4TB SSD Roundup: All 4 TB & 8 TB Solid State Drives in 2023

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4TB SSDsIf you work with storage-heavy apps or simply want quick access to your entire Steam library, there is no substitute for a high-capacity SSD. 4TB SSDs are now quite common, but we are also starting to see 8TB models in the consumer market.

From a manufacturer’s perspective, building SSDs in capacities up to 8TB and beyond is more of a pricing issue than an engineering challenge. Although common in data centers, the largest SSDs are simply too expensive for mass market adoption. Nevertheless, the cost of Flash memory has been dropping for some time. And thanks to the arrival of cheaper chips in the form of high-density TLC (triple-level cell) and QLC (quad-level cell) NAND, it is now easier than before to justify investing in large drives.

Here, we’ve rounded up the best 4TB and 8TB SSDs from major manufacturers as of early 2023. The number of alternatives has grown significantly in the past year and there are now quite a few high-capacity drives available in all common form factors.

Quick Links
Fastest Vs. Best Value 4TB SSDs
4TB M.2 (PCIe/NVMe) SSDs
4TB 2.5″ SATA SSDs
4TB Portable SSDs
8TB SSDs

Fastest Vs. Best Value 4TB Gen4 M.2 SSDs

Cost per GB is always a key factor when buying a storage device, and it is of course particularly important when shopping for a high-capacity SSD. Other than performance, it is mainly the type of Flash memory used that determines the price tag. Newer drives based on QLC (quad-level cell) memory tend to be cheaper, but also slower and offer less endurance than high-end SSDs based on TLC (triple-level cell) chips.

This quickly becomes apparent when comparing some of the fastest 4TB SSDs versus the most affordable.

Product
Fastest 4TB M.2 SSD
WD_BLACK 4TB SN850X NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, Up to 7,300 MB/s - WDS400T2X0E
Best Value 4TB M.2 SSD
Crucial P3 Plus 4TB PCIe Gen4 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, up to 5000MB/s - CT4000P3PSSD8
Image
WD_BLACK 4TB SN850X NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, Up to 7,300 MB/s - WDS400T2X0E
Crucial P3 Plus 4TB PCIe Gen4 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, up to 5000MB/s - CT4000P3PSSD8
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
7,300 MB/s
4,800 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
6,600 MB/s
4,100 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
1.2M IOPS
N/A
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
1.1M IOPS
N/A
Warranty
5-Year
5-Year
Endurance rating
2,400 TBW
800 TBW
MSRP
$699
$399
Fastest 4TB M.2 SSD
Product
WD_BLACK 4TB SN850X NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, Up to 7,300 MB/s - WDS400T2X0E
Image
WD_BLACK 4TB SN850X NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, Up to 7,300 MB/s - WDS400T2X0E
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
7,300 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
6,600 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
1.2M IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
1.1M IOPS
Warranty
5-Year
Endurance rating
2,400 TBW
MSRP
$699
Check Price
Best Value 4TB M.2 SSD
Product
Crucial P3 Plus 4TB PCIe Gen4 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, up to 5000MB/s - CT4000P3PSSD8
Image
Crucial P3 Plus 4TB PCIe Gen4 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, up to 5000MB/s - CT4000P3PSSD8
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
4,800 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
4,100 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
N/A
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
N/A
Warranty
5-Year
Endurance rating
800 TBW
MSRP
$399
Check Price

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The WD Black SN850X is currently one of the fastest M.2 SSDs overall and does particularly well in benchmarks that mimic real-world usage, like 3DMark Storage and PCMark 10. It’s also backed by a solid 2,400 TBW endurance rating, meaning that it should withstand 600 full drive write/erase cycles before wearing out.

At the affordable end of the spectrum – but still utilizing the fast PCIe 4.0 interface – we find the Crucial P3 Plus. This drive uses cheaper QLC NAND of the modern 176-layer variety but still offers an attractive mix of performance and value. Although its endurance rating is lower compared to the high-end alternatives, the P3 Plus ships with the same industry-standard 5-year warranty, which is not always the case in the entry-level space.

