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Samsung Unwraps PM1633a, A 16TB SSD With Hefty Tag Price: What Are The Affordable SSD Options Available?

15 August 2015, 7:03 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
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Samsung has unveiled the world's highest-capacity solid-state disk, the new PM1633a, which is a whopping 16TB SSD that fits into a 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure.  ( Samsung Tomorrow | Tech Times )

Samsung just unveiled a whopping 16TB solid-state drive (SSD), which is likely the highest-capacity hard drive in the world.

The highest-capacity conventional hard drives from Western Digital and Seagate, for instance, top out at a maximum of eight or 10TB, but Samsung went well beyond that.

Unveiled at the Flash Memory Summit in California, Samsung's new PM1633a SSD manages to pack 16TB into a tiny 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure, boasting 120 times more storage than an entry-level MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

As Ars Technica points out, Samsung was able to achieve this performance thanks to its new 256Gbit (32GB) NAND flash memory, which offers twice the capacity of conventional 128Gbit NAND flash chips that various chip makers commercialized in 2014. For this impressive density, Samsung crammed no less than 48 layers of 3-bits-per-cell (TLC) 3D V-NAND in just a single die, upping the number of layers from 24 in 2013 and 36 in 2014.

"With the introduction of our 3rd generation V-NAND flash memory to the global market, we can now provide the best advanced memory solutions, with even higher efficiency based on improved performance, power utilization and manufacturing productivity, thereby accelerating growth of the high-performance and the high-density SSD markets," Young-Hyun Jun, Samsung Electronics President of the Memory Business, touted in a press release this week.

In other words, Samsung's new PM1633a SSD comes packed with 48 layers that contain 500 256Gb/ 32GB NAND flash chips; therefore, it is marketed with a capacity of ~16TB.

Most regular consumers may not need (or afford) such a high-capacity SSD, but a 16TB hard drive could prove a powerful ally for enterprise applications. It's also worth pointing out that the new Samsung PM1633a SSD is roughly twice the height of conventional drives typically found in laptops, which prompted the company to demonstrate its new SSD in a server with 48SSDs that reached nearly 768TB in total capacity.

SSDs have already started to gain more ground and they're only expected to grow even further in the future. Samsung's latest achievement is an important milestone in this journey to replace traditional hard drives with SSDs.

The company has yet to offer any pricing details for its new PM1633a SSD, but it's safe to assume it won't come cheap. In fact, it may cost upwards of $5,000, so it may be a good idea to look into other SSD options out there.

With SSDs on the rise, consumers can take their pick from a range of good options with more affordable price tags, although they won't offer a whopping 16TB.

The 240GB SanDisk Extreme Pro, for instance, can be a great option for gamers and power users who want to maximize their home computer's performance, and it starts at $120 from retailers such as Amazon or Adorama. Prices vary depending on where you buy it; however, Dell sells the same SanDisk Extreme Pro for $170, for instance.

The Samsung 850 EVO SSD is another good option, and it currently sells for as little as $89.99 for the 250GB version or $175.90 for the 500GB variant on Amazon.

The Crucial MX200 is another great option and costs just $179.99 for the 500GB version on Amazon.

When it comes to powerful 1TB SSDs, the Mushkin Reactor is among the most popular choices, currently selling for $365.60 on Amazon.

All of these come at a fraction of the impressive 16TB capacity of the new Samsung PM1633a SSD, but also at a fraction of the cost. The latest and greatest usually come with a price to match, and the PM1633a is definitely not a budget SSD.

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