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Pros: A lot of reviewers have already posted performance specs (e.g., random read/write, sequential read/write, 512, 4K, random, etc.) so I'm not going to rehash all of that except to affirm WD's stated claims of 550MB/s read and 525MB/s write.
It's difficult to differentiate offerings like SSDs for a lot of technical reasons and difficult to validate "marketing". It's not like I can reverse engineer the firmware to corroborate how wear-leveling and ECC actually takes place vs a competitor's product.
That said, it uses some pretty dense NAND technology, 3D/TLC meaning the cells have 3-layers and at stacked to increase capacity volumetrically vs widening the footprint. While this enables increased capacities, there are some tradeoffs discussed in the cons.
However, if you’re an average consumer and you’ll be using this in conjunction with a backup device (as everyone should) this is an excellent choice of high-performing storage at a solid price. If you need more capacity, consider some of the larger capacities.
All of the above is largely true of all products in this consumer category and price point. The differentiator is this product carries the Western Digital name and reputation and leverages their acquisition of SanDisk, a leader in NAND flash memory technology. So, buy with confidence in their reputation as industry leaders.
Cons: As noted above, to increase capacity this disk uses 3D TLC NAND, but with a major drawback that the technology inherently shortens the number of write cycles available for the cell over MLC and SLC NAND to about 5,000 before failure at the cell level compared to about 100,000 cycles for SLC and 10,000 for MLC. Still, I’ve never had a single MLC or TLC drive fail in 7 years. So the odds are remote that you’ll see a failure under normal consumer usage for 7-14 years. That said, it is something you’ll want to be aware of. However, know that this problem is consistent for all manufacturers using TLC NAND.
This is why warranty is so important. Western Digital offers it’s typical 3-year warranty for it’s Blue line for this drive, which is fairly risk averse from their perspective. Under strenuous write cycles the disk should last at least 3.5 years. The warranty only covers up to 3 — one might infer that they’re only covering the bare minimum for this drive and don’t consider longevity to be a key differentiator. That said, this warranty is pretty standard across the industry.
It’s important to note that the mean time before failure is 1.75 million hours, which is just shy of 200 years. That doesn’t mean your drive will last 200 years, it just means that, on average, there’s an estimated 1 failure resulting in total device downtime in 1.75 million hours of usage. Obviously, cells may failure sooner, but the disk as a whole should continue functioning, holistically, for much longer, and the now ubiquitous wear-leveling technology should mitigate the risk of short cell life.
Overall Review: WD acquired SanDisk in 2016. SanDisk is a leading manufacturer of memory technologies so this offering from WD is expected to leverage their deep knowledge base. I think you can certainly buy with confidence, and I still enthusiastically recommend, just make sure you're indeed buying this for consumer purposes and be cognizant of the degree of write cycles your usage requires so you're not caught unaware. Again, I've never personally had an SSD failure in 7 years and I'd consider myself an average user with moderate write cycles in my normal usage. I also don't believe WD would put their reputation on the line for a series of SSDs that underperformed. So, buy with confidence and plan accordingly.
Pros: WHY THIS IS SIGNIFICANT
First consumer 2TB sized SATA SSD with 3D BiCS NAND. The 3D TLC NAND is truly high-performance and can undergo sustained write activity. (Planar 2D NAND usually requires a SLC buffer and the write activity tanks after a couple seconds when the buffer is filled.)
Performance is so good that it saturates the SATA 6Gbps interface. It uses the Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller with low-density parity check (LDPC) error correction.
No worries about early adoption of brand new technology with TLC NAND because it is backed by a 3 year warranty. The 2TB SSD has a 500 TBW rating. Most consumers only write about 10 GB data per day after initial system setup.
Free software for Dashboard and Acronis True Image for cloning and maintenance. Dashboard offers live disk performance monitoring.
This drive is cost-competitive for its size/speed. Main competition would be the Samsung product which is pricier.
Cons: I cannot find out if this is uses the 512Gb or the 256Gb NAND dies without cracking the 2.5”/7mm case. Dashboard software doesn’t work across both WD and Sandisk product families even though they are both the same company now. Be careful when ordering to order the newest product since the older WD Blue SSD (without 3D NAND) is still out there for sale.