List of 4TB M.2 (PCIe/NVMe) SSDs

PCI Express-based solid state drives in the M.2 form factor are the first choice as system drives, as they offer much higher performance than their 2.5″ SATA counterparts. However, some of the most popular high-end drives such as the Samsung 980 PRO are not available in 4 TB capacities. Many of the 4TB or larger alternatives are technically entry-level M.2 SSDs and frequently use more inexpensive parts, e.g. QLC NAND. Here is an extended list of current 4TB M.2 PCIe SSDs at the time of writing, roughly sorted by performance.

 NameMax. sequential read/write (MB/s)4K random read/write (IOPS)NANDEndurance rating (terabytes written)Latest
Price*
Check
Availability
WD Black
SN850X (4TB)
7300/66001.2M/1.1MTLC2,400 TBW$399.89Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Kingston
Fury Renegade (4TB)
7300/70001M/1MTLC4,000 TBW$529.99Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Kingston
KC3000 (4TB)
7000/70001M/1MTLC3,200 TBW$509.77Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Seagate FireCuda
530 (4TB)
7300/69001M/1MTLC5,100 TBW$596.00Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Corsair MP600
Pro XT (4TB)
7100/68001M/1.2MTLC3,000 TBW$534.99Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Mushkin Gamma
(4TB)
7200/6890660K/1.25MTLC3,000 TBW$525.75Amazon
Amazon UK
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus (4TB)7100/6600650K/700KTLC2,800 TBW$599.99Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
PNY XLR8 CS3040 (4TB)5600/3900N/AQLC900 TBW$710.88Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Mushkin Delta (4TB)4975/3975700K/650KQLC800 TBW$525.75Amazon
Corsair MP600 Core (4TB)4950/3800630K/580KQLC900 TBW$584.99Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Sabrent Rocket Q4 (4TB)4950/3550350K/700KQLC800 TBWPrice not availableAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Crucial P3 Plus (4TB)4800/4100N/AQLC800 TBW$413.08Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Adata XPG SX8100 (4TB)3500/3000240K/290KTLC1,280 TBWPrice not availableAmazon
Newegg
Adata XPG S40G (4TB)3500/3000290K/240KTLC2,560 TBW$385.00Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
PNY CS2130 (4TB)3500/3000N/AQLCN/A$783.68Amazon
Newegg
Crucial P3 (4TB)3500/3000650K/900KQLC800 TBW$413.08Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Corsair Force MP510 (4TB)3480/2000580K/680KTLC6,820 TBW$464.99Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Sabrent Rocket Gen3 (4TB)3450/3000580K/650KTLC6,000 TBWPrice not availableAmazon
Amazon UK
WD Black SN750 (4TB)3400/3100550K/520KTLC2,400 TBW$499.98Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Corsair MP400 (4TB)3400/3000610K/710KQLC800 TBW$1,018.53Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
OWC Aura P12 (4 TB)3400/3000600K/600KTLCN/A$479.00Amazon
Amazon UK
Sabrent Rocket Q (4TB)3200/3000550K/680KQLC1,040 TBWPrice not availableAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
Mushkin Alpha (4TB)3200/3000550K/640KQLC900 TBW$517.00Amazon
Newegg
Amazon UK

*Prices are updated automatically at regular intervals but are subject to change between updates.
Note that all drives with sequential speeds above 3,500 MB/s require a PCI-Express 4.0 (PCIe Gen4) platform to reach their full potential. The PCIe Gen4 interface is present in consumer platforms based on:

  • AMD X570, B550, or TRX40 motherboards paired with a 3000/5000-series Ryzen/Threadripper CPU (or later)
  • Intel Z590 and other 11th-gen motherboards paired with an Intel Core CPU from the same generation (or later).

Some highlights from the list (other than those mentioned above):

1. High-End 4TB M.2/NVMe SSD: Kingston KC3000

kingston kc3000Launched in 2022, the Kingston KC3000 is among the fastest 4TB M.2 SSD at the time of writing. It is based on the Phison E18 controller and ultra-fast 176-layer Micron TLC NAND. These are the same parts as found in the Seagate FireCuda 530 (see below), but Kingston’s model seems to offer slightly better performance than the average E18 drive. Note that this drive is also available in a slightly faster version sold under the name Fury Renegade.

