Storage vendor Kingston is preparing to launch the first USB flash drive to offer 1 Terabyte of storage capacity on a single stick for anyone willing to put up with the eye-watering price tag.
Due to make an appearance in a matter of weeks, the DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 will not be a mainstream product to start with; Kingston quotes the retail price for the 512GB version available immediately as being $1,750 (£1,080), which suggests the larger drive could go on sale as the most expensive mainstream USB stick in history.
Buyers will at least be getting a premium gloss with the new drive, including fast flash chips able to drive the unit up to 240MB/s read and 160MB/s write, and a zinc alloy casing for better shock resilience.
It supports SuperSpeed USB 3.0 although that is due to be superseded by the enhanced USB 3.0 specification that should start appearing in products in 2014.
Importantly, today’s controllers don’t support enhanced SuperSpeed USB 3.0, which will have an identical interface to USB 3.0 but double the maximum throughput to 10Gbytes per second. Cables might also need replacement, which given USB 3.0's modest uptake since its appearance in 2009, hints that the new standard could become the default.
“Our new DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 allows users to store their entire digital world on a portable USB 3.0 Flash drive,” said Kingston’s UK regional director, Ann Keefe.
“The large capacity and fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds allow users to save time as they can access, edit and transfer applications or files such as HD movies directly from the drive without any performance lag,” she said.
The USB drive has come a long way from its early days during the dot.com boom when drives typically offered 128MB at best. Today’s best-selling designs offer 8GB to 16GB and up but drives larger than 64GB with USB 3.0 remain expensive. This needs to be addressed for the USB stick to maintain its relevance.