WD Blue SSD Review: Aggressively-Priced Solid State Storage

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WD Blue SSD Review: Western Digital's First Branded Solid State Drive With SanDisk Technology

Western Digital is the king of the hard drive market but up to now has been a non-factor in SSDs. However, with its purchase of solid state storage giant, SanDisk, the company immediately leaped to the forefront of the market in one fell swoop.

Now the company is entering the consumer/commercial SSD market with WD Green and WD Blue SSDs, using a naming scheme borrowed from its hard drive line and technology acquired from SanDisk. WD's Green lineup is for entry level PCs meant to have a low power draw while the Blue SSD series is aimed at mainstream consumers. Both series are available in both 2.5″ SATA III and M.2 SATA III form factors.

The WD Green SSD is only available in lower density 120GB and 240GB capacities. The WD Blue comes in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB, which is more in line with what power users might be looking for. It may not have AES 256-bit hardware encryption, but this drive does support DevSLP (Device Sleep). In DevSLP mode, the 1TB SSD has a power draw of between 6.0 and 9.7 mW, compared to 70mW for average active power. So it can get down there into low, low power mode.

All WD Blue SSD products are backed by a 3-year warranty that is specified by a terabytes written (TBW) endurance rating, rather than just a Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF). So technically, if you write too much data to the drive, you could void the time left on the warranty. 

wd blue ssd

WD Blue SSD
Specifications & Features
Specifications  1TB  500GB  250GB 
Model Numbers
WD Blue PC SSD 2.5”/7mm WDS100T1B0A  WDS500G1B0A  WDS250G1B0A 
WD Blue PC SSD M.2 2280  WDS100T1B0B  WDS500G1B0B  WDS250G1B0B 
Interface
WD Blue PC SSD 2.5”/7mm SATA III 6 Gb/s  SATA III 6 Gb/s  SATA III 6 Gb/s 
WD Blue PC SSD M.2 2280  SATA III 6 Gb/s  SATA III 6 Gb/s  SATA III 6 Gb/s 
Performance [4KB QD32] 
Sequential Read up to (MB/s)  545 545 540
Sequential Write up to (MB/s)  525 525 500
Random Read up to (IOPS)  100k  100k  97k 
Random Write up to (IOPS)  80k  80k  79k 
Endurance (TBW) 400 200 100
Power
Avg. Active Power (mW) 70 70 70
Max Read Operating (mW)  2,850 2,850 2,350
Max Write Operating (mW)  4,400 4,000 3,400
Slumber (mW)  45–52  42–46  42–45 
DEVSLP (mW)  6.0–9.7  6.0–7.7  4.9–6.0 
Reliability 
MTBF Up to 1.75M hours  Up to 1.75M hours  Up to 1.75M hours 
Environmental 
Operating Temperatures  0°C to 70°C  0°C to 70°C  0°C to 70°C 
Non-operating Temperatures  -55°C to 85°C  -55°C to 85°C  -55°C to 85°C 
Operating Vibration  5.0 gRMS, 10–2000 Hz  5.0 gRMS, 10–2000 Hz  5.0 gRMS, 10–2000 Hz 
Non-operating Vibration  4.9 gRMS, 7–800 Hz  4.9 gRMS, 7–800 Hz  4.9 gRMS, 7–800 Hz 
Shock  1,500 G @ 0.5 msec half sine  1,500 G @ 0.5 msec half sine  1,500 G @ 0.5 msec half sine 
Certifications  FCC, UL, TUV, KC, BSMI, VCCI  FCC, UL, TUV, KC, BSMI, VCCI  FCC, UL, TUV, KC, BSMI, VCCI 
Limited Warranty 3 years  3 years  3 years 
Physical Dimensions 
Size: 2.5”/7mm cased  7.00mm x 69.85mm x 100.5mm  7.00mm x 69.85mm x 100.5mm  7.00mm x 69.85mm x 100.5mm 
Size: M.2 2280  2.38mm x 22.00mm x 80.0mm  2.23mm x 22.00mm x 80.0mm  2.23mm x 22.00mm x 80.0mm 
Weight: 2.5”/7mm cased  59.7g  37.4g  37.4g 
Weight: M.2 2280  7±1g  7±1g  7±1g 


wd blue ssd dimensions
Although, with a base of 100 TBW for the 250GB version, you'd have to be doing a lot of writing to the drive to push that boundary. For reference, the WD Blue SSD 1TB has a 400 TBW rating. WD claims that if you write 20GB of data every day, it will take 56 years to hit that 400TB limit. The 500GB unit has a 200 TBW and the 250GB model has 100 TBW. So basically it's the same TBW across all three capacities, divided by size. Mind you, that doesn't mean the drive will die when you hit the limit, it just means the warranty goes out the window.

The WD Blue's hardware is identical to the SanDisk X400, which is very mature technology. So don't have any concerns about WD's "1.0" product here. All three capacity drives use the Marvell 88SS1074 SSD controller and sixth generation NAND from SanDisk manufactured on a 15nm process they share with Toshiba

wd blue ssd bottom

The X400 was meant for the mid-tier, as other SATA SSD vendors tended to go either high-end or low-end and ignored the middle. But for a mid-range product, Blue does pretty well. It peaks at 545 MB/s sequential read and 525 MB/s of sequential write speed, while random performance is around 100,000/80,000 read/write IOPS.

wd blue ssd package

WD offers a SSD Dashboard utility that is basically a clone of the SanDisk SSD Dashboard that's been available since 2014. It allows you to check out the status of the drive, make a bootable USB Flash drive to perform secure erase on the drive for those running Windows 8 or newer, update the firmware of the SSD, and more.

The WD Blue is a pretty bare bones package. You get the drive in a plastic tray. That's it. No software, not even a SATA cable.


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