Buy an 8GB NOOBS SD card for £5

When we announced our $40 Model B plus SD card bundle back in August, a lot of people asked us whether we could sell the card on its own. It’s taken a little while for us to get around to it, but I’m pleased to say that you can now buy an 8GB NOOBS SD card from the swag store for £4 including VAT, plus £1 UK shipping in the unlikely event you’re not buying other awesome swag.

The NOOBS SD card in all its glory.

This is the same high-speed Class 4 Samsung card that we ship in the bundle, and that we use at Pi Towers on a day-to-day basis. By my reckoning, even if you don’t care about NOOBS, this is currently the cheapest way to get a good-quality 8GB SD card in the UK.


Michael Horne avatar

Great stuff!

James avatar

Ordered 4 late yesterday afternoon. All were delivered this morning. Almost quicker than recycling one of my old ones.

Stuart avatar

Class 4?

liz avatar

Yes. (Anyone who buys a Class 10 card for their Pi just because the number 10 is higher than the number 4, deserves everything they get.)

The class numbers are a bit of a fudge: a good class 4 will be far more use to you than a bad class 10. I’ll copy and paste what we said last time we were talking about these cards:

A note on SD card nomenclature. The card we’re offering here is rated as Class 4 – in some metrics, Class 4 means slow. This is not the case with this card, which has outperformed many Class 6 and Class 10 cards in our tests – classification seems not to correlate well with random read/write performance. Samsung’s unusual focus on random-access performance on their SD memory means that this card performs very fast and very reliably: we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Stuart avatar

I’d knew there’d be a reason. Thanks.

Inky- avatar

My 3 raspi sd cards are all class 4 & they work fine/fast enough.

Inky- avatar

I just bought 3 via paypal, need to buy another raspi now.My original is running openELEC atm.

Inky- avatar

My cards just arrived, only took 1 day & they are class 6.

madlou avatar

Mine are class 6 too :)

EdwinJ85 avatar

I sadly have a suite of class 10 cards I got when I first got my PI as I didn’t know about the random access speed. They work ok, But I always feel like I could be getting more out of a class 4 :(

32Gb cards are wonderful for Raspbmc mind.

McCloud avatar

Is there an easy way of testing the speed of existing SD cards that I have?
I have various class cards, all of which seem fine, but it would be nice to know which ones are actually working best.

Chavaquiah avatar

If you have a Windows machine (Vista, 7 or 8) try the builtin winsat.exe tool. See for reference.

When trying to select SD cards to use as a ReadyBoost drive on an older notebook I discovered that older class 4 (and even 2) cards where usually much better at random reads/writes than newer class 10 cards. For instance one Integral 16GB Class 10, capable of over 18MB/s sequencial reads, drops to less than 1MB/s in random 512KB writes. One Samsung Class 6 with little more than 12MB/s sequencial reads achieves almost 4MB/s writing random 512KB blocks.

J Michaels avatar

Some OSs (e.g., MINT Linux) have a disc utility which will test your SD/MMX/thumb-drive read AND write speeds.

Gordon avatar

sudo apt-get bonnie++

This is a superb app which tests block read / writing and random reading / writing. It’ll give you a good idea of how good each card is

CostaRica avatar

sudo apt-get install…?

J Michaels avatar

You are the closest I’ve come to finding an expert on this subject of speed, so please have a go at this:

I bought a premium brand-name SD card designed for use in digital cameras. Its specs on R/W are in the 50/30 MB/s range (code for “pretty expensive”).
Would use of this SD chip improve the speed of the RPi noticeably?
Many thanks in advance…

Know avatar

To clarify what all these speeds mean.

Class 4 means that you are guaranteed a minimum of 4 mbps speed. A class 10 means you are guaranteed a minimum speed of 10mbps. This can be important for video recording because it can cause issues if you hit minimum speeds that are below your recording bandwidth and result in stutter.

Now most cards than advertise maximum speed, they usually advertise them like 40X or etc. Though sometimes they just give you raw numbers like 18mbps.

