WD's prototype portable SSD drive puts 8TB in your pocket

Somehow WD crammed 8TB of NAND into a tiny portable USB drive.

Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

Data hoarders, rejoice: At CES, WD showed off an 8TB prototype SSD that can slip into the pocket of your skinny jeans.

The proof-of-concept drive features a loop and rubber bumpers should you drop it. But more importantly, cramming 8TB of NAND storage is a feat that hasn’t been attempted in a portable drive yet.

Most portable drives are built using standard M.2 SSDs, and for the most part, WD does the same thing here. The problem is, you can’t yet physically fit 8TB of NAND on an M.2 drive, and we haven’t yet seen any with larger capacities than 4TB. And even that capacity is rare, as the majority are 2TB drives. So, yeah, 8TB would be unprecedented.

WD said that using today’s NAND densities, it had to cheat a little by using a slightly larger PCB to mount additional chips in its prototype drive. The company did hint that the design could change as NAND densities continue to ramp up. 

To ensure access to that data fast, the prototype drive is built on a USB-C interface at 20Gbps speeds. WD offiicials said the prototype is operating at about 1.6GBps read speeds, but that should improve by the time it’s released, as its WD_Black drive using the same USB interface can hit about 2GBps read speeds.

Those speeds, however, require that a host PC support the newest USB 3.2 2x2 interface, which is still fairly rare except on the highest-end motherboards. The good news is you can just buy a card supporting that interface, such has Gigabyte’s USB 3.2 2x2 host card. 

No availability was announced nor was pricing released. But with volatile NAND prices this year, we’re certain it’ll be a price with four numbers in it.

mah 4485 Gordon Mah Ung

WD’s prototype 8TB drive (bottom) is smaller than its recently introduced 2TB WD_Black drive (top.)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CES 2020

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?