Sunday November 20, 2016 10:19 am
Western Digital Blue SSD review: A solid SSD
For decades, Western Digital has been recognized as one of the very few leaders in the world of storage and hard drives. If you open up that pre-built computer you bought, there's a good chance that on the inside you'll find a Western Digital-branded drive. If you're building your own, you likely purchased (or at least considered) going with Western Digital for your internal storage solution.
Where this might now have been the case is if you wanted to be a part of the growing trend of users switching to solid state drives. SSDs allow for faster speeds, both in read and write times, as well as the benefit of having no moving parts. They are faster, quieter, and more durable. When they were first released, they were prohibitively expensive, but as time has gone on, prices have dropped substantially as they do with any new form of technology.
The problem that Western Digital had was that it's class-leading hard disk drive prowess didn't mean that it was prepared for the new age of SSDs, and it had nothing to offer customers who wanted to go this route. It's solution was to purchase SanDisk in March 2016, a company that excels at flash storage solutions, and 8 months later we have the first results in the Western Digital Blue SSD.
With the WD Blue you get a fast, reliable SSD at a very fair price. This is a SATA drive, not PCIe, so you can expect a definite benefit over spinning hard disks, but not the higher bandwidth of the more expensive flash drives. You can pick up the WD Blue SSD in either a 2.5-inch or M.2 form factor.
While many SSD makers start their drives at smaller capacities, say 64GB and 128GB, Western Digital shows that it wants you to be able to use their drives as your primary storage rather than as just a boot drive for essential files only. As such, the WD Blue SSDs are available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities.
When talking about hard drives, the two primary concerns for most people are reliability first, and speed second. As for reliability, I already mentioned that SSDs have no moving parts, so they're known for being much more dirable than the spinning hard drive variant. That said, they do have a limit on how much data can be written to it over time. WD says that the Blue SSDs can have 400TB written to the 1TB model, 200TB written to the 500GB model, and 100TB written to the 250GB version.
In terms of speed, the WB Blue is able to almost fully saturate the speed of a SATA connection. Again, it can't hit the much higher speeds of a PCI Express SSD, but those are also more expensive and not all machines can support them. By this point, it would be nearly impossible to find a modern computer that doesn't support the SATA standard, so this was a great place for Western Digital to start.
By the way, if you're worried about warranty coverage, do know that Western Digital includes a three-year warranty on their SSDs against manufacturer defects.
The WD Blue SSD is a solid (no pun intended) drive for the money. Blue is an appropriate color here, as it reminds me of a blue-collar worker. It does its work and gets the job done without fuss. Hard drives and SSDs aren't particularly exciting, but you do need them to be reliable and fast, and Western Digital accomplishes both here.
Disclosure: Western Digital provided us with a 500GB WD Blue SSD and sponsored this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own, and Western Digital had no input on the contents of this article.
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