The first reviews of the 61.44TB Solidigm D5-P5336, the world’s biggest PCIe SSD, are out (via HotHardware, StorageReview and TweakTown) with reviewers impressed by the performance delivered by this QLC-equipped enterprise SSD, leading to TweakTown giving it an editor’s choice and a 95% rating, calling it “an important milestone for the solid state storage industry”.
The drive has double the capacity of its next closest competitor and read performance that is almost on par with more expensive (and more resilient) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) rivals. StorageReview’s Lyle Smith adds that, “At present, the Solidigm D-P5336 stands in a league of its own regarding capacity, and it remains to be seen how the market will answer this achievement”.
The three reviews pitted the 61.44TB SSD against a range of established datacenter-focussed SSDs, from Solidigm older models (former Intel models) to Micron, ScaleFlux, Seagate, Memblaze and Kioxia. In some read-heavy workload tests, with a sequential read speed of 7,000MB/s, it was the fastest PCIe Gen4 x4 model, which is quite a feat; its only weak spot appeared to be its write performance, which is acceptable given the use cases it is targeting.
What about pricing?
What’s even more exciting is that Solidigm used a mature 192-layer NAND part rather than a cutting edge one which means that the potential for even higher performance and capacities is real.
Smaller units have appeared online in North America and Europe, courtesy of the usual suspects; Provantage sells the E1.L 30.72TB and 15.36TB models (under Solidigm and curiously, the Intel brand) in FIPS/No OPAL variants. No U.2 or E3.S versions were available; both reviews used U.2 SSDs. Given that prices appear to be scaling linearly – a 30.72TB model costs less than two 15.36TB drives – one can be hopeful that the 61.44TB version of the D5-P5336 will cost a bit less than $3,400. Tech-America sells the 30.72TB on pre-order for less than $1,700.
Should the drive sell for around that price, it will bring the per TB to about $55. In comparison, Nimbus Data’s ExaDrive NL 64TB enterprise SSD (EDNLT064) sells for more than $14,000, about 4x Solidigm’s price; just bear in mind that it was launched four years ago and is designed to replace standard 3.5-inch hard drives. And it is coming dangerously close to the cheapest NVMe 4 x4 consumer SSD on the market right now. The 4TB version of Silicon Power’s UD90 costs $162 at Amazon at the time of writing which is about $41 per TB.
How about hard drives then? A data center 20TB hard drive (like the Seagate Exos X20) costs a bit more than $400 in August 2023; that’s just over $20 per TB. Still cheaper than the P5336 but for how much longer?