Overall Review: COMPANY HISTORY AND BRANDING
A little history: WD bought SanDisk for about 19 billion last year. Sandisk’s manufacturing partner is Toshiba. Together, Toshiba and Sandisk ramped up 3D NAND production for the mobile device market and 3D BiCS NAND has been shipping for about a year. The third revision which is 64-layers high is what is being used in this SSD - which is essentially the same as the Sandisk Ultra 3D SSD product. This WD Blue brand is aimed at system builders and resellers while the Sandisk brand is aimed at brick and mortar stores and end-users looking for upgrades.
NAND, 3D NAND, and BiCS
There are three main types of NAND flash. Single-level cell (SLC): 1 bit per cell (on or off); Multi-level cell (MLC): 2 bits per cell; Triple-level cell (TLC) 3 bits per cell. Endurance usually goes down with more bits per cell.
Putting the cells on a sheet is 2D NAND.
2D NAND (also called planar or single-layer NAND) has encountered challenges in achieving higher densities due to cell-to-cell interference as the cells got smaller and closer together..
3D NAND has multiple layers of cells allowing for higher capacity in a smaller space. This also results in reduced power consumption and higher data write performance. Samsung was first to produce 3D NAND and called it V-NAND. WD/Sandisk partnership with Toshiba calls it BiCS (Bit Cost Scaling). 3D NAND generally uses MLC or TLC flash. BiCS uses TLC. Only this year did Toshiba start delivering 512Gb chips. Last year was limited to 256Gb chips. Their latest chips have 64 layers.
The 3D NAND market has for the most part been completely gobbled up by the cell phone manufacturers. Most manufacturers are spending a lot on converting fabrication plants to 3D NAND so the hope is that prices will drop soon but with Apple stocking up on components for the new iPhone, NAND prices are expected to remain high through the rest of the year. This drive is cost-competitive as of my writing.
Pros: Much better performance compared to the previous Blue SSD drives
Cons: Random 4K reads are weak, hopefully this is something with firmware that can be addressed in the future.
Overall Review: This review is for the WD Blue SSD 500GB model WDS500G2BOA. This is a 2.5 inch form factor drive. For this review it's running firmware X61130WD.
This drive surprised me from the get go. I own and use 16 SSDs in my home PCs. These drives come from a variety of Vendors and sizes 128GB-1TB...and includes WD, Samsung, Mushkin, Sandisk, Kingston, etc. While all have performed well the Samsung EVO line has always been my gold standard for main stream SSD(with the pro for more high end 2.5 inch). The price and performance for the EVO line was unmatched for years. In the past year competitors have been producing drives that encroach in the territory. This WD blue is one of them. While it doesn't beat the EVO in every category it's performance is compelling.
For the purpose of comparison I'll compared the WDS500G2BOA vs the other 2 SSDs in the test rig.
The test rig is running Windows 10 x64 Pro i7-6700k, 16GB ram, using a Gigabyte Z170x-UD5 TH-CF motherboard
The competing drives are of course the WDS500G2BOA (firmware X61130WD)vs the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB (firmware EMT02B6Q) vs Mushkin ECO3 480G (firmware 01126A)
Scores in UserBench were as follows
In sequential read/writes
WD Read 516 Write 504 Mixed 505
SS EVO. Read 520 Write 408 Mixed 418
ECO3. Read 494 Write 254 Mixed 272
WD. Read 32.1 Write 65.7 Mixed 31.6
SS. Read 47.4 Write 100 Mixed 41.4
Eco3. Read 37.1. Write 63.7 Mixed 17
Deep Queue 4K
WD. read 361 Write 343 Mixed 16.8
SS. Read 355 Write 280 Mixed 27.6
ECO3. Read 37.1 Write 66.9 Mixed 46.2
In AS SSD Benchmark set to 1GB (please bear in mind benchs can fluctuate as much as 1-3% depending on the run)
WD. READ. Write
Seq: 479.93. 495.73
4K. 32.23 69.00
4K-64. 371.59. 324.50
AccTime. .058ms. .101ms
Score. 452. 443
Seq. 513.75. 503.24
4K. 46.95. 125.21
4k-64. 378.34. 324.85
AccTime. .038ms. .025ms
Score. 477. 500
Seq 525.01 464.33
4k. 32.09. 115.53
4k-64. 192.15. 331.40
AccTime. 0.033ms. .031ms
Score. 277. 493
While I wish I could compared the WD to all my SSDs I'm time/space are limited here.
