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Panasonic offers big and fast SD card--for $700

If you want high data transfer speeds (20 megabytes per second) in a 32-gigabyte SD flash memory card--an industry first, Panasonic asserts--prepare to pay up for it.

Panasonic's 32GB SDHC card, with a 20MB-per-second transfer rate, will cost about $700. Panasonic

Panasonic announced a new SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) flash card on Tuesday that offers both high speed and lots of space for those willing to pay.

The 32-gigabyte card, called the RP-SDV32GU1K, is due to ship in April for about $700. It's a high-speed "class 6" card that can transfer data at speeds of 20MB per second--the world's first at the 32GB capacity, Panasonic asserts.

SD is the dominant format for flash memory, and with the newer SDHC technology that extends capacity beyond 2GB, it's begun spreading into space-gobbling videocameras. SanDisk, a top flash card brand, announced a 32GB SDHC card costing $350 in January, but it transfers data a notch slower, at 15MB per second.

One major flash card alternative to SD, CompactFlash, can transfer data at a maximum of 45MB per second. However, top transfer speeds are often more useful when copying files from a flash card, since cameras and videocameras often can't write data at those top speeds.