Western Digital has started to ship its SanDisk Ultra 3D drives based on 3D TLC NAND memory. The drives, which were formally introduced nearly two months ago, are identical in terms of hardware to the WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD, but come in different form-factors. As for pricing, Western Digital wants the SSDs to be affordable, which is why it sells the 1 TB models at below $300, in line with competiting drives from Crucial and Mushkin.

As reported, the SanDisk Ultra 3D as well as the WD Blue 3D NAND SATA are based on the Marvell 88SS1074 controller and use Western Digital’s 64-layer BiCS 3D NAND TLC memory. The drives take advantage of Marvell’s third-generation NANDeXtend LDPC-based ECC technology, but come with proprietary firmware developed in-house. The new products made in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB configurations, but in different form-factors: the WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSDs come in 2.5"/7mm and M.2-2280 form-factors, whereas the SanDisk Ultra 3D SSDs are only available in 2.5"/7mm DFF packaging.

Western Digital rates its 3D TLC NAND-based drives for 1.75 million hours MTBF, which is higher than their drives featuring planar TLC memory, but a bit lower than the MTBF number offered by some competing drives. Meanwhile, the TBW ratings of the drives range from 100 TBW for the 250 GB models to 500 TBW for the 2TB models. Being a bit cautious with reliability/endurance ratings is normal because companies typically do not want elevated expectations when they deal with a new type of memory.

From performance point of view, the new SanDisk and WD-branded drives and offer up to 560 MB/s sequential read speed and up to 532 MB/s sequential write speed (when pseudo-SLC cache is used to boost write speed), which is comparable to other mainstream SATA SSDs. As for random reads and writes, we are looking at 95K IOPS and 84K IOPS, respectively, again, in line with what competing drives offer.

Specifications of WD Blue 3D NAND SATA and SanDisk Ultra 3D SSDs
Capacity 250 GB 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factors: WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSDs: 2.5" and M.2-2280
SanDisk Ultra 3D: 2.5"
Controller Marvell 88SS1074
NAND Flash 64-layer 3D TLC NAND
Sequential Read 550 MB/s 560 MB/s
Sequential Write 525 MB/s 530 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 95K
Random Write IOPS 81K 84K
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer unknown
Encryption unknown
Power Management Slumber, Device Sleep, etc.
Power Consumption Max Read Operating 2.2 W 2.05 W 2.55 W 3 W
Max Write Operating 2.25 W 3.35 W 3.75 W 3.8 W
Average Active Power 52 mW 60 mW
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 1,750,000 hours
TBW 100 TB 200 TB 400 TB 500 TB

Since all SATA-based drives offer more or less similar performance, pricing becomes one of the main features of SSDs with this interface. As expected, Western Digital charges $99 for the entry level SanDisk Ultra 3D model with 250 GB capacity. Meanwhile, the drives with 500 GB and 1 TB memory are available for $165 and $280 from Amazon. As for the WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSDs, the company promises on its web site that they will be available in “late summer 2017”, presumably at similar price points.

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  • Glock24 - Friday, August 04, 2017 - link

    What is the incentive to get this instead of an 850 EVO? Price it 15% lower and it might sell. Reply
  • Drazick - Saturday, August 05, 2017 - link

    When will we see SATA Express drives?

    I prefer those on M.2 as they should behave thermally much better (We can install them away from the Mother Board).
    Reply
  • cfenton - Saturday, August 05, 2017 - link

    Probably never. I don't think the motherboard support ever took off enough to convince manufacturers to make many (any?) drives. Also, M.2 drives work in desktops and laptops, so the manufacturer only has to make one product. Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Saturday, August 05, 2017 - link

    SATA Express is dead. It only provides two PCIe lanes, which isn't enough for high-end NVMe drives. And the thermal limits of M.2 SSDs are often greatly exaggerated. It's extremely rare to find any real-world desktop workload that triggers thermal throttling.

    The U.2 standard does exist for 2.5" hot-swappable PCIe x4 SSDs, but don't expect it to ever get much traction outside of the enterprise market.
    Reply
  • Drazick - Sunday, August 06, 2017 - link

    This is really bad.
    I don't want all my drive to be on the Mother Board.
    I want them far away.
    Reply
  • sonicmerlin - Saturday, August 05, 2017 - link

    Is this DRAM-less? Those drives don't seem to last long. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Sunday, August 06, 2017 - link

    GOOD NEWS

    Samsung 850 Pro 40nm MLC / 256GB / 10 Year Warranty is BACK ON SALE @ Newegg

    Why spend $100 for a slower drive with a 3 year warranty?

    For $10 more you can have the fastest SATA SSD on the Planet and a 10 year Warranty

    The 850 went OFF sale on August 3rd and is now back ON SALE!

    I have a feeling this portends big changes coming soon from Samsung or they wouldn't be doing this

    Would they???
    Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Sunday, August 06, 2017 - link

    The current sale for the Samsung 850 Pro @ newegg appears to be for EVERYONE!

    The sale last week was most likely for newegg insiders only
    Reply

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