Intel has unveiled what it calls the world's densest solid state drive (SSD), packing 32 TB into a device the size of an old 12-inch ruler. The development should help data centers get more bang for their buck, cutting the cost of cooling and making more efficient use of the physical space.

Dubbed the Intel SSD DC P4500, the new drive crams 32 TB into a rectangular shape measuring 12 x 1.5 x 0.3 in (30.5 x 3.8 x 0.8 cm). It's built using 3D NAND architecture, stacking 64 layers of memory cells on top of one another. Intel says the devices can stay cool with only about half the airflow that a hard disk requires.

The P4500's ruler form factor means that 32 of them will fit into one standard server slot in a data center, totaling a massive 1 petabyte (PB) of data storage per slot. These 3D NAND SSDs will require just 10 percent of the power that 1 PB of hard disks would use, and only take up five percent of the physical space.

These SSDs aren't the kind that consumers will be able to cram into their home PCs, but the average Joe and Jane may be able to benefit through the faster cloud services from companies like IBM, Microsoft and Tencent, who will be among the first to use the new P4500s in their huge data centers.

Source: Intel [1],[2]

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