Western Digital (WD) used the CES 2020 in Las Vegas to give an outlook on upcoming storage media. It is still a prototype, but what WD has in the pipeline there sounds very promising.
SSD prototype and USB stick with marketability
WD gives a brief outlook on the future. The manufacturer presented a compact, mobile SSD that shows where to go. The SSD is just the size of a USB stick, but offers 8 TB of storage space. Thanks to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, a blazing fast data transfer of up to 20 Gbit/s should be possible. When the prototype will be ready for the market remains to be seen. While the SSD only has prototype status, WD also presented a market-ready product in the form of the Duo Drive Luxe USB flash drive. This offers up to 1TB of storage space and has both a USB C and a USB A port.
SSD with massive storage space
At present, SSDs in the compact 2.5-inch format offer a maximum of 4 TB of storage space. The even smaller representatives in the trouser pocket format can show off with a maximum of 2 TB. If you’re looking for larger storage capacities, you’ll also have to live with a correspondingly large data carrier. For example, the G-Technology G-Drive Pro Thunderbolt SSD with 7.68 TB of storage measures 21 cm in length. With 6 kg it is also anything but a lightweight. Now SanDisk shows that it can be done differently in the future. Exact dimensions are not known, but the manufacturer speaks of a size that corresponds to an average palm.
Fast transmission speed
The transfer standard according to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is still rarely found in portable SSDs. Interestingly, WD was the pioneer among the manufacturers in this area as well. With the WD Black P50 Game Drive, WD was the first manufacturer to release a storage medium with this standard. At this year’s CES, manufacturer Seagate introduced the FireCuda Gaming SSD. This also offers USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Although both SSDs match the transfer speed of the SanDisk prototype, they still come nowhere near the large storage capacity.
In the future more and more memory
As chips are developed further year after year, we can expect more and more storage space on less hard disk size in the future. WD has so far remained silent on details of the memory used in the prototype. The memory experts have been working with Kioxa. Together, the two companies have developed the fourth 3D NAND generation. This is called BiCS4. But they are not yet satisfied with that. They are already preparing the market launch of the BiCS5, which is based on a 128-layer architecture.
Dual Drive Luxe USB C from SanDisk
The Dual Drive series from SanDisk has some interesting features. The USB sticks offer many different connections. This is to achieve maximum compatibility. Separate adapters should not be necessary for this. The Dual Drive Luxe supports USB A on one side and USB C on the other. Some of the technical details have also been leaked. USB 3.1 with a transfer rate of 5 Gbit/s is used.
Price and availability of the USB stick
According to the manufacturer, the new series is to be released later this quarter. The USB stick is available in the sizes 32 GB (10.99 USD), 64 GB (14.99 USD), 128 GB (24.99 USD), 256 GB (45.99 USD), 512 GB (89.99 USD) and 1 TB (249.99 USD). It remains to be seen whether the stick with 1 TB of storage space will actually be that much more expensive or whether it is simply a mistake.