Current options for full-size SD card reader?

So Framework has been taunting us with exciting videos about building a full size SD card reader expansion card, but, as far as I know it is not ready. In fact, the marketplace placeholder currently says:

there’s a chance it could change or even be canceled

So. Right now I read my SD cards with a very old, USB-A card reader. It’s sloooow. I’m not sure exactly why: it used to feel pretty fast, but maybe it’s getting old? Or my photos are bigger?

In any case, I can’t help but feel that having a native, USB-C card reader, would be much faster. I don’t absolutely need it to be an expansion card per se, but it would sure be nice…

What’s the pronostic on actually getting a device directly from Framework? Any news? It seems like the tinkerers in this category have struggled to make existing controllers fit. For example, in DIY full size SD card reader? - #9 by Charles_Borsos, it is said:

And in I found an SD card reader that fits - #49 by ATi

There’s also SD Card Expansion Card but that’s based on the GL823 which, as far as I can tell, is USB-2.

Full size SD Card Reader Prototype - #28 by Ramon_Gonzalez Is quite promising, as it mentions a " Monoprice USB Type-C to SD 4.0 Card Reader" but that link died some time back. Amazingly, it’s not even available on monoprice itself which is kind of infuriating: if you’re going to deprecate a product, sure, okay, not in stock and never going to come back, but could you at least keep the spec on there ffs? :slight_smile: Amazon, usual evilness aside, does this correct and still has the product listed, of course also unavailable: Amazingly, some reviewer there even says it can be hacked into the Framework laptop. Other reviews, unfortunately, claim the reader is slower than others…

Full size SD Card Reader Prototype also has discussions on designing a case and which chips to use, but nothing definitive…

So, what should I buy? Assuming that Framework itself is not going to give us a nice new year gift, is there anything that might eventually fit in a 3d-printed case and provide decent performance?

Or is the answer just “go get an anker already”?


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Currently, your safest bet would be a USB-C hub/docking station that includes an SD-Card reader.

As I already mentioned, the correctly sized card reader from Delock has thermal issues, so I cannot recommend it, until I have tested it thoroughly.

I am using this one, it works fine:

A buildin one would be obviously nice, but this is good enough for me for now.

What speed grade are your SD cards? It looks like only the fastest cards would saturate USB 2 hi-speed.

I have been using the card reader ATi found, and modified it for use in an Expansion Card, so I can give some performance and experience I got with it. My 32 GB SD Card is a SanDisk Ultra Plus rated for up to 80MB/s, OS is Win11.

Copying photos of 5 and 16MB size (jpg and nef) from card to laptop happened at a consistent 80MB/s speed. Copying them back to the Card happened at 12-15MB/s. With a 1.1GB test file (7z file) I got 80-85MB/s to the laptop, and 15-16MB/s to the sd card. I believe I am bottlenecked by the sd card here, which’d be a good thing for the reader.

To handle the thermal concerns raised I have left an opening in the bottom of the Expansion Card, and attached a cheap heatsink with thermal pad to the controller. That way the cooling for the controller is better than it was in the original case, so I am not worried about any thermals. The heatsink does extend over the bottom of the card, but on a flat table it just barely does not touch the surface. What is problematic tho is the idle power consumption, which via HWInfo seems to amount to roughly 1.5W. It’s not a card to keep plugged in all-day.

Not shown on those pics is the wrap with electric tape I applied afterwards, to ensure the reader stays in place. With that, it’s surprisingly sturdy and can be plugged in and out without issues.

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Has this one been mentioned before?

Somewhat: i linked to I found an SD card reader that fits - #49 by ATi, but not directly I found an SD card reader that fits - #18 by CSab6482:slight_smile:

Thanks for the tryout and the report. Its power consumption was to be expected as the origin of the heat. It should be only plugged in when used immediately and removed right afterwards.

I plan to switch its casing with an official Framework USB-A expansion card to achieve the same result, without having anything sticking out, by applying the thermal pad to the other side of the expansion card and transferring the heat via the official expansion card’s metallic lid to the laptop chassis. Finally, inserting the USB-C-to-A adapter into the former card reader casing to use it as a dedicated adapter.

Btw, do you have any tips regarding the removal of the card reader out of its metallic casing without breaking it?

That sounds very interesting. I hope you’ll share the results here as I’m currently not 100% satisfied with how my solution looks, and I do have a spare USB A-Card…

I used a little knife to gently pry open the transparent lid on the USB-C side, until it would just pop off without any serious damage. I’ve disposed of the casing, so can’t recreate any pictures sadly.


Okay, so that`s the DELOCK 91498: Card Reader, extern, USB 3.1, Type-C, SD bei reichelt elektronik that has hefty shipping fees outside of Germany / Europe. I guess the next step for me would be try to figure out what a clone of that thing would be that I could buy locally (Canada)…

Thanks for all the input!

Bad news!
The plan to put the sd card reader into the USB-A casing won’t work out, because the offical USB-A expansion cards output port casing is made out of metal and I lack the means to enlarge the port cutout under those circumstances.

The sd reader pcb is also too large to fit inside the USB-A casing anyway.

So I have to fall back to a 3D printed casing and use the original plastic cover for the port cutout part.

Nevertheless, I’ll have to file away part of the pcb on the sides to be able to put it inside the casing, as well as cut the plastic port cover to make it fit, then test if the card reader still usable. I’ll report back here, as soon as I’m done with that. It might take some time as I’m still busy setting up my FL16, which arrived the day before yesterday.

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I did it!
It was quite some tedious handiwork to file the pcb by hand to avoid damaging it, but in the end it worked out, the SD-Cardreader Expansion Card is done and working:

This is how it looks installed into the Framework Laptop 16:

There might be a better solution for the port cutout, but I’m going to keep it like this for now, until I come up with a better solution. For the time being it’s: :champagne: Mission accomplished! :tada: