIOXIA EXCERIA (32GB)40.6313.3915.026.18
Samsung EVO Plus (32GB)69.917.3714.872.42
Amazon Basics (64GB)67.3441.3723.236.84
Amazon Basics (128GB)67.225.8921.176.67
Verbatim Premium (16GB)36.029.7312.463.47
SanDisk MAX ENDURANCE (32GB)43.1223.6911.723.86
Integral ultima PRO (64GB)17.8414.086.425.86
Patriot EP Series (64GB)70.7531.6611.743.58
Kodak (64GB)44.4821.935.741.34
Intenso (64GB)71.1733.8522.146.43
Transcend (32GB)78.4620.1319.275.07
Samsung EVO Select (32GB)69.0616.7116.582.7
Samsung PRO Plus (128GB)59.3327.0518.713.09
SanDisk HIGH ENDURANCE (64GB)38.720.698.793.43
Samsung PRO Endurance (32GB)69.7920.217.752.7
Silicon Power 3D NAND (32GB)61.9818.9619.133.93
Western Digital Purple QD101 (32GB)33.8816.9510.674.0

Fastest microSD Cards for Raspberry Pi 5

And the winner of Bret’s Best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD Card is..

1st Place: Amazon Basics (64GB)

Our old friend, the Amazon Basics microSD card, sits at the top of yet another “Best Of” test, only falling behind on the sequential read speeds, where the Transcend (32GB) card hit an impressive 78.46MB/s. The 128GB model was very close, though I feel it’s a little unfair to put them both up here so based on value, I’ve selected the 64GB option as my number 1.

2nd Place: Intenso (64GB)

Taking an overall 2nd place thanks to great random read/write speeds, we have the Intenso (64GB) microSD card. It’s not the most well-known brand, but it’s holding its own here!

3rd Place: Transcend (32GB)

It was super close between the Transcend (32GB) and Samsung PRO Plus (128GB) for 3rd place but thanks to the Transcend’s slightly higher random write results, I’ll go with that. It was extremely close though and if you trust Samsung as a brand over Transcend, it may still be your choice.

Best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD Card

Having mentioned the brand trust aspect in the last section, I feel it’s fair to point out that whilst I do my best to test as clearly as possible, these numbers don’t always tell the same story. Typically, the well-known brands are going to fare better in the long run, so picking a brand you trust, or have had a good track record with in the past may be more important to you than a number being slightly bigger in a table, and that’s perfectly fine!

Best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD Cards - Underside of Raspberry Pi 5
The grimy under belly of a Raspberry Pi 5 being tested..

The best Raspberry Pi 5 microSD card is always going to be subjective, so hopefully, the wide range of numbers across some of the most popular brands and models will help you to choose the best microSD Card for the Raspberry Pi 5 that’s just dropped on your doorstep.

For me, I fully endorse the Amazon Basics microSD card range and whilst at first, I was sceptical, they’ve continued to top the tables in my tests. I even tried to catch them out by ordering from 3 different storefronts over the course of 18 months and they’re all high-quality cards that reach the same numbers.

Do you have a favoured brand when it comes to microSD cards for your single-board computers? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to know if there’s a brand/model I’m missing out on and who knows, I may add it to my testing suite, I have 7 spaces in my microSD card holder..

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Craig 20/11/2023 - 05:05

I have a lot of PNY. They’re usually the cheapest I find, and haven’t let me down yet. The pi has been the bottleneck though. Lately I’ve been stocking up on Samsung. Looks like they should do well when I get my pi5.

Bret 20/11/2023 - 16:55

Hah! I did have a PNY card in my initial fleet of benchmarking microSD cards but it died after about 5-6 tests annoyingly. Most of the Samsung ones will do just fine, yup!

Anon 10/12/2023 - 09:48

Test Kingston SDCIT2/64GB (or 32GB)

Bret 10/12/2023 - 10:25

I’d love to test every available card but unfortunately I don’t have any plans to purchase any new ones at the moment. I’ve added the 32GB model to my wishlist at though so if you/someone else wants me to test a specific card, buying it from there will enable that and I’ll test it in the board(s) requested :)

Chris Tilley 31/01/2024 - 14:48

That surprised me the Sandisk HE took that big of a performance hit whereas the Samsung HE did not. Do you know if these tests are indicative of the performance of these cards as a whole regardless of platform?

Sam 04/02/2024 - 01:38

I wish your post elaborated on how you ran fio, so I could test my sd card and see how far off the results could be.

