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article imageSamsung unveils the world's largest consumer SSD

By James Walker     Jul 11, 2016 in Technology
Samsung has announced the world's highest-capacity 2.5-inch SSD designed for the consumer market. The drive can store up to 4TB of data, the same as a high-end hard drive, while outperforming mechanical disks on every metric and using less power.
Samsung's 850 EVO line of relatively budget-friendly SSDs has been renowned among PC enthusiasts since its launch in 2014. After initially debuting in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities, Samsung added a 2TB option last year. Today, it's back with another new variant, this time packing 4TB of high-performance storage into a 2.5-inch drive.
The capacity increase isn't the only change Samsung has made. To facilitate the higher storage, Samsung has upgraded the SSD's controller and changed the NAND type. The older 850 EVOs use its 32-layer 128Gbit TLC V-NAND. The new 4TB model is based on an upgraded form of TLC V-NAND, using 48 layers and a 256Gbit connection. The memory is considerably more dense, allowing Samsung to squeeze 4TB into the 2.5-inch form factor.
Stated performance is the same as the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB 850 EVOs. The drive should deliver sequential read speeds of 540MB/s and sequential writes of up to 520Mb/s. When completing random reads, it can manage 98,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second). Random writes are stated at 90,000 IOPS.
Samsung 850 EVO
Samsung 850 EVO
Samsung
Performance isn't really the point of this drive though. With the 4TB 850 EVO, Samsung is demonstrating that SSDs are ready to achieve parity with mechanical hard drives. For many years, you've had to make a choice when buying PC storage. Either you take the high-performance but low-capacity SSD or you have the high-capacity but sluggish hard drive.
By adding a 4TB option to its consumer line of SSDs, Samsung is suggesting a single SSD is now capable of handling all your storage needs. Whereas before you'd have an SSD for your system and a hard drive for files, now you'll be able to keep everything in one place.
The drive connects over the traditional SATA storage interface. It can fit into any PC case and connect to any motherboard, unlike other high-capacity SSDs. Earlier this year, Samsung released a 15TB drive with read and write speeds of up to 1,200MB/s.
There's still one major issue to overcome before SSDs can truly replace hard drives though. The 850 EVO 4TB edition has an eye-watering price of $1,499. Considering you could build an entire gaming PC on that kind of budget, it seems unlikely the drive is going to make an appearance in many PCs, even in situations where it could be useful.
For comparison, a typical 4TB 3.5-inch hard drive retails at around £120. Until SSDs are able to match hard drives on pricing, most people are likely to continue using a small SSD for their operating system and a larger hard drive on the side for files.
As SSDs become more widespread, prices will fall. Eventually, they should reach parity with HDDs. This is already emerging at lower capacities but the extra manufacturing effort involved for larger drives keeps options above 1TB priced high. As it stands, the 850 EVO 4TB is an elite drive in a class of its own, even if it is placed in Samsung's reasonably-priced EVO line.
More about Samsung, Ssd, Storage, Memory, ssds
 
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