At CES 2019, Western Digital is demonstrating a prototype of a 4TB thumb drive with a Type-C interface. To be more precise, the form factor is that of a thumb drive, but the Type-C connector currently hangs off a wire. Given that it is a prototype, and has little chance of hitting the market at reasonable price points in the imminent future, this is expected. The main intent is to showcase the technological prowess of SanDisk's flash solutions. As expected, the prototype carries the SanDisk branding.

Based on the form factor, we believe that the product is using the 1.33Tb QLC 96L NAND that started sampling in Q3 2018.

The prototype bodes well for compact high-capacity thumb drives in the near future. These will be for use-cases where high performance is not a requirement (think of reads and writes in the 20 - 200 MBps range). We are waiting on WD to provide additional technical details regarding the actual configuration used in the prototype. We have also requested for the performance numbers they are able to achieve in such a compact form factor with the high-capacity dies.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    Whose thumb are we talking about for this "thumb drive"? Regular people or King Kong (really big thumb!) ? The absence of any specs makes it hard to judge how large or compact this actually is.
  • deil - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    Cable does spoil the fun though. Seems like its kinda key-sized. If its 4 TB with ~150 MB/s then I would dig.....
  • name99 - Monday, January 21, 2019 - link

    It’s not 4TB but today you can buy an UFS-II SD card that’s .5TB and ~300MB/s. Works, and delivers that if you buy the right card. I use one and it’s REALLY nice.
    Of course you also need a UFS-II reader... IMac Pro and new Mac Mini have that, but I don’t know about the PC world.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    Grab a USB Type-C cable. Compare the size of the plug. Look at the image. Compare the size of the plug to the rest of the image. Go back and forth between cable and image. You'll get an idea of the size.
  • Valantar - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    Yep. On my 27" 1440p monitor at 100% scaling, it looks close to (if a bit smaller than) real life when compared to a type-C charging cable. This would be a very chunky thumb drive, but the storage density is still out of this world.
  • olafgarten - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    I wouldn't want to put 4tb of data on something that easy to lose!
  • Thorburn - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    I wouldn't want to put 4TB of data onto something at 20MB/sec....
  • koaschten - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    That's why external USB-C SSDs like the Samsung Portable SSD T5 can do up to 550MB/s
  • TheJian - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    Is it 4TB? Probably not, and not as small. If they can get writes up to 80-100 I might be in at a decent price. Writes at 20? I agree with OP, to slow.
  • HStewart - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    Just image if you could send this thing - with adapter back in time 10 years ago - there would few systems that could even deal with it. Just a few years ago 4T hard drive would be rare.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now