Samsung unveiled a monster solid-state drive today at the Flash Memory Summit in California, cramming an astounding 16 TB of disk space into a 2.5-inch SSD package. Called the PM1633a, this drive is significantly larger than even the biggest spinning hard drives on the market—the Seagate 8 TB Archive HDD and HGST Ultrastar 8 TB are the largest we carry.
The enormous capacity is made possible by Samsung’s new 256 Gbit NAND flash die, which doubles the density of the SSD builds currently available—like the 128Gbit NAND found in Crucial MX100 for example—by stacking 48 layers of triple level cell (TLC) 3D V-NAND into the die. As a comparison, the Samsung 850 EVO has 32 layers of the same NAND variety.
Samsung apparently demonstrated this SSD in a server stocked a total of 16 TB drives, and charted a performance reaching 2,000,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second), originally reported by the German publication Golem.De and Ars Technica UK.
Obviously Samsung envisions drives of this magnitude as the storage backbone for huge enterprise datacenters.
What might a SSD of this size cost? One can only speculate. Currently the 1 TB Samsung retails for around $400—around $0.40 per GB. Without accounting for a price break by volume, 16 TB worth of Samsung SSD runs $6,400.
Keep in mind that high-performance enterprise hard drives like the Helium-filled 8 TB HGST Ultrastar retail for $575, around $0.07 per GB.
While comparing per-gigabit pricing between consumer-grade solid-state drives and hard drives might be a moot point in 2015, a drive of this size might change the way enterprises think about data storage, especially if performance is a high priority.
One thing that is almost certain about the new Samsung 16 TB SSD—if you have to ask about pricing, you are probably not the intended customer.