Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue (256GB)

Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 2
By

Finally, there's Western Digital. The mechanical hard drive vendor has been popular for many high-capacity and high-performance products, the VelociRaptor drive being one recent excellent example. Now it’s time for WD to enter the SSD arena. The first product isn’t a high-performance part, but it offers a relatively roomy 256GB capacity. Models at 64GB and 128GB are also available. For those who still remember WD’s acquisition of Silicon Systems, this is the first mainstream product resulting from that deal.

The name SiliconEdge Blue makes it perfectly clear that performance wasn’t Western Digital's top objective. Instead, the company focuses on three items: reliability, decent performance, and shock and vibration resistance. While being rugged has been a focus for most SSD vendors, WD stresses reliability and data safety with its new Functional Integrity Testing (FIT) lab, which is tasked with ensuring maximum data safety and compatibility.

Let’s get to the testing. Predictably, the SiliconEdge Blue is not a speed demon when compared to other SSDs. The maximum bandwidth of 215 MB/s is low compared to drives like Crucial's RealSSD C300. Moreover, we found that write throughput suffers over time when the drive is used intensively. Still, the SiliconEdge Blue remains clearly faster than mechanical hard drives under all circumstances.

We found more performance drawbacks when testing I/O performance, but let's be fair: WD doesn’t make astronomical performance claims in this product’s data sheet. While WD wouldn’t tell us what controller it uses, we now know that this drive is based on JMicron’s latest JM610-series, very much like the hardware Kingston decided to use in the SSDnow V. This could explain the performance deficiencies, which are quite similar. Application performance on PCMark Vantage is at average or above, but performance may drop in certain workloads, despite TRIM support (which isn’t mentioned on the WD datasheet).

The Blue's idle power draw (1.0W) is higher than many competitors, but Kingston’s SSDNow V drive requires even more. Clearly, both are not ideal for laptop computers requiring the longest possible battery runtimes. Active power was also higher than on most other SSDs.

Lastly, we know that WD wanted to go mainstream with this drive, and the $999 price tag is definitely aggressive—just in the wrong direction. Even the two smaller capacities aren’t particularly budget-friendly. We have to consider the hardware being used and compare to what Kingston is asking for its SSDNow V-series products. In this light, we hope that street prices for this series will be more reasonable (and indeed, PriceGrabber gives us a $819 price point on the 256GB model).

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 48 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    sstym , April 13, 2010 12:40 PM
    I am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD.
    How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    duk3 , April 13, 2010 6:32 AM
    Hmm...
    12 core processor, new computer or an SSD...
  • 4 Hide
    husker , April 13, 2010 7:18 AM
    duk3Hmm...12 core processor, new computer or an SSD...


    Tough choice so I got all 3, minus 8 cores. I purchased the Kingston in 64GB size. I personally think it is a great value, once you've accepted that there is big price premium for this technology. Power consumption comparison? Really? Is the 2 or 3 watts difference really worth splitting hairs over when it comes to systems that typically need to be feed hundreds and hundreds of watts? Also, another reason for getting one of these is that they are totally silent. Sometimes you have to look past pure benchmarking numbers and look at the overall experience that these drives give you.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2010 7:29 AM
    Great article, but no RAID tests?
  • 3 Hide
    martel80 , April 13, 2010 8:26 AM
    Quote:
    New SSDs from Crucial, Kingston, and Western Digital
    haven’t made buying decisions any easier. In fact, buying the right drive just got more complex.
    I think the conclusion is still the same... Buy Intel. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    ossie , April 13, 2010 10:33 AM
    "The new JMicron drives vary, despite TRIM support, which might be due to the Highpoint/Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller we’re using."
    Ouch...
    Also, access time graphs seem very inconsistent (WD/JM). Ever tried to discard anomalous data?

    Intel's still best all-rounder.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2010 12:03 PM
    You should also look at value in terms of $ per GB as well. A 256GB drive lets you do a lot more.
  • 15 Hide
    sstym , April 13, 2010 12:40 PM
    I am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD.
    How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?
  • 5 Hide
    Snipergod87 , April 13, 2010 1:47 PM
    I agree with sstym. Those low power levels dont really matter, undervolting your CPU like I did on my older laptop, 1.35Vcore to 1.30. like a 7-10Watt savings lol.
    Performance per dollar would be a great graph to add.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , April 13, 2010 2:04 PM
    the ocz vertex looks good
  • 3 Hide
    pjsinc , April 13, 2010 2:37 PM
    Kingston also has V+ series (e.g. SNVP325-S2/128GB), I wonder how it compares to the tested model since at least on paper the specifications seem to be higher that with the tested model...
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 13, 2010 2:54 PM
    Seems it would be worth waiting for more development and fine tuning.
  • 2 Hide
    tecmo34 , April 13, 2010 3:48 PM
    Confirms as other have said... Intel is still one of the best overall options.

    Also.... no OCZ Vertex LE (Limited Edition) tested or listed on the charts? These seem to beat out all the other current SSD's based on reviews at other "not named" websites. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    rhino13 , April 13, 2010 3:51 PM
    Thanks for the informative article Toms.

    It seems Intel really knows how to make a fab.
  • 1 Hide
    HalfHuman , April 13, 2010 4:18 PM
    congrats on trying to make a comprehnsive review on various ssds as waters are quite murky.
    i also do not see the point on making comparisons between different drives as they are so tiny. a perfromance per dollar seems a better measurement than performance per dollar.
    seems that indilix is the best when you factor in all and that is the reason that i'll get that into my workstation.
    i guess right now it really does not make much sense to go for more than 60-80gb as prices skyrocket beyond that. performance is much more important than size on these drives. anyway in 2 years you will look at these 60gig drives as you look now at 128mb penflash drives. so my conclusion is that it's best to get a good performer in 40-80gig space that is not more expensive than 300$.
  • 0 Hide
    HalfHuman , April 13, 2010 4:20 PM
    * power usage comparison
  • -2 Hide
    salimbest83 , April 13, 2010 4:37 PM
    the only reason i choose intel
  • 0 Hide
    husker , April 13, 2010 5:53 PM
    pjsincKingston also has V+ series (e.g. SNVP325-S2/128GB), I wonder how it compares to the tested model since at least on paper the specifications seem to be higher that with the tested model...


    Check out the review of a Kingston 128GB V+ drive here: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/
  • 0 Hide
    Gian124 , April 13, 2010 5:56 PM
    As another poster pointed out on SSD Roundup, Part 1... it is odd that the Intel G2 Used drive out performs Fresh on several benches. Any explanation TH?
  • 3 Hide
    dupaman , April 13, 2010 6:40 PM
    sstymI am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD. How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?


    When talking about desktops, I agree with you, but laptops are a different story altogether, where 3W is probably worse than mechanical drives. Still, I like the performance/$ idea.
    Thanks to Patrick and Achim for including the power info for SSDs, this has been an excellent roundup article series! Keep up the good work.
Display more comments