But all these numbers are again for consecutive right. Not random read/write. So you are wondering if your 30/50mbps card means good speed? The answer is nobody knows. You have to test it yourself.

This is not limited to SD cards, I am sure you all heard about how awesome mbps the brand new SSD is. The numbers they advertise is always the consecutive read and write. So in reality it is the most useless number you will ever see. Because you will almost never be limited by consecutive read/write unless you are copying gb/tb worth of data. It is important for video, but for computers those numbers are generally useless. The numbers you are more interested in is access times and 4k read and writes.

There are review sites that do testing on SSDs. For SD cards, such reviews exist but they are harder to come by.

Gordon avatar

Actually the class is only write speed not read speed. So a class 4 card is capable of 4MB per second and a class 10 is capable of up to 10MB per second.

Unfortunately due to the slightly limited software we’re only able to get about as far as 6MB so a class 10 isn’t going to help at all.

When it say 30/60MB on the card, they are trying to say about the read speed. This isn’t really limited by the card because reading is much faster than writing… Using bonnie++ you’ll find that you card will be able to get close to about 20MB/s read speed! This is actually limited by the maximum speed of the data bus which is 50MHz (and 4 bits therefore 25MB/s is theoretical maximum). But the card you’ve both has another mode that we don’t (yet) support for UHS (Ultra High Speed) which allows for higher clock frequencies but also requires a lower voltage to the SD card.

Now why do people think that a higher class means it must be better, and why do class 10 cards sometimes run slower?

Well, to achieve class 10 speeds you have to make certain tradeoff’s, this means the blocks that you erase and write in (there is a minimum size of block that you have to erase) are bigger meaning that writing can be made more efficient if all you are doing is writing to it contiguously.

Why would anyone design a card to do this? Well of course SD cards were developed for use in camera’s and media storage type solutions where you basically write contiguously to the card until it is full! So actually this is exactly what you want, you want to sacrifice read speed (the time it takes to read all the files off the card onto your computer) for write speed (the maximum bitrate of your video!)

Whereas for Raspberry Pi and computer systems in general read speed is far more important for the execution speed than write speed (except in a small set of cases like writing video !) The reason things feel slow in general is because of the lag is doing things and that’s usually because of the filesystem having to read stuff out of the storage!

Guess I should really have written a blog post about it but you get the idea!


liz avatar

Of course, if you would *like* to write a blog post about it, you’re welcome!

Gordon avatar


As soon as I have the time to do it… Could do it in front of the TV tonight, it’d be more interesting!


Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Really good idea about a blog post Gordon. Bust some myths about SD cards. You’ve written a good chunk of it already too :)

andrum99 avatar

Is this a micro-SD card in an adaptor? Also, do you have any plans for a bigger “official” card?

Michael Horne avatar

That’s a very good question – it certainly *looks* like one doesn’t it!

Dave Akerman avatar

Yes, I’ve bought a few NOOBS bundles and they’ve all been micro SD in an adapter.

Which, for me, is great as I replace the adapter with one of those flush ones, this removing the risk of the SD card being bent sideways during flight. That happened in Babbage’s second flight thus resulting in kernel messages over the air!

jdb avatar

Yes, this is a micro-SD card in a full-size adapter.

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

An 8 Gig SD card with pre-loaded OS for £5 delivered. That’s amazing value :)

Of course, I now want a 32 Gb with Windows 8, wheels, a sandwich and it must have touch as well :rolleyes:

gert avatar

No, you don’t want windows 8! :-)
(Let there be flame wars)

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

LOL. I know I don’t! :) I’d happily ditch Windows altogether if I could, having learnt a fair bit of Linux since the Pi came along. Sadly some clients require stuff done on Windows only software :(

EdwinJ85 avatar

Have you heard of SteamOS? It’s in it’s infancy right now but basically it’s debian with all sorts of gaming goodness on top that supports all sorts of nice things.

I really, really hope it goes well. Little is worse than doing a reformat of a non linux machine if you can’t find the blumming key…

PS: It seems Debian is taking over the desktop world all over, with this and the recent strides in popularity Ubuntu has made…

Rik avatar

If this was Facebook I would “like” that comment :)

Matt avatar

Finally! An excuse to justify buying a Babbage the Bear for myself :)

Ashley Reid avatar

It would be nice to have a converter for the pi for a micro sd card that does not stick out to save space if you want. Just a thought.