Check availability: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

2. Superb Endurance & Performance: Seagate FireCuda 530

Seagate Firecuda 530Seagate’s FireCuda 530 uses the same controller as the KC3000 and offers stellar sequential read/write performance at 7,300 MB/s and 6,900 MB/s, respectively. The 4TB model also comes with an exceptional endurance rating of 5,100 TBW, making it a top choice for video editing and other storage-heavy workloads.

Check availability: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive

3. Great Gen4 Performance for Less: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Sabrent’s Rocket 4 Plus was one of the performance leaders in the M.2 space last year but now often sells for less than the leaders mentioned above. It still performs very well in a Gen4-capable system, offering sequential read speeds in excess of 7,000 MB/s and write speeds that are not far behind. 

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

List of 4TB 2.5″ SATA SSDs

If you are looking for lots of fast internal storage space at a more reasonable cost, SATA drives should (and usually do) offer lower prices per GB compared to their M.2 PCIe counterparts. For quite some time Samsung was the only manufacturer with 4TB or larger consumer SSDs in the market. More recently, Western Digital/SanDisk and Seagate have also started to offer high-capacity alternatives.

These are the leading 4TB 2.5″ SATA SSDs available at the time of writing.

# NameMax. sequential read/write (MB/s)4K random read/write performance (IOPS)NANDEndurance rating (terabytes written)Check Price
1Seagate FireCuda 120 (4TB)560/540100K/90KTLC5,600 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
2Seagate IronWolf 125 (4TB)560/54095K/90KTLC5,600 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
3Samsung 860 PRO (4TB)560/530100K/90KMLC4,800 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
4Samsung 870 EVO (4TB)560/53098K/88KTLC2,400 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
5Samsung 870 QVO (4TB)560/53098K/88KQLC1,440 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
6Seagate IronWolf 110 (3.84TB)560/53585K/45KTLC7,000 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
7WD Red SA500 (4TB)560/53095K/82KTLC2,500 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
8WD Blue (4TB)560/53095K/82KTLC600 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
9SanDisk Ultra 3D (4TB)560/53095K/82KTLC600 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
10Samsung 860 EVO (4TB)550/52098K/90KTLC2,400 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
11Seagate IronWolf Pro 125 (3.84TB)545/52096K/30KTLC7,000 TBWAmazon
Newegg
Amazon UK
12Exascend EXSC3 (4TB)540/53085K/80KN/AN/AAmazon
Newegg
13Adata Ultimate SU630 (3.84TB)520/45040K/65KQLC800 TBWNewegg

Sequential performance is fairly similar across the board, which is not surprising considering that the SATA interface has been fully utilized by leading SSDs for many years. However, the 2.5″ form factor is still interesting as it offers higher capacities at (usually) much more attractive prices per GB. It is, of course, also the only alternative if you have no spare M.2 slots. Some of the highlights worth mentioning include:

Samsung 860 PRO1. Still a Market Leader: Samsung 860 PRO

The 860 PRO is quite possibly the last drive from Samsung to use high-quality MLC NAND. Like previous Samsung PRO-series SSDs, it has a rock-solid reputation for reliability, endurance, and not least performance. It has been around for several years now but is still one of – if not the – best SATA SSD you can get your hands on. Unfortunately, its MLC chips also make this drive significantly more expensive than most of the competition, which is particularly noticeable in the largest 4TB capacity.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Seagate Firecuda 1202. Great Performance & Value: Seagate Firecuda 120

For most users, a high-end, MLC-based SATA SSD like the Samsung 860 PRO does not represent value for money at this time – not least because spending that much will get you a significantly faster PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD. If you nevertheless want a high-end model, a better case can be made for the Seagate FireCuda 120. This relatively recent drive, launched in 2020, now tops the performance charts in key areas, while also offering an exceptional endurance rating at 5,600 TBW for the 4TB capacity.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

WD Blue SATA3. Affordable & Reliable: WD Blue 3D NAND

You may have noticed that the WD Blue 3D and SanDisk Ultra 3D specifications are identical. This is because these two drives indeed are identical in all but name and branding (SanDisk is a subsidiary of Western Digital). However, the WD Blue 3D NAND tends to be slightly cheaper for some reason, thus making the choice between the two a no-brainer. Although its endurance rating is relatively poor compared to other 4TB SSDs, the WD Blue has one of the best overall user ratings in the segment. At the same time, real-world performance is comparable to much more expensive alternatives.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

8TB SSDs: Largest SSDs in the Market

While significantly larger capacities are available in the enterprise market, eight-terabyte consumer SSDs appeared only recently and are still not numerous. Most use QLC NAND memory to keep prices at a reasonable level and there are very few options in the high-end segment other than the Rocket 4 Plus.

