This 1.5TB microSD is surely witchcraft

Micron MicroSD 1.5TB on a gradient background
(Image credit: Micron)

I'm sure if you showed a 4TB M.2 NVMe to the inventor of the first ever computer storage drive, they'd be quite shocked. Today these absurdly large storage devices are somewhat normal for avid file hoarders, and even more absurdly large HDDs are out there. Yet as someone who is plenty familiar with modern storage standards, even I'm taken back by how Micron has squeezed 1.5TB of storage onto this microSD card the size of my fingernail. There's some wizardry going on there.

This is Micron's new 1.5TB i400 Industrial microSD, announced at Embedded World 2022. It's built to run all day, every day for up to five years. Though 1.5TB of storage might be gobbled up long before then, in a month or four, apparently. Still, it's meant to make life easier for an always-on camera, and it sure sounds up for the job.

Now that's not the most exciting use case for a high capacity storage device if you're a budding PC gamer, and it might be a little slow to run games slotted into your Steam Deck (at 30MB/s it's not the fastest around—though the handheld does support up to 2TB, as do many phones), but there's some interesting tech at work behind the scenes here to make this sort of high-capacity SD possible.

Micron is rolling out its 176-layer 3D NAND to deliver that sort of high capacity in a compact area—the more layers you have, the more bits you can fit into an area and the memory density shoots right up. This is a relatively new technology (announced back in 2020) for the company, and it's only recently dropped into new SSDs in the form factors we prefer on PC at the tail-end of last year (with the P5 Plus) and the beginning of this year (with the P3 Plus).

Large jumps in NAND layers means bigger drives in smaller chips,  and Micron's next step is 232-layer 3D NAND, marking another major jump in memory density. 

Storage technology really is advancing at a rate of knots.


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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.