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Storage

Samsung boosts its solid-state drives to 2 terabytes

The 2TB versions of Samsung's SSD 850 Pro and SSD 850 Evo have suggested retail prices of $1,000 and $800, respectively. They are currently the highest-capacity solid-state drives on the market.

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If you've been wondering when there would be a truly high-capacity solid-state drive (SSD), the answer is now. Today, Samsung announced the availability of not one but two 2TB SSDs, the SSD 850 Pro and the SSD 850 Evo.

The lesser capacities (up to 1TB) of the Pro drive have been on the market for a year and those of the Evo drive, about seven months. The new drives announced today are a major upgrades to both the drives that basically double their top capacity.

Both the Pro and Evo SSDs use Samsung's 3D vertical flash memory technology, which is a new and more efficient way for memory cells to be organized. Known as the storage units inside an SSD, traditionally, memory cells are put together on a 2D planar setup, where they lie flat on the surface of the silicon wafer. With Samsung 3D flash memory, the memory cells are stacked up vertically up to 32 layers, allowing for significantly more cells in the same number of wafer bits. This greatly increases the density and means, among other things, more storage space for less cost.

Both drives also support Samsung's TurboWrite, which helps accelerate write speed during data transfer by creating a high-performance write buffer in an SSD. On top of that, they both features RAPID mode that uses part of the computer's system memory (RAM) as writing cache to further improve the performance. Note that the RAPID mode is off by default and can be only turned on using Samsung's Magician software, which is only available for Windows. The drives themselves also work with Macs, however.

The two 2TB solid-state drives from Samsung. Josh Miller/CNET

Other than that, the Pro drive differentiates itself from the Evo drive by having marginally faster performance, double the endurance -- the amount of data you can write to the drive before it become unreliable -- and double the warranty time. The Pro is backed by a 10-year warranty and the Evo, only a 5-year. For this reason, the SSD 850 Pro is more expensive, one of the most expensive on the market, in fact, but is also one that delivers the best performance.

The Evo, on the other hand, has a great balance of cost, performance, feature, making it one of the best deal among SSDs.

The new 2TB capacity means now the storage space gap between SSDs and regular hard drives is now for the most part eliminated, at least in the world of laptops. The price gap, however, is still quite large. While since the beginning of the year, SSDs' pricing has gone down steadily and significantly, they are generally still much more expensive than regular hard drives. The new 2TB Samsung SSD 850 Pro and Samsung SSD 850 Evo, for example, carry the suggested retail priced of $1,000 and $800, respectively. Their street price will likely be lower, however.

For more on these two new drives, check out the full review of the Pro here and here for the Evo.