The 8TB WD Blue is a basic entry-level HDD that provides enough performance to be useful for adding more storage to your system without breaking the bank, earning it the title of the best hard drive in the budget category. It stands out from other inexpensive drives by sticking with CMR technology at 8TB, and the Blue series also has CMR options at other capacities. The 8TB model also has a small bump to 5640 RPM over the 5400-RPM drives typically found in this price class. This makes it a clear winner over the Seagate BarraCuda alternative that employs slower SMR tech, but it falls short compared to faster drives like the 7200-RPM FireCuda. In its performance class, the WD Blue’s price point makes it compelling against all competitors.
The Blue has the usual software support we'd expect, but the industry-standard two-year warranty for this class of drive isn't impressive relative to more full-featured and expensive options, like the 7200-RPM FireCuda that has an additional three-year data rescue service. The Blue also has a smaller cache for its capacity, even compared to the BarraCuda, so this drive is meant to be a budget offering. It’s not the best drive to substitute for NAS use or heavier workloads, but it is perfectly suitable for adding more storage to your system for media, backups, and general tasks that don’t require SSD-class response or bandwidth.
|Product||WD Blue HDD|
|Cost per TB||$13.75|
|Interface||SATA 6 Gb/s|
|Sustained Transfer Rate||Up to 185 MB/s|
|Workload Rate Limit||N/A|
The WD Blue HDD is available in multiple capacities, but it’s important you check the datasheet before buying. The 8TB model uses versatile CMR technology, has a 128MB cache, spins at 5640 RPM, and achieves an internal transfer rate of 185 MB/s. However, not all Blue models have CMR technology — other Blue drives come in both CMR and slower SMR flavors at each capacity point, so be sure to do your homework. Also, all smaller Blue models spin at either 5400- or 7200-RPM.
The competing 8TB Seagate BarraCuda uses slower and less versatile SMR recording tech, has a 256MB cache, spins at 5400 RPM, and delivers up to 190 MB/s. However, the BarraCuda uses SMR tech in all capacities, which is much less desirable.
The 8TB Blue is currently available for $109.99, making it the best buy for its target use cases of bulk data and archival storage. Both it and the BarraCuda have a short two-year warranty.
Software and Accessories
The WD Blue HDD comes with a free downloadable WD Edition of Acronis True Image for drive cloning. The drive is also supported in the downloadable Western Digital Dashboard, which provides diagnostic information and firmware updates. This suite is comparable to Seagate's competing software.
A Closer Look
The WD Blue is what you'd typically expect of a 6 Gb/s SATA hard drive and comes adorned with the familiar Western Digital label with coloring to match the drive’s series. WD’s Blue SSDs and HDDs are entry-level storage options designed to provide more capacity on your system without any hard sacrifices.
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