Product
Best Value 8TB 2.5
SAMSUNG 870 QVO SATA III 2.5" SSD 8TB (MZ-77Q8T0B)
Best Value 8TB M.2 SSD
SABRENT 8TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive R/W 7100/6600MB/s (SB-RKT4P-8TB)
Image
SAMSUNG 870 QVO SATA III 2.5" SSD 8TB (MZ-77Q8T0B)
SABRENT 8TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive R/W 7100/6600MB/s (SB-RKT4P-8TB)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
560 MB/s
7,000 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
530 MB/s
6,000 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
98K IOPS
700K IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
88K IOPS
1M IOPS
Warranty
3 years
5 years
Endurance rating
2,880 TBW
6,000 TBW
MSRP
$849
$1,999
Best Value 8TB 2.5
Product
SAMSUNG 870 QVO SATA III 2.5" SSD 8TB (MZ-77Q8T0B)
Image
SAMSUNG 870 QVO SATA III 2.5" SSD 8TB (MZ-77Q8T0B)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
560 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
530 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
98K IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
88K IOPS
Warranty
3 years
Endurance rating
2,880 TBW
MSRP
$849
Check Price
Best Value 8TB M.2 SSD
Product
SABRENT 8TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive R/W 7100/6600MB/s (SB-RKT4P-8TB)
Image
SABRENT 8TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive R/W 7100/6600MB/s (SB-RKT4P-8TB)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
7,000 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
6,000 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
700K IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
1M IOPS
Warranty
5 years
Endurance rating
6,000 TBW
MSRP
$1,999
Check Price

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The most affordable 8TB SSD by a wide margin is the Samsung 870 QVO. Unsurprisingly, there is also a rather wide performance margin between this SATA drive and any PCIe NVMe SSD. One of the more recent additions to the M.2 SSD market is the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, which is also the best-performing 8TB drive at present.

As mentioned, the list of 8TB consumer SSDs is not particularly long at this point in time, and availability is often limited.

teamgroup qxOne SATA Alternative: Teamgroup QX

At the time of writing, there is only one non-enterprise competitor to the 8TB Samsung 870 QVO and the Teamgroup QX is it. In fact, this drive is also available in an even more capacious (and expensive) 15.3TB variety. Like the 870 QVO, the QX is based on QLC NAND and should offer about the same performance. They are also priced about the same, though the Teamgroup QX comes with an inferior endurance rating at 2,000 TBW versus the QVO’s 2,880 TBW.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Other 8TB M.2 NVMe/PCIe Models
Corsair MP600 Pro XT1. Corsair MP600 Pro XT

One of the very few high-end M.2 drives that come in an 8TB version is the Corsair MP600 Pro XT. This flagship SSD from Corsair uses premium 176-layer NAND memory chips and the Phison E18 controller, resulting in sequential read/write performance of 7,100 MB/s and 6,800 MB/s, respectively. Random performance in the 4TB and 8TB capacities is also very impressive at 1M/1.2M read/write IOPS. The endurance rating is 6,000 TBW. Additionally, it comes bundled with a large aluminum heat spreader that is not optional but can be removed if it doesn’t fit in your build.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Sabrent Rocket Q 4TB NVMe SSD2. Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB

We have previously reviewed the 1TB model of the Rocket Q and found it to be an attractive M.2 drive from a price/performance perspective. As its name implies, the Sabrent Rocket Q uses QLC memory chips to keep costs down, but it still offers more than decent sequential performance at 3,300 MB/s (read) and 2,900 MB/s (write). The endurance rating for the 8TB capacity is 1,800 TBW.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Corsair MP4003. Corsair MP400 8TB

Corsair’s MP400 is another recent release based on high-density QLC NAND. Its specifications are quite similar to the Sabrent competitor at 3,480 MB/s sequential read and 3,000 MB/s sequential write transfer rates. The same goes for the endurance rating, which is 1,600 TBW for the 8TB model. Considering the large capacity, these ratings are actually fairly low. This is however compensated to an extent by the sheer amount of storage space. Unless you shuffle lots of data around on a regular basis, any 8TB SSD is highly unlikely to wear out before the warranty expires.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

External/Portable 4TB SSDs

If you just want lots of really fast storage to go, you actually have quite a few options. Unlike hard drives, solid state drives are not limited by the size of spinning platters, only on how the manufacturers decide to arrange the memory chips and layout of the PCB. Therefore they may vary greatly in size and shape.

