WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review

| Published Date
31 - Jan - 2017
| Last Updated
01 - Feb - 2017
 
9500
79
WD Blue SSD 250 GB

    WD Blue SSD 250 GB Price in India

  • 9500/-
Aimed at the mid-range segment, the WD Blue range of SSDs offer pretty good performance.

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Rating 79100100

Our Verdict

The WD Blue SSD offers good performance given that it is using TLC NAND but is about 600-700 bucks more expensive than other TLC SSDs in the price bracket. We’re talking sticker price here which for the 250 GB SKU is Rs.8,320 but you can find them online and at local retailers for roughly Rs.6,799. For something that’s an older SanDisk SSD with just newer branding, the price tag is a teensy bit higher. If you take that out of the picture, then the WD Blue SSD is a pretty good option in terms of performance.

PROS

  • Energy efficient 15nm NAND
  • Above average build quality

CONS

  • Repackaged SanDisk X400 SSD
  • Slightly overpriced in the mid-range segment

WD Blue SSD 250 GB: Detailed Review

WD’s acquisition of SanDisk has now resulted in a new lineup of SSDs aimed at the mid-range and budget segments. Keeping in line with their HDD brands, WD has used the same Blue and Green branding for these two segments, respectively. This isn’t WD’s first foray into the SSD business, they’d released the SiliconEdge Blue drives about seven years back and that was followed by the WD Black2 hybrid drive a couple of years later. And now, we have the WD Blue and WD Green SSDs with WD Black SSDs to be launched in the first half. 

Specifications

The WD Blue SSD makes use of the Marvell 88SS1074 controller with SanDisk’s 15nm TLC NAND. This configuration isn’t new as it’s the same as the SanDisk X400 SSDs but with different capacities. The closest SanDisk X400 in terms of capacity was the 256 GB SKU which used the same Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND (05478064G) packages and the WD Blue 250 GB unit has 4 packages arranged in the same fashion as well. The RAM on the WD Blue SSD is different from the one on the SanDisk X400 though. We see a Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DIB which is a 128 MB DDR3L package clocked at 800 MHz while the X400 had a 256 MB Micron DDR3L package clocked at the same frequency. Needless to say, this change in configuration will require firmware modification as well and thus the performance of the WD Blue SSD will vary from that of the SanDisk X400. Let’s take a look at the specifications of this particular SKU.

 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Specifications

Interface

SATA III 6 GB/s

Controller

Marvell 88SS1074

NAND

SanDisk 15nm TLC

RAM

DDR3L 1600 128 MB

Seq. Read Speed

540

Seq. Write Speed

500

Random Read IOPS

97K

Random Write IOPS

79K

Endurance (TBW)

100

Active Power Consumption

70 mW

Peak Power consumption (Read)

2350 mW

Peak Power consumption (Write)

3400 mW

Idle Power consumption

42-45 mW

MTTF

1.75 Mil Hrs

Form Factor

2.5–inch

Height

7 mm

Weight

37.4g

Warranty

3 years

Price

Rs. 9500

Cost per GB

Rs. 38

Build and Design

Upon opening up the unit we see that the insides are practically the same as the SanDisk X400. It’s literally written right there on the blue solder mask. Given that you don’t need that many NAND packages to make up the 250 GB capacity, we see that the PCB is quite short. The bottom portion of the SSD i.e. the plate on the left in the below image seems to be aluminium with a thermal pad affixed to help transfer heat from the controller and the RAM to the metal body which, in turn, acts as a heatsink. The NAND packages don’t heat up as bad especially given the fact that they’re based on 15 nm process node and they’re not going to be stressed to their max at any given time. The other half of the body i.e. the one shown on the right is plastic. The PCB is secured in place with the help of two aluminium screws. None of the components on the underside make contact with the plastic body. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital Disassembled

Up close, we get to see the Marvell 88SS1074 controller in the middle with a SanDisk NAND package (05478064G) to it’s left and the RAM package (NT5CC128M16IP-DIB) to the right. Another NAND package lies horizontally across the top. The Marvell 88SS1074 is the fifth generation controller from Marvell that supports not only 15/16 nm TLC but also MLC, SLC and 3D NAND. It’s built on a 28 nm CMOS process and supports TCG Opal, DEVSLP and 256-bit AES encryption. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital Controller

The underside is pretty barren with just the remaining two SanDisk NAND packages. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital NAND

Overall, we’d say that the drive has quite a standard build with no exceptional features that stand out. The controller is pretty good for SSDs using the SATA III interface and the entire thing is a SanDisk X400 in a new package. What remains to be seen is if the modified firmware and reduced RAM will affect performance by a significant margin.

Performance

Prior to conditioning the drives, we ran a few synthetic tests and the numbers came back reflecting WD’s spec sheet. Sequential read and write speeds were at 538 MBps and 518 MBps, respectively. 4KQD32 read and write speeds were at 381 MBps and 324 MBps. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital Crystal Disk Mark

We then moved on to conditioning the SSDs to achieve steady state. Post conditioning, sequential speeds dropped to roughly 339 MBps which is pretty decent for TLC NAND SSDs. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital IOPS

As for write speeds the speeds drop even further to about 162 MBps, and we’re still moving sequential data around.

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital IOPS

So we finally moved to a lower queue depth and moved to random data and the speeds dropped a lot more. Nothing alarming here so far but these values are lower than that of the SanDisk X400. 

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital IOPS

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital IOPS

SSD performance isn’t just about pure read speeds or write speeds anymore. All new controllers are quite capable of handling synthetic loads quite easily leading to metrics which aren’t indicative of real world performance. So we’re going to have a look at latency timings for each operation across varying queue depths.

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital Latency

We notice that the Marvell 88SS1074 along with the modified firmware don’t respond evenly to different load conditions. Both the latency graphs for read and write operations show a geometric progression which is again, not something you’d want. Ideally, we’d want a curve that isn’t so steep. Moreover, the latency timings for write operations are roughly twice as compared to the read operations. As for the slope of the graph, it’s practically similar.

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Review Western Digital Latency

WD Blue SSD 250 GB Verdict

The WD Blue SSD offers good performance given that it is using TLC NAND but is about 600-700 bucks more expensive than other TLC SSDs in the price bracket. We’re talking sticker price here which for the 250 GB SKU is Rs.8,320 but you can find them online and at local retailers for roughly Rs.6,799. For something that’s an older SanDisk SSD with just newer branding, the price tag is a teensy bit higher. If you take that out of the picture, then the WD Blue SSD is a pretty good option in terms of performance.