Buying and setting up a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device is a great way to create your own personal cloud for home or office use. With a NAS, you can centralize your data, stream movies to everyone in the house, or even just use it for backup purposes. And then there are the power users that use their NAS for heavier tasks, like running various virtual machines, or in a professional environment to host large 4K and 8K media files and provide concurrent 10GbE connectivity to multiple users.
It is for the latter who may be interested in one of WD’s latest products, the Red SA500 NAS SSD. It's one of the best SSDs in terms of raw speed, but the robust SATA SSD aims to speed up your NAS so you can focus on work time rather than wasting it waiting for data to transfer from slow but more spacious HDDs. The SA500's low access times paired with high capacities and endurance makes it perfect for caching, or a speedy addition for standard file storage.
|WD Red SA500 500GB||WD Red SA500 1TB||WD Red SA500 2TB||WD Red SA500 4TB|
|Capacity (User / Raw)||500GB / 512GB||1,000GB / 1,024GB||2,000GB / 2,048GB||4,000GB / 4,096GB|
|Form Factor||2.5" 7mm & M.2 2280||2.5" 7mm & M.2 2280||2.5" 7mm & M.2 2280||2.5" 7mm|
|Interface / Protocol||SATA 6Gbps||SATA 6Gbps||SATA 6Gbps||SATA 6Gbps|
|Controller||Marvell 88SS1074||Marvell 88SS1074||Marvell 88SS1074||Marvell 88SS1074|
|Memory||SanDisk BiCS3 64L TLC||SanDisk BiCS3 64L TLC||SanDisk BiCS3 64L TLC||SanDisk BiCS3 64L TLC|
|Sequential Read||560 MBps||560 MBps||560 MBps||560 MBps|
|Sequential Write||530 MBps||530 MBps||530 MBps||530 MBps|
|Random Read||95,000 IOPS||95,000 IOPS||95,000 IOPS||95,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||85,000 IOPS||85,000 IOPS||85,000 IOPS||82,000 IOPS|
|Endurance (TBW)||350 TB||350 TB||1,300 TB||2,500 TB|
|Part Number (2.5")||WDS500G1R0A||WDS100T1R0A||WDS200T1R0A||WDS400T1R0A|
|Part Number (M.2)||WDS500G1R0B||WDS100T1R0B||WDS200T1R0B||N/A|
WD’s Red SA500 is a SATA 6Gbps SSD that comes in both 2.5” 7mm and M.2 2280 form factors (for more on form factors and other considerations, check out our SSD buying guide). Capacities range from 500GB up to 2TB in both form factors, but the 2.5” model ups the ante a bit with a 4TB model. Pricing is a bit high for a SATA SSD, $0.14 - $0.16 per GB, but the drive comes with relatively high endurance ratings up to 2,500TB and a five-year warranty. In many respects, the SA500 is spec’d similarly to the Samsung 860 EVO.
It supports Trim, S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, and secure erase. The Red SA500 line up is rated for 560/530 MBps of sequential read/write throughput and up to 95,000/85,000 random read/write IOPS. The 4TB model we are reviewing today comes with a slightly lower write IOPS rating, however, of 82,000 IOPS.
Software and Accessories
WD supports the Red SA500 with the company’s SSD Dashboard, which is a Windows-based application. With it, you can monitor your SSD’s health and performance, update its firmware, secure erase the drive, and more.
The company also offers a free locked down version of Acronis True Image HD 2016 for download that will help you clone your existing data to your new SSD. You can even use it create system images every now and again for back up.
A Closer Look
The Red SA500’s design is very close to the WD Blue 3D SSDs, even down to the internals. The casing consists of both metal and plastic components and a proven and reliable four-channel Marvell 88SS1074 SATA SSD controller resides inside. The controller supports low-density parity-check (LDPC) code and uses DDR3 DRAM cache. Our 4TB sample comes with 1GB of DRAM for a 1MB:4GB (DRAM:NAND) ratio. The controller interfaces with eight SanDisk BiCS3 64L TLC NAND flash packages and the drive comes from the factory with 9% of its raw capacity over-provisioned.
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