What to keep in mind when shopping for an external SSD include the drive’s rated performance and its interface. The best-performing drives use either the USB 3.2 Gen2 or Thunderbolt interfaces. Here are some of the most popular models right now.

Product
Price
Crucial X6 4TB Portable SSD – Up to 800MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C - CT4000X6SSD9, Black
Portability
SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-4T00-G25
Performance
WD_BLACK 4TB P50 Game Drive SSD - Portable External Solid State Drive SSD, Compatible with Playstation, Xbox, PC, & Mac, Up to 2,000 MB/s - WDBA3S0040BBK-WESN
Crucial X6 4TB Portable SSD – Up to 800MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C - CT4000X6SSD9, Black
SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-4T00-G25
WD_BLACK 4TB P50 Game Drive SSD - Portable External Solid State Drive SSD, Compatible with Playstation, Xbox, PC, & Mac, Up to 2,000 MB/s - WDBA3S0040BBK-WESN
Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
800 MB/s
1,050 MB/s
2,000 MB/s
Interface
USB 3.2 Gen2
USB 3.2 Gen2
USB 3.2 Gen2
Warranty
3 years
5 years
5 years
MSRP
$449.99
$699.99
$749.99
Price
Product
Crucial X6 4TB Portable SSD – Up to 800MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C - CT4000X6SSD9, Black
Crucial X6 4TB Portable SSD – Up to 800MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C - CT4000X6SSD9, Black
Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
800 MB/s
Interface
USB 3.2 Gen2
Warranty
3 years
MSRP
$449.99
Check Price
Portability
Product
SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-4T00-G25
SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-4T00-G25
Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
1,050 MB/s
Interface
USB 3.2 Gen2
Warranty
5 years
MSRP
$699.99
Check Price
Performance
Product
WD_BLACK 4TB P50 Game Drive SSD - Portable External Solid State Drive SSD, Compatible with Playstation, Xbox, PC, & Mac, Up to 2,000 MB/s - WDBA3S0040BBK-WESN
WD_BLACK 4TB P50 Game Drive SSD - Portable External Solid State Drive SSD, Compatible with Playstation, Xbox, PC, & Mac, Up to 2,000 MB/s - WDBA3S0040BBK-WESN
Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
2,000 MB/s
Interface
USB 3.2 Gen2
Warranty
5 years
MSRP
$749.99
Check Price

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are also a few other high-capacity alternatives on the external SSD market:

Oyen Digital U32 Shadow Dura – This is, unsurprisingly, a close relative to the previously mentioned U32 Shadow from Oyen Digital. The difference is that it comes in a more durable rubber-enclosed case, making it shockproof and somewhat water-resistant. At least according to the manufacturer (we could find no IP-rating though). Check price >>

istorageiStorage diskAshur PRO2 – If you value security higher than any other aspect, then – and only then – this might be the drive for you. It comes with a code lock and all the military-grade security certifications you can imagine. You also get AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption. Check price >>

BUSLink driveBUSlink Disk-On-The-Go External Slim Portable – BUSlink offers external SSDs in sizes all the way up to 7.68 GB. In other words, they likely use enterprise SSDs from Samsung or Micron inside. The drive uses the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface, offering up to 10 Gbps of bandwidth. Unfortunately, BUSlink doesn’t provide any more detailed performance data. Check price >>

owc express 4m2OWC Express 4M2 NVMe – OWC’s 4M2 is a configurable cabinet with the capacity to house up to 16TB of ultra-fast SSD storage space using four internal slots. Thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 interface, it reaches transfer rates of up to 2800MB/s. Interestingly, it’s also equipped with a DisplayPort output. Check price >>

Memory Types and Endurance Ratings

As you may have noticed from the specs, the main differentiator in the different 2.5″ SATA price brackets is not so much performance as it is endurance measured in terabytes written (TBW). For the vast majority of users, this is not a major concern, since none of the drives listed above are likely to wear out before all other parts of the computer have turned to scrap.

