Sabrent has confirmed that it is ready to launch its first 16TB (and likely only 2.5-inch) SATA enterprise SSD this summer.
“Back [in December 2020] when this 16TB SSD was announced, shortly afterward, Phison encountered problems with the controller used and canceled the project,” a spokesperson said. Pro.
“The good news on the issues has been fixed and we expect to see engineering sample SSDs very soon. So in summary it will be produced soon, in the next few months if all goes well after testing the samples.”
16TB M.2? Not so fast
The unit will likely use Micron’s 96-layer QLC packages with a Phison E12S controller. We don’t know what the price will be, but given that you can buy an 8TB SSD for just $749 (Samsung 870 QVO from Amazon (opens in new tab)), we’d be unpleasantly surprised if Sabrent sold its massive 16TB drive for more than $1,500, below the $100/TB price point.
The target audience will be companies that want to replace old 2.5-inch hard drives that have reached their capacity limit. No new 5TB 2.5-inch laptop drives have been announced in recent years; vendors such as Seagate and WD have focused their efforts on 3.5-inch models, with 20TB models now available and 50TB models in the pipeline.
An esteemed editor of our sister publication anandtech wrote in 2019 that no one wants more than 16TB per SSD, but Sabrent is convinced there would be huge demand for one, likely driven by post-Covid demand. And the company already produces a portable SSD of this capacity that includes two 8TB SSDs.
When will we see a 16TB M.2 class SSD? There are many obstacles, even if the technology exists.
Micron announced a 232-layer NAND chip earlier this year, with Chinese YTMC likely to follow suit in late 2022. That’s more than double the capacity of the 96-layer NAND used by Sabrent in its Rocket Q SSD and should be enough for up to 19.2 M2 TB SSD. And controllers shouldn’t be an issue, as technically there’s no hard upper limit to storage capacity.
The biggest problem remains power, both in terms of consumption and heat dissipation. Could the current M.2 specification provide enough power without the need for an external power supply? The jury is still absent.