Intel has announced what it claims to be the world's densest solid-state drive (SSD), but with a very specific data-centre use in mind it's not something you'll be fitting to your desktop rig without considerable modification.

Dubbed the Intel SSD DC P4500, and based on the company's 64-layer 3D NAND technology, the drive uses an elongated form factor which Intel likens to an 'old-fashioned 12-inch ruler' while storing an impressive 32TB. Technically known as the Enterprise and Data Centre SSD Form Factor (EDSFF), the drive's design is smart: Pulling 12V from the system and able to support devices requiring up to 50W, EDSFF devices support four- to 16-lane configurations. Designed for high-density storage systems, Intel's Just a Bunch of Flash (JBOF) design can pack 32 of the SSD DC P4500 'rulers' into a single 1U chassis - down from 48 in the original concept design - providing an impressive 1PB of storage, or 42PB per 42U rack.

'We didn’t just improve density — we improved thermals,' Intel's Wayne Allen says of his team and their work behind the 'ruler' design, explaining that the design allows the SSDs to be cooled efficiently by airflow running from the front of the chassis to the back without getting in the way. 'A new form factor itself isn’t all that exciting, typically. But because [the ruler] impacts everything about server design and helps increase performance and reach new levels of density, it’s a big deal. We’re redesigning the data centre with this — that’s the most fun part of it for me.'

Pricing and availability for the new Intel SSD DC P4500 have yet to be confirmed, with Intel offering more information in a press release and behind-the-scenes blog post.


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