Western Digital Announces WD Black PCIe SSD Family And A1-Spec 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSD Card

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While Western Digital is still readily advancing its spinning disk (HDD) storage operations, the company is also putting a great deal of effort into embracing SSDs as the future of storage for consumer, business and enterprise applications. Western Digital’s purchase of SanDisk in 2015 puts that vision clearly in focus.

This week at CES, Western Digital announced a new SSD family to sit alongside the WD Blue and WD Green lineup — and as you might expect, it’s called WD Black. The WD Black family is tasked with delivering the ultimate in storage performance thanks to a PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe interface. According to Western Digital, the new WD Black line offers up to three times the sequential read performance of typical SATA SSDs.

Getting down to concrete numbers, the WD Black has sequential read/write speeds of 2050MB/sec and 800MB/sec respectively. Likewise, Western Digital is confident enough in the durability of WD Black to give it a 1.75 million Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) rating and a 5-year limited warranty.

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"We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation interface change," says Eyal Bek, senior director of client SSD, Devices Business Unit for Western Digital. "We believe that this will accelerate the transition that is already occurring from SATA to PCIe. Western Digital is uniquely positioned to offer customers a complete storage portfolio—HDD or SSD, and SATA or PCIe form factors for every segment of the market."

The WD Black PCIe SSD will be available in two capacities — 256GB and 512GB — priced at $109.99 and $199.99 respectively. Both SKUs will be available during the first half of 2017.

Ultra microSDXC UHS I C10 256GB A1 front

Moving on to slightly less mission critical storage, Western Digital’s SanDisk brand has announced the arrival of the world’s first microSD card to meet Application Performance Class 1 (A1) requirements. A1-rated cards conform to the following specifications:

  • Random Read Input-Output Access Per Second (IOPS) of 1500
  • Write IOPS of 500
  • Sustained Sequential performance of 10MB/s

The new 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSD can hold up to 24 hours of Full HD video, and offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/sec. The cards will enable Android users to experience blazing fast performance when running apps directly from the microSD, which will be greatly beneficial for consumers that are running short on internal storage space.

“The microSD card has been an integral part of the digital revolution by providing more options for high performance, high capacity storage for smartphones,” said Dinesh Bahal, VP of product management for Western Digital’s Client Solutions Business Unit. “SanDisk cards are at the center of more than two billion consumer devices, and now with this A1 card, we’re proud to play a significant role in continuing to advance the trusted format.”

The 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSD will be available this month with a price tag of $199.99.