Western Digital Unveils Enormous 26TB Hard Drive, Speedy New SSDs

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The first terabyte hard drive launched in 2007, and we’ve come a long way since then. Storage heavyweight Western Digital has just announced a new raft of storage products, among them a hard drive with a whopping 26 TB capacity. If that much capacity is a bit much for your needs there are slightly lower capacity models too, as well as new SSDs that might tickle your fancy.

Ars Technica reports that the  top-of-the-line for Western Digital’s enterprise hard drives is the 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670. Just a few years ago, hard drives that were scarcely half that size were the largest you could get, but the massive capacity comes with a tradeoff. WD had to use shingled magnetic recording (SMR) to squeeze more capacity onto the platters. If you recall, the company got into hot water several years back for releasing smaller SMR drives without making that clear to buyers. SMR allows for higher areal density, but that comes at the expense of speed. 

So, these new 26TB drives will appeal mainly to business customers, which is why they’ll only be available under the Ultrastar banner. For the company’s more prosumer lines, WD has a new 22TB drive. Dropping those extra 4 terabytes allowed Western Digital to use conventional magnetic recording (CMR) for high-ish capacity and speedier performance. These drives will appear as Ultrastar, WD Red Pro (NAS), WD Purple (surveillance), and WD Gold (server) products. All of the new hard drives will be available this summer, but pricing has not been released. 

While spinning hard drives still offer the most storage space, SSDs are the speed kings. Western Digital has some of these on the horizon, too. A new Ultrastar enterprise SSD known as the DC SN650 NVMe SSD will operate over PCIe 4.0 with a maximum capacity of 15.36TB of storage. That’s several times larger than the standard SSD storage in even high-end laptops. These drives are being sampled now but will not ship until later this year. 

For non-enterprise environments, there are new WD Black SSDs, too. The SN850X is a small improvement over the last-gen SN850 with PCIe 4.0. It starts at $190 for a 1TB unit with 2 and 4 TB also available. The WD P40 Game Drive is, as the name implies, aimed at gamers who don’t want to replace internal drives. It has a maximum throughput of 2Gbps, but that requires a 20Gbps USB 3.2 2×2 or Thunderbolt 3+ port to reach those speeds. It starts at $120 for 500GB, but there will be 1TB and 2TB versions as well. There’s also the SN740 SSD, which is aimed mostly at OEMs. It might even be in your next laptop, and it comes in a rare 30mm long variant that could replace the internal drive in machines like Microsoft’s Surface computers. We don’t know if it will be made available in retail channels, though.

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