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4TB consumer SSD becomes reality, thanks to Mushkin's latest venture

Mushkin is a well-recognized hard drive manufacturer, and it’s bringing its A game to 2016. Forget those measly 500GB SSD hard drives. Instead, take a look at these two data storage monsters: the revised 2TB Reactor and its 4TB no-name beast brother.

The new devices were introduced at CES 2016 and are designed around Silicon Motion’s updated SM2246EN controller, the part responsible for evening out the wear and tear on those ever-so-important memory blocks. This particular model has been a common component in SSD drives since its 2013 release. But a recent update to the controller has ascertained support for 3D NAND as well as increased the storage limit to 2TB. Mushkin is implementing this into their Reactor SSDs, redesigning them with 3D MLC (multilevel-cell) flash, and launching the higher capacity models Q2 2016.

Related: Transcend raises the bar for enterprise-grade SSD storage

The 4TB Mushkin SSD drive is slated for release after the 2TB Reactor.

The 4TB Mushkin SSD drive is slated for release after the 2TB Reactor.

Since the updated controller doesn’t go beyond 2TB, Mushkin had to use a little bit of trickery to get a 4TB model working. The company has basically put two Reactor 2TB SSDs on a single PCB. They’ve then joined them into a JBOD with a separate controller. According to the manufacturer this dual-drive design will function as a single volume. Unfortunately Mushkin says the design makes for random read and write performance that circulates around 10K IOPS. The 4TB model should lend itself well to computer tasks that require heavy sequential workloads, such as video recording and encoding.

Mushkin also introduced one more SSD drive to its very high-end Striker series at 1.92TB drive built with the Phison PS3110-S10 controller. While it targets the datacenter industry, enthusiasts might get in on the fun as well.

The average consumer still doesn’t concern himself with SSD storage. It’s still too expensive to transfer all the music, videos, and other files into the (admittedly much faster) SSD hard drive as opposed to the SATA standard. Terabytes are becoming the norm in the data storage market, and while SSD prices are falling, it doesn’t match the value for your average consumer that a regular hard drive can provide. Mushkin’s two coming hard drives can be seen as an indicator of things to come, with a prospective 4TB hard drive getting released this year we might see SSD storage avail itself to average consumers within the foreseeable future. More competitors are also likely to launch similar products during the year as the key to these products is Silicon Motion’s updated controller, which is usable by all third-party SSD manufacturers.

While the 4TB hard drive goes without a name for now, it comes with a relatively low price tag. Mushkin says it’s targeting a competitive price tag at $500.