Are there any "mainstream" 4TB+ NVMe drives in the pipeline?

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I'm finding myself desiring 4TB of fast storage without any of the headaches of managing multiple volumes. I'm also out of PCI lanes, and out of storage on my existing NVMe drive. Has Samsung or another major maker announced any plans to expand beyond 2TB? Or is Sabrent still the only option?
 

bizzmeister

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Im with you. I love my Silicon Power 2TB NVME m2 but i would have loved a 4TB one too.

I wouldnt pay for more than like $350-$400 though.
 

sinisterDei

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Just curious, do you have a specific use case where SATA based SSD speeds are insufficient? Because the limiting factor is in the M2 2280 form factor, and plenty of 2.5" SSD options exist at 4TB. For around 99% of the end users in the world the speeds will be indistinguishable.
 
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Just curious, do you have a specific use case where SATA based SSD speeds are insufficient? Because the limiting factor is in the M2 2280 form factor, and plenty of 2.5" SSD options exist at 4TB. For around 99% of the end users in the world the speeds will be indistinguishable.
It's not entirely about speed in my case. For me, the primary driver is to make the system stupid enough that I can follow it. Splitting everything up between two volumes involves more mindshare than I'd like to deal with (if I can avoid it). Since I already have a 2TB NVMe drive, it would be pretty amazing if there were a seamless way to make that act as a pre-cache while paired with a much larger SATA drive. I'm not sure that's really a thing in Windows (or any OS) though.
 

Blue Fox

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You can easily use an enterprise NVMe drive in a desktop. Cost is similar on eBay and performance is better in many workloads. There are plenty of ~4TB and larger drives available for ~$100/TB. That's what I've been doing for some time now myself.
 

sinisterDei

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For me, the primary driver is to make the system stupid enough that I can follow it. Splitting everything up between two volumes involves more mindshare than I'd like to deal with (if I can avoid it). Since I already have a 2TB NVMe drive, it would be pretty amazing if there were a seamless way to make that act as a pre-cache while paired with a much larger SATA drive. I'm not sure that's really a thing in Windows (or any OS) though.
To my knowledge, Windows 10 has no built in tiered storage options.

However, the point of my post is that you nave 4TB (or larger) SSD options if you go outside the M.2 NVMe space. Samsung and WD both have inexpensive consumer 4TB SSD drives, they are just in a 2.5" SATA format rather than being PCIe. And as Blue Fox said, you can easily go to higher capacities if you use enterprise drives.
 

bizzmeister

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Guys, what exactly are enterprise drives and what’s the difference ? Business ?

( don’t mean to thread jack, just want to know )
 

sinisterDei

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Guys, what exactly are enterprise drives and what’s the difference ? Business ?
Enterprise drives are drives aimed for servers. Typically, they have a heavier focus on reliability over performance, but depending on the product there can be little to no difference between an enterprise model drive and its consumer equivalent.

Additionally, sometimes enterprise drives have different connectivity. For example, for the average consumer a PCIe / NVMe SSD means the M.2 format, which is the little 'stick' type drives. For enterprise, where the ability to hot-swap a drive is more important, the U.2 format is more common. A 2.5" drive with a U.2 connector looks very similar to a consumer 2.5" SATA SSD, but the connection is functionally PCIe / NVMe based. You can adapt a U.2 drive to plug into an M.2 connector (or even just to a PCIe slot) but it would definitely need an adapter for any consumer class motherboard. Also, there is a connectivity called SAS, which is very similar to SATA but incompatible. SATA drives can plug into a SAS port, but not the other way around - SAS drives have to plug into a SAS port to operate and are physically keyed to prevent being plugged into SATA.
 

bizzmeister

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Enterprise drives are drives aimed for servers. Typically, they have a heavier focus on reliability over performance, but depending on the product there can be little to no difference between an enterprise model drive and its consumer equivalent.

Additionally, sometimes enterprise drives have different connectivity. For example, for the average consumer a PCIe / NVMe SSD means the M.2 format, which is the little 'stick' type drives. For enterprise, where the ability to hot-swap a drive is more important, the U.2 format is more common. A 2.5" drive with a U.2 connector looks very similar to a consumer 2.5" SATA SSD, but the connection is functionally PCIe / NVMe based. You can adapt a U.2 drive to plug into an M.2 connector (or even just to a PCIe slot) but it would definitely need an adapter for any consumer class motherboard. Also, there is a connectivity called SAS, which is very similar to SATA but incompatible. SATA drives can plug into a SAS port, but not the other way around - SAS drives have to plug into a SAS port to operate and are physically keyed to prevent being plugged into SATA.
Wow, ok very cool.

