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16TB SSD Announced by Samsung

In the consumer hard drive world you’ve got two choices: hard disk drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD). The latter is a newer technology. It offers quicker data access times due to the fact that it’s a flash medium. Unlike a HDD which has mechanical parts, SSDs can access the data instantly. They’re also less prone to failure because of it.

However, it’s not all rosy. The biggest downside to SSDs is that they’re expensive when compared to a HDD. That’s not to say they’re cost prohibitive, but many consumers often have a SSD to store their operating system on (thus accounting for quick boot times) and then a large HDD for the rest of their data.

Part of this is down to the cost, but also because SSDs aren’t commonly known for their large amounts of storage space. But as technology changes and costs decrease over time, that’s changing. And so it continues with Samsung’s latest announcement of a 16TB SSD.

This new drive is powered by the tech company’s 3D vertical-NAND flash memory chips, which they claim is the world’s highest capacity computer storage device. The drive offers a real storage amount of 15.36TB.

The announcement was made at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California, an annual meeting. Though no price was announced, nor availability, it was speculated by Ars Technica that the drive will not cost any less than £5000.

Currently, the drive will only be marketed to data centres and other enterprise markets which have a need for huge speed and capacity requirements. However, this sort of technology often begins in the enterprise world and then works its way down to consumers when the cost has become more reasonable, so it’s a good look at what could be offered in the future.

At the moment, Samsung’s highest capacity offering for SSDs to consumers are their 2TB 850 Pro and 850 Evo drives, both recently launched.

For this drive, Samsung have used 480 of its 256GB third generation V-NAND flash chips. Each chip has 48 layers of NAND cells. The drive itself has a typical 2.5 inch enclosure, but it is actually overall twice as thick as those found in consumer products.

According to Samsung, they are the leader in storage density and the number of layers possible on a V-NAND chip. Their third generation chips are said to be 2.2x faster and up to 63 percent more power efficient than the preceding generation.

Up to 48 of these drives can fit into a standard server chassis, allowing for a total of up to 768TB of storage. Comparatively, enterprise magnetic hard drives have reached capacities of up to 10B; while lower in actual storage space, they have a far greater advantage when it comes to the individual cost per unit.

There’s no doubt that other storage companies will continue to innovate and try to beat Samsung’s 16TB drive – in the storage world, the race to get things smaller, faster, higher capacity and cheaper is paramount.


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