Okay guys, hands up those of you that use an external hard drive? Alright, a good lot of you. How many with 1TB drives? Okay, good… good, you can put your hands down. I’m betting you lot would like something smaller, correct? While 2.5″ drives have gone beyond the 1TB size before, they aren’t any smaller than when the form factor first arrived on the market. They require cables, some need extra power and most of them cost a small fortune. It seems that its almost impossible to find a 1TB portable storage device that’s small, requires no cables, fits into the palm of your hand and can be hung from your keychain. No, if you wanted something like that, the salesman at Incredible Connection would almost certainly look at you weirdly.
But not if one of these were on the shelf behind him. This is Kingston’s monster terabyte-sized flash drive.
First let’s get this out of the way: yes, many of you won’t be able to afford it. Kingston hasn’t quoted pricing on its flagship 1TB model, but the 512GB version currently on sale goes for $1750 (approximately R15,500). Its the miniturisation tax that’s most at play here, but this can also be viewed as a really, really tiny SSD.
Early drives of this size were prototyped by companies like Transcend and while they managed to cram 2TB into something of a similar size, its not set for retail nor does it have the performance numbers that the Predator boasts. We’re talking read speeds of 240MB/s and write speeds of 160MB/s when plugged into a USB 3.0 interface. That’s enough to copy an entire 4.7GB DVD over to the drive in around twenty seconds. While there are flash and hard drives that may boast higher numbers, there are few flash drives that will boast this kind of storage and speed in the same package, at least not for a few years yet.
How did they achieve this? Kingston started off with …well, we don’t know yet. The company hasn’t said what hardware they’re packing inside and the drives are still so new that no-one who’s received them for review has tried to open one yet. Its probably MLC NAND made on the 22nm process driven by a low-cost Sandforce controller. The chips would have to be on separate circuit boards stacked on top of one another, as that’s the only way I can think of now to cram that much storage into such a tiny chassis. The Sandforce controller would be a stripped-down version and probably an older one at that, but one that supports TRIM, because the amount of copying and deleting info on and off this midget monster will fill up those NAND cells in no time at all.
Where will you be able to buy it? They only launched last week at CES 2013 so there’ll be some delay in the drives reaching out across America, Europe and East Asia. We probably won’t see them unless you know someone who can order them for you because Kingston itself has stated that the drives were made for a niche market, “a particular group of consumers who, over the years have expressed to Kingston that price is no issue when it comes to high-capacity portable storage.”
There’s the ever-so-slightly-less-insane options that feature smaller capacities but use the same impressive all-metal shell that’s guaranteed to protect your data in a shock-resistant housing. Kingston has 64 and 32GB versions for sale that will feature slightly lower read and write speeds, but won’t cost as much as a small, second-hand car. There might also be 128GB and 256GB versions in the future as well, if the technology used to make these thumb drives get cheaper over time.
Now you can take your entire porn/anime/movies/series/pirated games (shame on you!) collection with you wherever you go!
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