It has been almost five years since Samsung debuted what was at the time the largest solid-state drive (SSD) in terms of capacity anywhere in the world. The PM1643 was, for a considerable amount of time, the top storage device; however, it did come with a hefty price tag. In the year 2020, it had a suggested retail price of just under $8,400, and now, three years later, it has a whopping $4,939 price tag attached to it.

The Intel SSDPFWNV307TZ, which will soon be rebranded as the Solidigm SSD D5-P5316, recently experienced a price reduction and is now available for less than $2,699 at Walmart (and Newegg) (opens in new tab). This will soon all change due to a relatively new product that is about to enter the market. Given that 4TB PCIe Gen4 drives struggle to break the $100/TB barrier, this is quite an accomplishment given that the cost of this drive is just over $87/TB.

Although Kingston’s NV2 2TB SSD could be purchased for $110 at the time of this writing, a 4TB WD Black SN850 retailed for $399.89 at the time of this writing, which makes it more expensive than Solidigm’s on a per-terabyte basis. Solidigm’s D5-P5316 uses 144-layer QLC technology to achieve write and read speeds of 3.6 GBps and 7 GBps respectively. It was born out of the acquisition of Intel’s NAND business in 2021 and the subsequent spin off by SK Hynix. Both of these events took place.

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The proliferation of supersolid-state drives (SSDs).

The proliferation of supersolid-state drives (SSDs).

Nimbus Data’s Exadrive SSD has a capacity of up to 100 terabytes of data but costs approximately forty thousand dollars, which is a fivefold increase in price compared to Solidigm’s D5-P5316. High capacity SSDs are gradually becoming more commonplace.

Kioxia, Seagate, Samsung, Micron, and Solidigm, in addition to a host of smaller players (Nimbus Data, Dapustor Union Memory, Teamgroup, ScaleFlux, and Memblaze), are competing for the enterprise market as consumer demand for storage components continues to decline.

Hard disc drives are still relatively inexpensive, but they have a number of drawbacks, including a higher electricity consumption (which results in a greater amount of heat), a higher risk of malfunction (due to the presence of mechanical parts), a general increase in weight, a significant decrease in speed, and a slow but steady increase in storage capacity. The absolute maximum capacity of hard disc drives currently available on the market is 26 terabytes, but it is anticipated that later this year 30 terabyte drives will become available.

Price (as low as $17 per TB, which is five times lower than the P5316) and the huge installed base of existing hard drives, which makes it easier to just replace HDD rather than rip-and-replace or upgrade, are the only two things that make hard drives still attractive to hyperscalers like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook.

While some services, such as cloud storage and cloud backup, are happy to make use of hard drives, others, such as web hosting, are eager to get rid of the bottleneck that spinning discs present.

Since Kioxia, Samsung, and Micron are already ramping up production of NAND technology that uses 230 layers or more (at least a 50% increase in capacity), it is only a matter of time before solid-state drives (SSDs) reach parity with hard disc drives in terms of the amount of data they can store per terabyte.

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