Ben Nuttall avatar
IrishFramboise (AlanMc) avatar

Oooo tidy idea from Pimoroni =o) *like*

& for Swag card : great value indeed with Noobs preloaded for round €6 for us Eurozoners. That’s certainly going in the basket for next order! (Pity I just bought two, more-expensive “empties” here yesterday)

Andrew avatar

Looks like good value. Has anyone got a screenshot of crystaldiskmark for this card?

Mike Redrobe avatar

I ran a crystaldiskmark on the card here:

Excellent random write performance !

IL avatar

Does the store ship internationally?

guru avatar

It does!

Stephen avatar

Bah hurumpffh just bought one of eBay :( fir nire

Rich avatar

It’s beaauutifull

bertwert avatar

Totally off-topic:
How do you have images in the post?
(Profile picture like: )
Thanks :)

bertwert avatar

Images don’t work here arghh
( <img src="URL"></img> )

Inky- avatar

Go to the forum, go to your user control panel, click on profile then choose edit avatar.

AndrewS avatar

That works for the forums, but I believe to set a profile-pic on these blog comments you need to use gravatar.

Inky- avatar

I do use gravatar though. ;)

J Michaels avatar

How do I get this, or a similar, deal in the US?

guru avatar

The Swag Store does ship worldwide. That’s about your best bet.

AndrewS avatar

Suddenly makes look rather expensive ;-)

Jim Manley avatar

So, the touchscreen and interface module are out of stock in all sizes from with no estimated restock date. Does anyone have a second (preferably cheaper would be nice) source for these displays and the appropriate interface module, and the manufacturer/model number of these parts? Thanks!

AndrewS avatar

Methinks you’ve commented on the wrong blogpost…?

Jim Manley avatar

OOPS! That’s what I get for posting before noon on a Saturday (local)! Thanks, Andrew :oops:

Mods, feel free to delete the miscreant post to which this refers.

Ralph Corderoy avatar

Would be nice if the Swag store had information on shipping costs, at least to the popular destinations. I couldn’t find anything obvious without proceeding to the second stage of check-out?

Nick avatar

If one clicks on the “pay with Paypal” button on the front page it seems to omit the shipping charge, while if one orders two using the other checkout option it charges for two lots of shipping.
Are these errors ??

Chris Whelan avatar

When buying via PayPal, the delivery charge is added later. It is at the same rate however you buy, that is £1 per card.


guru avatar

Shipping will be calculated when you enter your country details. With Paypal, this comes at a later stage. The £1 shipping rate is for a single card. It’s weight based, so you can get a few cards into the £2 band.

Ewlie avatar

Hi Liz

Do you have any details regarding what shipping to Australia costs?


Gregor avatar

These cards are great. I bought it in a bundle with RPi to run OpenELEC. i though it’s so cheap i will just try it and it it’s slow i will use it for somethign else. i was not dissapointed. everything is working great and fluent. it’s good to see it in Swag store as well. this note about test should be a pop up :-D

andy avatar

even with the non-uk £3 shipping costs, this works out at around the same price (or maybe a bit cheaper) than an equivalent 8gb micro SD from the shops here.


Bought. Thanks! and now I’ve got a cool raspi-themed micro SD adaptor :)

DeeJay avatar

The price is right, so no complaint about that. And delivery was very prompt.

But the version of NOOBS on my card delivered today was 1.3.1 dated 2013-11-02, and the version of Raspbian included was dated 2013-09-25

Maybe it doesn’t matter, because the Second step of the README file on the card says “Format the SD card using the platform-specific instructions below.” – after which I won’t have a ‘pre-installed’ card any longer!

Alex avatar

Will you be getting some more of these back in stock soon?

liz avatar

We will: check back in a couple of days.

Benoit Lachance avatar

Liz, out of curiosity, can you share how many were sold, how many are on their way?

Thank you,

Comments are closed