Flash storage company Fixstars Launched world’s Largest SSD Drive. The company’s new pair of SSD drives clock in at 10TB and 13TB respectively — larger than the largest spinning disks (Seagate just announced 8TB and 10TB hard drives).
This is the first time, to my knowledge, that we’ve seen a flash storage manufacturer beat traditional spinning disks in terms of absolute storage capacity — but that capability comes at a premium. First, as Fixstars own benchmarks illustrate, the company’s hardware favors steady performance over maximum speed.
These drives aren’t intended for consumers. Fixstars has previously stated that it optimizes its drives for sequential read/write workloads, including object storage, streaming content distribution, CG/VFX production, and video processing. The price tag on the drive further drives (badump-ching) that point home — at $19,000 for the 13TB version, this drive isn’t coming cheap. The total cost works out to about $1.46 per GB — far higher than the current cost of a conventional drive.
On the other hand, this is a 2.5-inch SSD with 13TB of data storage. Some premium is to be expected, given that it’s no trivial task to combine, test, and validate that much NAND per drive. The Fixstars 13000M uses a specialized disk controller designed by the company and 15nm Toshiba MLC NAND memory. Sequential speed is listed as 580MB/s, sequential write is 540MB/s. Power consumption is 3W at idle and up to 6.5W under load.
Finally, while this is technically a 2.5-inch drive, it’s got a 15mm height on it. You won’t be plugging it into a laptop anytime soon. Fixstars primary focus is in software development; the company offered the first CUDA-optimized Linux OS way back in 2010. Many of its current products focus on optimizing multi-core software or development environments that simplify programming for heterogeneous architectures.
Despite the recent advent of 3D NAND flash memory, we don’t expect to see consumer drives hitting these kinds of capacities in the near future. A $19,000 price point is still an achievement in the grand scheme of things, but NAND flash prices would need to fall to between 7-8 cents per GB for this drive to cost under $1,000. 3D NAND isn’t expected to drive costs that low, at least not any time in the near future.