As can be seen the current weak spot of the new WD blue is it 4k performance aka smaller files. Being a newer drive time will tell if Western Digital can improve this area with a firmware update. As far as benchmarks go results can vary depending on which program you use to test.
Overall I am impressed, and at the time of this review there's been no firmware updates yet. If WD can improve the weaker 4k results this drive can become a great seller and that would change my review from a 4 EGG to 5 EGG review
Pros: I got this drive and put it to work immediately. I ran CrystalDiskMark 5.2.2 against this drive and a Kingston and a Samsung SSD, all purchased new within the last 12 months. Result? A small difference in numbers, each of the 3 drives was slightly better (usually under 1%) in one category than the other. Close enough where I can't conceive of a circumstance where anyone could reasonably find one "superior" enough over the other.
I set it up as separate storage for VM (Virtual Machines) running under my windows 7 box with the VMs running Linux which I develop on for an average of 8-10 hour a day 5 days a week (yeah.. I have a life off of my computer on the weekends). The average size of my VM drives are about 50GBs, so I keep archival backups so that if I crash the one I am working on, I am not set back far. For safety about once a week I copy one off the drive. So far it's hugely solid, no unexplained crashes or other issues.
Cons: So why missing one star? I compared the MTBF and warranty to what I could find on the other two drives. The MTBF I don't worry about too much as I have worked in the industry and I know it can be gamed to some extent. The warranty however is a truer reflection in the confidence a company has in it's product as it is a direct "Cost" given that the company knows that a given amount of drives will fail. The longer that warranty is the more costly to the company. So if you found two nearly identical products and one had a longer warranty, it would likely be a more honest reflection of the product.
WD has a 3 year warranty on their drive and another company has a 5 year warranty on their drive that is near identical in size/cost/performance. It is hard to tell however if a company is willing to relinquish more profits on a per unit sale for greater sales in volume, which in the long run make and keep you a market leader. What I'm saying is that why warranty is a good indicator, it doesn't necessarily indicate a superior product - though it directly benefits the customer to a greater extent.
Overall Review: As I used to write test code for an SSD manufacture (none of the companies mentioned - and haven't worked for them in 7 years, I had some insider knowledge that isn't common knowledge. The most important can be reflected in the following statement. There isn't much difference in the qualities of the leading brands. Mostly look at the things that might be the most important to you rather that is the migration software, warranty period, status of the brand name, or the design of the case.
I would end by saying this appears to be a high quality product, worthy of consideration.
Pros: First step I took was to clone my desktop using USB3 port and an Orico 2.5 drive adapter took 25 minutes to clone 177GB from a 240GB SanDisk Z410 then I wiped the drive installed it in the same computer and re-cloned it and it took 20 minutes same computer same original SSD. Then removed SanDisk drive and booted off the new drive took approximately 21 seconds from push power button to inside windows. Everything migrated without any issue. I used MiniTool Partition Wizard 10. WD does offer free cloning software for download from their website Acronis true image but I prefer not to use that one based on their past versions that were not as reliable as the one I prefer to use.
Cons: none that I can see except the cost of larger drives still needs to come down some more but it beats the heck out of when we were paying $130 for a 20GB WD blue spin drive on sale.
Overall Review: CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World: http://crystalmark.info/
Sequential Read: 491.136 MB/s
Sequential Write: 467.627 MB/s
Random Read 512KB: 376.922 MB/s
Random Write 512KB: 446.683 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1): 32.065 MB/s [ 7828.3 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1): 85.558 MB/s [ 20888.1 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32): 194.030 MB/s [ 47370.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32): 174.587 MB/s [ 42623.9 IOPS]
SYSTEM: Living Room computer
ASUS 970 PRO Gaming/Aura MOBO
AMD FX-8370 Vishera 4.0 Ghz
2x8 GB Gskill Ripjaw RAM
Rosewill Blackhawk gaming case
Corsair CX500 PSU
Blu-ray lightscribe burner
EVGA 730 NVIDIA graphics card
Dual ASUS 23” Widescreen monitors stacked top and bottom
Windows 10 pro 64 bit
Pros: The WD blue SSD is their second generation platform which has been updated with 3D BiCS flash 64 layer NAND TLC.