Comparison of different NAND memory types

More recent NAND allows for storing additional bits per cell, with the drawbacks of reduced endurance and performance.

What mainly affects the endurance rating is the type of NAND memory chips use. These are exemplified in Samsung’s 2.5″ lineup by:

  • the 860 QVO, which uses quad-level cell (QLC) NAND chips
  • the 860 EVO uses triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, and finally
  • the 860 PRO, which is one of the increasingly rare SSDs that still use multi-level cell (MLC) NAND.

MLC memory is the oldest NAND generation, but still the superior technology in terms of performance and endurance. MLC has been mostly replaced by the newer and denser TLC type, which is somewhat slower and less durable. The most modern and least durable type today is QLC.

Additional bits in every cell increase the number of charge states in each transistor. This makes them more prone to voltage drift and other issues that need to be corrected, which is a reason why high-density NAND doesn’t perform as well.

Of course, the newer memory types are not without advantages. The main one is that the higher densities allow for lower production costs. And as for performance, the difference is quite small as long as you are on the bandwidth-limited SATA bus. Compared to other technologies, modern QLC SATA drives offer an attractive price/performance calculation, unless you plan on putting the drive through extremely heavy use.

Summary

If money is no object, or you happen to run a data center, it’s possible to buy SSDs in much greater capacities than 8TB, such as Samsung’s 30.72 TB PM1643. Enterprise drives are only limited by what businesses are willing to pay – which is typically a lot more than the average consumer. Prohibitive prices are what hold back ultra-high-capacity SSDs in the consumer space today.

NAND memory

Evolution of NAND Flash memory.

The good news is that SSD prices have dropped at a steady pace, partly thanks to smaller production processes (in nanometers), but mostly thanks to additional bits per cell. However, the cost per GB is obviously still high compared to mechanical hard drives. For most PC builders today, the most cost-effective solution is still to combine a lower-capacity SSD with a slow conventional hard drive for backups and other files that are not frequently accessed.

On the other hand, some categories of users can definitely take advantage of large amounts of fast storage space, which is an advantage for everyone working with large files. Photo-, video- and audio editing come to mind.

The options are still somewhat limited, but it is 100% certain that we’ll see more high-capacity SSDs in the future. And hopefully at reasonable prices, thanks to the proliferation of QLC NAND and more efficient production processes.

Jesper Berg

As a PC gaming enthusiast since the 3dfx Voodoo era, Jesper has had time to experiment with a fair few FPS-improving PC parts over the years. His job at GPCB is to test and evaluate hardware, mainly focusing on GPUs and storage devices.

7 Comments
  1. VectoTech Rapid take apart disassemble would be great to see internal SSD. Is it Micron?

    On the other hand, your information is outdated:
    VectoTech Rapid 2TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    https://www.amazon.com/VectoTech-Rapid-External-Portable-Solid/dp/B01JKMZ6L6

    Check out the pictures with USB C connector and cables. Albeit the speed is outdated. Amazing!

    • Thanks for the info, will uppdate asap. I have yet to see a full review of the vectotech. But Micron or Toshiba NAND would be the most likely.

  2. More with updated speed information:

    VectoTech Rapid 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    Super fast Read/Write speeds up to 540Mb/s
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NC1RI61

  3. Thanks. Please, note that the article text still states:
    “The VectoTech Rapid is bound by the limits of the USB 3.0 (or USB 3.1 Gen1) interface and it’s, therefore, slower than its competitors”.

    On the other hand:
    Brand new higher-capacity internal SSD (4 TB & 8 TB) from Micron will allow higher-capacity external portable SSD
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/brand-new-higher-capacity-internal-ssd-4-tb-8-tb-from-micron-will-allow-higher-capacity-external-portable-ssd.2208536

  4. You forgot the OWC Express 4M2 NVMe, which offers true Thunderbolt 3 performance. You can bolt in four Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDs and get a 4TB external drive with 2,883 MB/s read speeds for about $900. ?

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