Plonk Korma 16/03/2024 - 20:39

After testing cards on a Pi 4, the one test I trust most is a complete install of a big software, such as Libreoffice (or whatever), it really slowed down my old Samsung Pro card that was really fast in other tests. The card was good for a camera, great even, but bad for Pi when updating or installing.

Bret 16/03/2024 - 20:56

Yup, that’ll be the random reads/writes that will be much slower than those you’d find in a camera which is just writing sequentially!

Quixers 20/03/2024 - 18:44

What was the testing method used here for reference?

Bret 22/03/2024 - 17:59

Hi! For this piece I was using fio and the full command would be fio --randrepeat=1 --ioengine=libaio --direct=1 --gtod_reduce=1 --name=test --filename=mount/test --bs=4k --iodepth=64 --size=1G --readwrite=XXXXX where XXXX at the end is either read, write, randread, or randwrite. Names/filenames are likely a little redundant there and you may want to remove/change them based on your setup if you’re going to repeat the test!

Alice 24/04/2024 - 10:44

Just bought an Amazon Basics (64GB) after reading your tests. Installed the latest raspberry pi os on it and inserted it into my new raspberry pi 5. Got lots of ext4-fs errors just after a few days. It auto repaired a few times during boot at first. But now it just dont finish booting any more.
Either my new rpi5 is broken, or the SD card Amazon Basics (64GB) sucks…

Bret 24/04/2024 - 11:15

Oh! It could be a few things I guess. I have 8-9 of these from various batches and bought from various regional storefronts in “production” at the moment and I’m yet to have an issue (well, one was DoA but Amazon quickly replaced).

Have you tried re-flashing the card and seeing if it still works then? What were you running on the Pi itself out of curiosity? Was it anything particular disk intensive? I’d be curious to know what errors you were getting exactly, and perhaps the additional details on the disk (I think sbc-bench with -S still works to get this, or PiBenchmarks disk test will show it) to see when it was made and by who. It’s possible Amazon are swapping manufacturers out (which is why I regularly buy from multiple storefronts so I can check and re-test if necessary) so that’d be a good check.

Alice 27/04/2024 - 16:39

What I got from lshw : vendor:Unknown(173), version:1.0, date:12/2023.
The most disk intensive task I can think of was encrypting the rootfs via cryptsetup (ISO-flash + cryptsetup, 3 times, to find the right settings for rpi-os-bookworm).
Once the filesystem was encrypted, I apt installed a bunch a software, switched back to Openbox desktop, updated some scripts via Geany, watched a few videos online via Firefox, and did some remote gaming via Moonlight-qt.
I ISO-flashed + cryptsetup the card again, and after a few hours and reboots, got fs errors again.
This time I saved them :
[ 91.714684] EXT4-fs error (device dm-0): ext4_lookup:1855: inode #390575: comm pool-pcmanfm: iget: bad extra_isize 32699 (inode size 256)
[ 141.750361] mmc0: Card stuck being busy! __mmc_poll_for_busy
[ 145.009576] EXT4-fs error (device dm-0): ext4_lookup:1855: inode #390575: comm cli: iget: bad extra_isize 32699 (inode size 256)

[ 148.733949] EXT4-fs error (device dm-0): ext4_lookup:1855: inode #390578: comm xdg-desktop-por: iget: bad extra_isize 17240 (inode size 256)

[ 263.222687] EXT4-fs error: 7 callbacks suppressed
[ 263.222692] EXT4-fs error (device dm-0): ext4_lookup:1855: inode #390577: comm pool-pcmanfm: iget: bad extra_isize 20630 (inode size 256)

dalepres 22/05/2024 - 09:44

The best kept secret in all computer-dom, and I was hoping to see the answer exposed on this page but it was not, secret is still safe and never revealed anywhere that I can find, is what is the largest SD card that the RPI 5 will work with. Official specs page doesn’t address it. Several links in the forums do not address it even when it’s the title of the forum thread. There are all kinds of guesses and “I’ve heard” or “I think”, but not one person ever says, “I’ve done” or “I’ve used” with a card over 128GB. There are guesses that it will work with a card of 1TB, other guesses of 2TB, but hundreds of RPI 5 pages in the RPI community and not a single page I can find that gives either the actual spec maximum or even actual experienced maximum of any modern sized card.

Bret 22/05/2024 - 09:50

I agree that it would be nice, though I don’t really have an interest in spending $150+ on a single microSD card like that to test the theory myself, even more if I decide to do 256/512/1024/1536 to see if it craps out at some point 😄 I guess it’s similar for others. At that price point you can buy an NVMe hat and a 1TB NVMe drive and I know which I’d prefer currently 😅


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