The latest Marvell 88SS1074 controller also improves upon the 1st generation , Marvell’s third-generation NANDeXtend LDPC-based ECC technology with custom firmware.
Free download of their dashboard software to monitor the drive, update firmware, etc.
F.I.T lab tested to be compatible and reliable over a broad range of desktop/laptop computers as well as various custom built motherboards.
WD claims 1.75 million hours MTBF which is theoretically around 20 years running 24/7.
Sequential Read 550 MB/s
Sequential Write 525 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 95K
Random Write IOPS 81K
In my own testing
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 549.597 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 521.546 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 340.527 MB/s [ 83136.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 283.862 MB/s [ 69302.2 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 487.209 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 509.461 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 40.610 MB/s [ 9914.6 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 123.169 MB/s [ 30070.6 IOPS]
OS : Windows 10 Professional [10.0 Build 15063] (x64)
WD claim is very spot on and easily within the best of the best, 850 EVO in mind.
IOPS were on the lower side per WD specs but nothing you will most likely notice.
Cons: Plastic cover feels cheap, all prior SSD's I own are solid metal top to bottom so it's different but it likely won't hurt any long term performance or durability.
Made in China vs Taiwan or S. Korea. Nothing personal but it should be noted for those who might care.
3 year warranty when they claim over 20 years seems weak when WD black HDD's still carry a 5 year warranty.
Overall Review: With speeds in the realm of the best, why not go with black as their flagship SSD?
Speaking of speed, warranty and price with the MSRP of $99 the WD blue has some very stiff competition namely the well tested and solid track record of the 850 EVO which is only a few dollars more BUT comes with a extra 2 years of warranty.
I believe if they want to have good sales this line needs to drop in price or increase the warranty to be more competitive.
Just too many models on the market with similar stats and price points.
Overall a great drive, does what it claims and does it very fast without issue.
Pros: The new WD SSDs is based on its 64-layer 3D NAND memory chips and also a Marvell controller (presumably, the 88S1074 or the 88NV1120) with some additional engineering and in-house developed firmware. Both ICs support Marvell's third-gen LDPC-based ECC technology, but the 88NV1120 does not require any DRAM cache to work, lowering BOM of the drives. Western Digital has not confirmed the exact controller it uses, but all modern Marvell SSD ICs support LDPC.
This drive installed without a problem which was expected. The speed it great and i did a comparison with my new Radeon R7 SSD.
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 555.452 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 528.764 MB/s
WD 3D NAND
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 562.839 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 532.659 MB/s
These are just a partial speed comparisons just to give you an idea.
WD has bought out SanDisk Just in case you didn't know about this.
Cons: The warranty is only three years.
Which isn't a deal breaker but their are other company's who offer better.
Overall Review: I like the idea of longer lasting SSDs so time will tell if they in fact last longer because of the newer tech.
Pros: Fast drive limited by the Sata interface
Lower power consumption(compared to older wd blue drives)
3D nand enhances drive reliability and sizes
Comes with software that you can use to monitor your drive or clone and backup
3 year warranty
A must have for any computer, using mechanical drives now for anything less than mass storage is something i could not go back to.
Definitely a step up from older SSDs, even those who use the sata3 6gb/s interface
Overall Review: Tested this drive against 2 other SSDs in my system, a regular 2d nand sandisk ssd pro 128gb and a samsung 950 pro 256gb NVMe pci ssd using crystal disk mark to bench them all.
1tb WD Sandisk 950evo
Read: 556.3 448.3 2251
Write: 534.4 211.0 948.6
As you can see from the results, the WD blue gets exactly as WD claims and it's interesting to see how it stacks up against an older drive and the faster drives that use different interfaces. It's worth noting that when the sandisk drive was brand new it got around the same read speeds as the WD blue but still way slower writes. I threw the 950 nvme drive in just for comparsion as nvme drives are getting more and more common and they are not limited by SATA.
Test was done on windows 10 with:
i5-4690k on a z97 asrock motherboard
16gb of ram and using 1gb file sizes in crystal diskmark.