WD Blue And SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD Review: Fast, Affordable Solid State Storage

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WD Blue And SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD Introduction

WD recently updated its mainstream Blue line of solid state drives with new 64-layer 3D BiCS NAND flash memory. When we first took a look at the original WD Blue SSD, we found it to be an admirable performer with competitive pricing. This new generation of drives, however, promises better performance and features all of the firmware tweaks and optimizations WD has gleaned over the Blue SSD line’s lifetime.

In addition, SanDisk branded versions of the drive are hitting the market as well. Internally the WD Blue with 3D NAND and new SanDisk Ultra 3D are virtually identical, but the drives will target different distribution channels. The WD Blue 3D is for do-it-yourselfers and is headed into the channel, while the SanDisk drives will be available in more traditional retail outlets. They’re both for sale on sites like Amazon already, though, so finding either one at the best deal will be easy for on-line shoppers.

Take a look at the new WD Blue and SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD specifications below and then we’ll dig in with more specifics and some benchmark action...
wd blue boxes
WD Blue And SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD
Specifications & Features
wd sandisk 3d ssd specs

The WD Blue and SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD series will eventually be offered in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB, in the common 2.5” form factor, though we should note that the WD Blue will also be offered in M.2 flavors as well. We've got a couple of 1TB drives to show you here, but note that performance is somewhat lower with the smaller capacity drives.
wd blue and sandisk
As you can see, the new WD Blue 3D-equipped drive looks much like the previous generation. The drive has a basic, metal case with a 7mm Z-Height, adorned with a couple of decals on the top and bottom with branding and details of the drive’s capacity and a few specifications. Same goes for the SanDisk Ultra 3D. 
wd blue sandisk labels

Inside their enclosures there are few noteworthy items to point out. First, is the controller. These drives feature the very same Marvell 88SS1074 controller as the original WD Blue, but with updated firmware with the tweaks necessary to implement the 64-layer 3D BiCS flash memory. The Marvell 88SS1074 supports four NAND channels and has a native SATA 6Gbps interface. The controller is paired to some Micron DRAM cache and the aforementioned 64-layer NAND.
wd blue pcb a
WD rates the 1TB drives we’ve got here for 560MB/s and 530MB/s sequential reads and writes, respectively, with 95K / 84K random R/W IOPS. Endurance for the drives in rated for 100TBW – 500TBW, depending on the capacity, and WD warranties them for 3 years.
wd blue pcb b
There is no physical bundle to speak of included with either the WD Blue or SanDisk Ultra 3D SSDs, save for a simple lit-pack. SSD management utilities for performing maintenance operations and the like are available to download, however.
Tags:  SSD, Storage, Sandisk, SATA, WD, 3d nand

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