Thanks for explaining!
 

CraigHB

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You want a U.2 drive, not too hard to do, you can find adapters cheap that provide a SFF-8643 plug from an M.2 slot which is what a U.2 cable uses. The cables are a bit pricey, but not out of sight. You can alternately use a PCIe card that provides a U.2 cable interface. Another option would be to use two 2TB NVMe drives on a PCIe card that provides multiple M.2 slots and join them in a RAID set, but you said you don't have the facilities for that. I almost went with U.2 setup myself for the ability to swap out boot drives, I ended up using an M.2 extender instead.
 
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Enterprise drives are drives aimed for servers. Typically, they have a heavier focus on reliability over performance, but depending on the product there can be little to no difference between an enterprise model drive and its consumer equivalent.

Additionally, sometimes enterprise drives have different connectivity. For example, for the average consumer a PCIe / NVMe SSD means the M.2 format, which is the little 'stick' type drives. For enterprise, where the ability to hot-swap a drive is more important, the U.2 format is more common. A 2.5" drive with a U.2 connector looks very similar to a consumer 2.5" SATA SSD, but the connection is functionally PCIe / NVMe based. You can adapt a U.2 drive to plug into an M.2 connector (or even just to a PCIe slot) but it would definitely need an adapter for any consumer class motherboard. Also, there is a connectivity called SAS, which is very similar to SATA but incompatible. SATA drives can plug into a SAS port, but not the other way around - SAS drives have to plug into a SAS port to operate and are physically keyed to prevent being plugged into SATA.
Oooohhhh, U.2 is an interesting twist. I didn't even think about that. My motherboard (Rampage Extreme VI) has a U.2 port on it.
 

CraigHB

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That's handy, typcially only server motherboards have those. They kind of expected u.2 to become more mainstream for consumer motherboards, but it never happened. It's good and bad that drives mount on the motherboard with m.2, but in some cases chassis mounted drives are still preferable even for desktop use. Though it's not too hard to use u.2 with m.2 adapters or with PCIe cards that provide the connector. You can even get m.2 to u.2 adapter trays to turn an m.2 drive into a u.2 drive. The main reason I didn't do that myself was expense, runs up the cost for adapters, cables, and trays.
 

sinisterDei

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The only problem with the M.2 -> U.2 adapters is that there is significant height on the adapter to allow the SFF-8643 connector to plug in, and that height might interfere with PCIe slots if the M.2 slot is physically positioned between PCIe slots like many of them are. It would be a bit like having a M.2 drive with a 3/4" thick heatsink on top.

I've got a U.2 drive mounted into my system, but I did so with this adapter rather than one of the M.2 converters. It was a few dollars more, but the effect is cleaner inside the chassis because it just ends up taking a PCIe slot and there's no pesky cables to route anywhere. On my mobo, each M.2 slot shares bandwidth with a PCIe slot, so I can attach a drive with either and it makes no difference.
 

CraigHB

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The only problem with the M.2 -> U.2 adapters is that there is significant height on the adapter to allow the SFF-8643 connector to plug in
Yeah that would be the big advantage of motherboard makers providing u.2 ports on consumer boards, they would likely be placed out of the way like SATA connectors. Personally I'd be perfectly happy to see those SATA connectors replaced by SFF-8643 on consumer boards. Might happen when SATA finally goes away, hopefully sooner than later.

Compared to USB 10Gb, SATA is a pretty worthless interface. And USB 3.2 goes to 20Gb over C-type. I actually have a couple portable SSDs that interface over USB-C and they smoke the SATA SSDs I used to have, almost double the speed. Of course nothing comes close to my PCIe 4.0 drives, those things are sick fast.
 

sinisterDei

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Might happen when SATA finally goes away, hopefully sooner than later.
Personal opinion time; hopefully not, SATA Is still super useful.

