Victorinox stopped me in my tracks while walking around the Pepcom Digital Experience last night. I’d heard there was a 1TB USB drive, but assumed it would be one of those things that was purely a concept and wouldn’t be out for another year or two. Then I saw this:
That larger drive (center left) is a *working* 1TB SSD in a thumb drive form factor. Sure it’s on the larger side, but it’s no bigger than the typical 32GB USB 3.0 thumb drives are at present. One side of the SSD contains a user-programmable e-ink display, which persists even with power removed. The other side shows the beginnings of a thick stack of PCB’s and stacked flash memory:
Pictured above is one of flash memory packages alongside the controller. Here’s a side view:
Within this package is a sandwich of 4 thin PCB’s housing a total of 4 special flash memory packages. Each package can contain an interleaved stack of 16 (!) 2xnm dies. By interleaved I mean 8 dies make up a data channel to the controller, so each package provides 2 channels. This makes the assembled device physically equivalent to an 8-channel SSD – just neatly folded and shrunk into this relatively tiny device. Since all of you know I love ripping these things apart to see what makes them tick, well, Victorinox beat me to it and had one disassembled already:
The last really cool and unique part of the design is right here:
This is a picture of the underside of the *top* of the USB connector. This part is normally the standard steel top of a USB connector, but here Victorinox has engineered a 7-pin eSATA connector into it. Modern laptops typically have an eSATA connector that is also physically and electrically compatible with USB – using the USB portion of the connector to provide extra power when a powered eSATA device is connected. eSATA devices have a connector that can plug into this hybrid port, but not into a standard USB port. This device switches that concept around, in that it is physically compatible with both USB 3.0 and eSATA ports – and can function in eSATA mode when connected to the latter. This yields reduced latency when compared to USB, which introduces more overhead.
Victorinox expects to ship these in sizes from 64GB all the way up to the 1TB capacity later this year. Estimated cost of the largest capacity? $3,000.
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