Western Digital re-enters the SSD market with Green and Blue drives

Mammoth hard drive manufacturer Western Digital is once again selling solid-state disks under its own name. This news comes a scant five months after the company completed its acquisition of SanDisk, a name so universally associated with flash memory that some people think SD stands for SanDisk. WD's new SSDs are named the same way as its entry-level hard drives, with two lineups called simply Green and Blue.

In hard drives, the Green name is associated with value and baseline performance, and WD seems to be carrying those basic characteristics over to its Green SSDs. These SATA drives come in 2.5" and M.2 2280 form factors, and appear to be similar to (if not directly based on) the SanDisk SSD Plus line. According to Anandtech, these new drives use a low-end Silicon Motion controller and no DRAM cache. That means performance could be middling even in the best of cases. WD says the Green SSDs should be good for 540MB/s of sequential reads and 405 MB/s writes. The company also quotes performance figures of 37K IOPS on 4K random reads, which isn't all that inspiring.

Of course, harping on the performance of a low-end SSD is missing the point a bit. The Green drives are aimed at not only low price-per-gigabyte but also a low final price. As a result, the new drives only come in 120GB and 240GB capacities. The 80-TBW endurance rating on the 240GB drive is higher than some of its competitors in the bargain-basement SSD market, and WD covers the Green drives with a three-year warranty.

The new Blues are a little more exciting. These SATA drives also come in 2.5" or M.2 2280 forms, and use SanDisk 15-nm TLC flash along with the same Marvell controller that Crucial used in the MX300 SSD we reviewed. That means the Blue SSDs are very similar to the SanDisk X400. WD specs the larger Blue drives for 545 MB/s on sequential reads, 525 MB/s on sequential writes, and 100K IOPS on 4K random reads—all numbers that hew to the X400's.

Anandtech got its hands on a sample of the 1TB Blue drive and tested it pretty thoroughly. The impression seems to be that it trades some performance for power efficiency versus the X400. That's not a bad trade overall, considering that the X400 was a pretty solid performer to begin with. Like their cheaper cousins, the Blue drives also get a three-year warranty.

WD hasn't revealed pricing on the Green drives yet, and they won't be released until "later this quarter." Meanwhile, the Blue drives are already out and selling at retail. Newegg has the 1TB WD Blue SSD for $299 in 2.5" form, or $319 as an M.2 drive.

Comments closed
    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    so is that it for metal platter tech? have they maxed out?

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    The remaining HDD guys have already seen the writing on the wall and this is just their transitional period. I suspect these SSDs will phase out their “performance-tier” HDDs.

    • 3 years ago

    Nice one WD.
    Just joined Samsung as the only ones with above 10K-QD1-4K reads.
    Let’s hope smaller sizes can keep that up.

    Sandisk were the only ones outside Samsung that had a grip on planer TLC.
    Crucial’s effort was terrible and Tosh/OCZ/Phison seemed to be using us as
    crash test dummies.

    As for the Greens-Should be avoided as with all Ram-less drives………………..

    After further browsing seems-
    Crystal scores 10K
    AS-SSD scores 7K7
    Anvil scores 7K9

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Where are you getting the 10K-QD1-4K reads result from? I skimmed the AT review and didn’t see it, only combined QD1, QD2 and QD4 results. If the WD blue really is capable of 10K with TLC, we’ve finally made some progress forwards rather than racing to the bottom \o/

      As for Tosh/OCZ cheap TLC drives, you get what you pay for. Over here at least they are [i<]dirt[/i<] cheap. I'm willing to use them as secondary drives (Steam library) and would have no qualms recommending them to people on a very tight budget because they're often 30% cheaper than other options.

        • HERETIC
        • 3 years ago

        [url<]http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/western-digital-blue-ssd-review,4767-2.html[/url<] I like Chris's reviews-also the guy that does PSU's is good. Toms is picking up.

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    At least we don’t need to worry about the Green ones parking their heads every 8 seconds!

      • demani
      • 3 years ago

      I don’t know- I bet WD can find a way to match that.

    • robertsup
    • 3 years ago

    wd workers asked about black line of ssd say that their dont see the market for it
    wtf? black hdd drives was good cuz of long warranty, performance and reliability if wd workers say that their dont see why their should make that kind of ssd their should be fíred at once!!!

    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    First they change Green/Blue/Black to “Mainstream” and “Performance” (but only for retail), mix Blue and Green labeling together with no clear distinction, and now they’ve decided to throw solid state drives in with their mechanical offerings and use the same marketing. Bravo.

      • meerkt
      • 3 years ago

      The 5400/7200rpm mix is bad (as was before the lack of easy distinction between drives with different platter densities), but SSD vs HDD is pretty easy to tell, so I see no harm in that.

    • kmm
    • 3 years ago

    Wait, so they got rid of the Green lineup of hard drives (most Blues are now 5400 rpm and fill the role) so they could resurrect that branding for SSDs? And use both Green and Blue for SSDs?

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I’m reminded of how Intel and Microsoft seem to be having all sorts of difficulties trying to enter a new market outside their own.

    • 1sh
    • 3 years ago

    There is 0 incentive to buy one of these, unless the competition is out of stock…

      • HERETIC
      • 3 years ago

      That totally depends on what market price settles at.
      If they can match 750EVO in lower sizes-they’ll be ok.
      The only other competition in planer TLC is Sandisk/themselves.
      If they price themselves against 3D they will have problems selling.

      • chµck
      • 3 years ago

      I think to most people, SSDs are indistinguishable from each other when it comes to day-to-day activities.
      Like heretic says, if it’s priced right, I’ll be buying.

        • HERETIC
        • 3 years ago

        That’s why were here-Were not “most people”
        You obviously haven’t been following the race to the bottom in SSD’s recently.
        The difference now is greater than it’s ever been.
        My line in the sand for a boot drive-
        1. Seq Read speed-500+
        2. Seq Write speed-200+ after the buffer (can’t have it slower than my spinning rust)
        3. QD1-4K-Read-8000+ iops.
        And if going in a lappy-Low power and not turn into a dog when 3/4 full………………….

      • albundy
      • 3 years ago

      worst of all, their starting price is $100 more than competitor prices.

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