For almost every normal single user in the world, there is currently zero benefit to the faster speeds of NVME/PCIe versus SATA. Obviously you can benchmark the drives and the NVME units are faster, and if your use case is "make a copy of this 200GB file somewhat often" then perhaps you have a scenario where the NVME drives get to stretch their legs. For most folks though, booting Windows, launching Office / Steam / Fortnite / whatever happens at the same speed on a SATA SSD as it does on an NVME because the bottleneck is not the speed of the storage interface, but instead is the ability of the rest of the PC to process the incoming data. The new NVME drives *are* faster, but the SATA SSDs are already tall enough to ride the ride, and extra height doesn't make the rollercoaster go faster.

Meanwhile, it's quite common for systems to support 4+ SATA devices, but only come with enough PCIe lanes for 1 or 2 NVME SSDs. Plus, SATA is natively hot-swap compatible, while PCIe hot-swap is a much trickier subject.

My desktop PC currently has plugged into it: 1x 256GB NVME drive, 1x 2TB NVME drive, 1x 6TB SATA HDD, 2x 1TB SATA SSD, 1x 8TB SATA, and 1x 12TB SATA. I'm obviously a bit of an outlier, but I'm definitely not the only person in the world to have more than 2 storage devices.
 

echn111

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Personal opinion time; hopefully not, SATA Is still super useful.

For almost every normal single user in the world, there is currently zero benefit to the faster speeds of NVME/PCIe versus SATA. Obviously you can benchmark the drives and the NVME units are faster, and if your use case is "make a copy of this 200GB file somewhat often" then perhaps you have a scenario where the NVME drives get to stretch their legs. For most folks though, booting Windows, launching Office / Steam / Fortnite / whatever happens at the same speed on a SATA SSD as it does on an NVME because the bottleneck is not the speed of the storage interface, but instead is the ability of the rest of the PC to process the incoming data. The new NVME drives *are* faster, but the SATA SSDs are already tall enough to ride the ride, and extra height doesn't make the rollercoaster go faster.

Meanwhile, it's quite common for systems to support 4+ SATA devices, but only come with enough PCIe lanes for 1 or 2 NVME SSDs. Plus, SATA is natively hot-swap compatible, while PCIe hot-swap is a much trickier subject.

My desktop PC currently has plugged into it: 1x 256GB NVME drive, 1x 2TB NVME drive, 1x 6TB SATA HDD, 2x 1TB SATA SSD, 1x 8TB SATA, and 1x 12TB SATA. I'm obviously a bit of an outlier, but I'm definitely not the only person in the world to have more than 2 storage devices.
SATA is extremely useful for storage (although SATA SSD's are a bit of a compromise). For "speed" a fast 2TB NVMe m.2 drive is more than enough for most people to use as a boot drive holding the Windows O/S as well as your favorite games and applications; and there are edge cases where their blazing speed gives them an advantage over SATA. For "storage", just one or two reasonably cheap 3.5" SATA HDD's, each containing 12 to 16 TB, outperforms everything. Those are your standard "best in class" options....

As for the OP's question, right now it's Sabrent for m.2 NVMe 4TB SSD's. There aren't many other known options, but there's nothing wrong with that brand and it's sold everywhere... Just buy their 4TB version if that's what you're looking for.
 

cjcox

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SATA will start to disappear when there are consumer level non-SATA/SAS alternatives in the 10-12TB at comparable prices (can be a bit more expensive, just not a lot more).

Now, that's assuming that a spinning disk SATA/SAS hotswappable replacement isn't happening (that is, something totally new).
 
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Ranma_Sao

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When somebody was closing 4 TB u.2 drives on Ebay, bought one. Perfect, has speeds equiv to a 9700 Samsung drive because it is one, but gobs of space. With mklink you can join 2 drives together transparently to you and apps on your machine. (That's how my onedrive is on my slow spinner drives)
 

Maxx

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It's not entirely about speed in my case. For me, the primary driver is to make the system stupid enough that I can follow it. Splitting everything up between two volumes involves more mindshare than I'd like to deal with (if I can avoid it). Since I already have a 2TB NVMe drive, it would be pretty amazing if there were a seamless way to make that act as a pre-cache while paired with a much larger SATA drive. I'm not sure that's really a thing in Windows (or any OS) though.
Storage Spaces is flexible. It in fact has tiers for NVMe SSD -> SATA SSD -> SATA HDD, for example. Can take some PowerShell setup with consumer Windows 10, though. I also use DrivePool with a NVMe acting as cache.
 

