So far SSD drives are coming out from manufacturers who are active in the memory business- Corsair, Samsung, OCZ, Kingston Toshiba. Things became lil’ more exciting when Intel stepped in the game.
And then comes Western Digital. Unlike other drives, WD is using its experience as an old school storage manufacturer and aiming this one as mainstream SSD from their stable.
WD India sends me a SiliconEdge Blue Series SSD Drive. To those who are not aware, Green series is marketed as energy saving products, Blue is more of a mainstream and black Series is marketed as High Performance Drives. This drive is from a manufacturer who earns their bread and butter from the storage business alone- internal and external and for every genre of users- especially the enterprise solutions. Truth be told as this is a blue series drive, my personal expectations for these drives are pretty high as these cost a lot more than a typical drives (mechanical- be it Blue, Green, Black- even against the raptors).
Advertised specs and product pictures
Except the Formatted capacity, model number, sectors per drive and “Maximum GB written per day” count, the rest are all the same. WD is giving 3 years warranty. Performance numbers look impressive, but I think its best if manufacturers should just put out average transfer rates.
The drive comes with Western Digital relabelled controller and armed with 512MB DDRII DRAM for the Buffer and a total of 32 chips from Samsung on both sides of the PCB. This is an MLC drive.
Test Setup and Benchmarks
Note: Before any storage reviews are done, secure erase is done using HDD Erase utility.
Boot Load Time
Usually you should see almost the same time taken to boot from pass 2-5 (for an SSD), but it doesn’t seem to be the case with this drive. This drive is still pretty quick, however consistency in boot times is usually expected in almost well-known SSD brands.
AS SSD Read and Write Benchmark/ Compression/Copy Benchmarks
Both in Sequential read and write, WD’s SSD steals the show. Its only 4k 64Thrd test Kingston’s SNVP drive gets a upper hand.
Crystal Disk Benchmark- Read and Write Performance
Just to add, I am comparing this with one of the 2 SSDs I compared earlier- SNVP version- from the V+ Series. 4k and 4k with queue Depth 32bit is still lower than the Kingston drive. Most likely the difference in space, but that’s where this drive stands.
HD Tune Pro- Read and Write: Sequential (40GB Short Stroke) and Random Access (4k aligned)
Things were looking good until the write tests were done on HD Tune Pro..
For some reason Write on the HD Tune Pro speed has gone for a toss. I’ve done tests using Biostar 790GXBE (SATAII Connector) and on Asus M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 (via SATA III connector using bother SATA II and III cables), even changed the cables and ports- via IDE and AHCI mode.
Here’s everest that seem to concur as well:
Everest Disk Benchmark- Read test: Linear, Random, Average Read access time
Linear Read’s average is 185.7 MB/s and random hitting 188.9 MB/s with average read access time of a respectable 0.14ms.
Everest Disk Benchmark- Write test: Linear, Random, Average Write access time
Linear write speeds stay between 158.2 MB/s and 98.6 MB/s, with an average of 144 MB/s, but that’s about it. Random write tests and Average write access time shows a very clear dent in performance.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
ATTO is the first test that was done on this drive after doing a secure erase but its obvious that this drive has very weak write speeds- especially on random Write and average write access time. The write latency reminds me of earlier J Micron chips.
I was really excited at first but after seeing HD Tune and Everest write tests, the excitement was toned down. You could say I am disappointed (or my expectations was pretty high) but I wouldn’t be surprised if WD engineers already started working on it.
SSD has a long way to go mainstream (or worse, but haven’t seen/heard any yet) with decent enough performance for the right price and/or better/aggressive garbage collection feature. Judging by the specs table, Western Digital did their homework before stepping in a SSD Bandwagon.
Prices are as follows:
I was not able to find the Indian price as the retailers do not have it, but I was being told that you should get this from Rediginton and/or neoteric india.
Users would be content with SATAII drives from the respected manufactures, whereas desktop users looking at best performance with decent enough space would look at velociraptor and/or notebook users will consider grabbing a Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid drive that I reviewed earlier.
Speaking of hybrid, I will not be surprised if Western Digital guys drop in a hybrid drive on my lap- or a newer Blue series SSD with much better write speed/access time. Its good to see an old school storage manufacturer swimming with the other fishes in the same SSD Pool.
Unless FLASH NANDs wont get cheap without taking a hit on “features” ( internal and/or always-on Garbage collection feature which does not affect the overall life of the product, TRIM, NCQ, etc) and quality, its obvious the mass will not consider it unless they really need the significant performance difference.
In any case, its high time pc chassis manufacturers supply a 3.5 inch to 2.5 inch bay converter add-on and/or bundle it with the case, especially the newer ones.