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Samsung 256TB E3.L NVMe SSD

Here’s what Samsung’s 256TB SSD looks like — and no, you still won’t be able to fit it into your workstation

A new look at Samsung’s gigantic 256TB first teased earlier this month found that it uses the new E3.L EDSFF form factor and adopts an “accordion” structure to greatly expand the available space for NAND chips.

The unit, spotted at Flash Memory Summit 2023 by Serve the house, it’s definitely the highest capacity SSD we’ve seen. But it will probably be a while before you can take full advantage of it. For starters, it doesn’t have a serial number, and there’s little information on the retail price or release date. Because of this, it looks like a prototype device.

For reference, the largest SSD we met otherwise is the Nimbus ExaDrive 100TB SSD, which has a price tag of $40,000. Otherwise, they top out at around 64GB, with most commercially available SSDs having much lower maximum capacities, such as the 16TB Teamgroup QX SSD.

Energy saving

Many new enterprise SSDs, meanwhile, are adopting the E3.S form factor, but Samsung’s 256TB SSD uses E3.L EDSFF and is a bit bulkier as a result, Serve the Home said. The accordion structure is bolted on as a means of accommodating the additional NAND packages, because there is not enough PCB space to accommodate all 64 1Tb QLC V7 NAND drives.

Instead of pushing the performance advantages, Samsung has positioned this unit as a means to save energy. Its press release, for example, claims that a single 25ssd6TB SSD consumes seven times less power than eight 32TB SSDs. It is aimed largely at hyperscalers and business users looking for improvements in efficiency, in terms of physical space and energy consumption.

It remains to be seen how significant the 256TB Samsung E3.L QLC SSD might be in the enterprise space. It’s also hard to predict the price, should this prototype go into mass production, and you’d expect it to come in priced far above the Nimbus’ $40,000 price tag. That said, the potential energy savings could appeal somewhat to hyperscalers willing to invest.

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