Maxx

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Of course nothing comes close to my PCIe 4.0 drives, those things are sick fast.
Sequentially, yes. NVMe as a protocol is just miles beyond AHCI, although I understand people generally not being able to leverage it. Then again with the upcoming consoles, DirectStorage, etc., plus with NVMe/PCIe drives overtaking SATA last year, I think we have a bright future there.
 

Maxx

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Another option would be to use two 2TB NVMe drives on a PCIe card that provides multiple M.2 slots and join them in a RAID set
Yep, can use the Hyper with a board that has PCIe bifurcation, there's adapters also with their own controllers (Gigabyte sells one that goes over x8), you can run multiple single adapters too. Of course the exact speeds are dependent on the motherboard/chipset. You can form a RAID/stripe a number of ways, UEFI, OROM, in Windows, via Storage Spaces, etc.
 

Maxx

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Guys, what exactly are enterprise drives and what’s the difference ? Business ?
Many differences. Usually no SLC caching, they'll have power-loss protection (PLP), firmware options like over-provisioning and security features, optimizations for mixed workloads and steady state, more over-provisioning, different form factors, etc.
 

Maxx

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Has Samsung or another major maker announced any plans to expand beyond 2TB? Or is Sabrent still the only option?
Phison was showing off reference designs for 8TB NVMe drives at CES2020. We saw a ton of lines that will go up to 4TB including ADATA's Indigo, Pearl, and Sage drives, Mushkin's EON and EON Pro (latter up to 16TB), which means at least 5 controllers right there: Phison E12/E16, Phison E18, SMI SM2264, SMI SM2267, InnoGrit IG5236. There were a few other drives shown off with controllers that might go that high, e.g. Lexar's proprietary, Marvell's designs, Realtek (e.g. RTS5771), etc.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Have two NVMe drives and one SATA M.2... and that's all the system can take natively (Z390).

I need to get better at uninstalling games... I have >2.5TB of those.
 

madpistol

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Have you thought about getting a smaller SSD (128-500GB) and using it as a cache drive for a larger hard drive? I'm currently using PrimoCache for my 3 x 4TB hard drive array. Since I only use a small subset of apps on the drive, it loads all of them into cache and loads at the speed of the SSD.

Just a thought if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a giant SSD.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Have you thought about getting a smaller SSD (128-500GB) and using it as a cache drive for a larger hard drive? I'm currently using PrimoCache for my 3 x 4TB hard drive array. Since I only use a small subset of apps on the drive, it loads all of them into cache and loads at the speed of the SSD.

Just a thought if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a giant SSD.
This is quite useful if you're loading an operating system or applications on the drive, of course, but for pure data, or worse, games, the spinners will be needed too often and the latency limitations will be felt.
 

madpistol

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This is quite useful if you're loading an operating system or applications on the drive, of course, but for pure data, or worse, games, the spinners will be needed too often and the latency limitations will be felt.
Only on the first load. Then it will be in the cache. I've also found a work around where you can "repair" the game, which essentially scans the entire game, thereby loading it into cache.
 

Aegir

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If you're going so far as to load a game into an SSD cache, then just buy more RAM and use RAMdisks instead. Gotta have 32GB+ though.
 

CraigHB

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Wow, that's a lot of disk space. All the games I keep on disk are older and don't take up that much space, can keep them all on SSD (my video library is what takes up the bulk of space). Now I get why the AAA gamers need those 10GB spinners.
 

Lepardi

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I'm finding myself desiring 4TB of fast storage without any of the headaches of managing multiple volumes. I'm also out of PCI lanes, and out of storage on my existing NVMe drive. Has Samsung or another major maker announced any plans to expand beyond 2TB? Or is Sabrent still the only option?
4TB?

If they would manage 2TB, that would be great. 980 Pro max size will still be only 1TB.
 

CraigHB

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Yeah that's a big drive, QLC though, lower endurance. Would rather have TLC. I have a Sabrent Rocket 4.0 and I'm pretty happy with it.

That 8TB model is up there with their cost for PCIe 4.0, around 200 USD per terrabyte. Should be running the Rocket Q rate, around $120 per terrabyte. Maybe that model commands a premium because it's the first that big.

I notice their Rocket 4TB model is also running around $200 per TB. I would actually go for that one as it's TLC.
 
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