Final Words

I've repeated it enough times that you should get the point by now - Western Digital's SiliconEdge Blue is just a bit behind the performance of an Indilinx based SSD. The drive performed relatively well in our tests. TRIM worked as expected under Windows 7. Compared to a standard hard drive it's great, but so are just about all other SSDs. Given that the Blue isn't the fastest SSD in the world, what this really boils down to is price.

At $529 for 128GB, the SiliconEdge Blue just isn't worth it. To be honest, the Blue needs to be priced similarly to Kingston's SSDNow V Series to even make sense. It has to be cheaper than both Intel and Indilinx drives, which means cutting the MSRP in half. Not to mention that I received and tested a 256GB version of the drive priced at $999. It remains to be seen how the 128GB drive performs as that one will most likely be the sweet spot of price/capacity/performance.

Western Digital has been testing the SiliconEdge Blue since October. The firmware I tested was cleared for release as of about a week and a half ago. The compatibility angle makes sense, it's only a question of whether or not the drive will deliver on it. If Western Digital can produce an SSD that just works without any fear of not working, dying or strange performance anomalies going forward, it'll help make users more comfortable with the idea of buying an SSD. That being said, the price still needs to be a lot lower.

The bigger picture is unclear at this point. Like Seagate, Western Digital hasn't invested in its own controller design - just in firmware, and to what extent we have no idea. WD did hint at the possibility of there being some overlap in firmware development with the HDD teams in the future. The SiliconEdge Blue may end up being a device to test the waters with a competitive, more heavily engineered solution coming out later on.

It just strikes me as odd for hard drive manufacturers with decades of experience in firmware development and data access patterns, to not come out of the gates swinging. Hopefully it's just these companies being cautious when entering a new, highly disruptive market.

AnandTech Storage Bench
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  • The0ne - Monday, March 8, 2010 - link

    Just wanted to say I love those firmware guys at SanDisk! :) Great job guys and keep up the good work. Reply
  • BelardA - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    "SSD will become commoditized (but it won't ever going to be as cheap as mechanical drives!)"

    Yes they will... in a sense. The same way a Quad Core intel will never become as cheap as a $30 Celeron... or a X1900XTX a $500 card turning into a $100 card - as a $75 ATI 5570 is easily faster... something else will come out that is cheaper and faster.

    The HD are hitting the limits of technology. Anything above 1TB are not as reliable as the smaller drives. The densities are too tight and eventually even the smaller drives will be using the same tech.. :( When 4GB drives come out... we'll be seeing even more failures and problems.

    But with SSDs, everything is a matter of price today. Its not impossible to make a 2GB or 4GB SSD drive... but just cost.

    When memory gets around 10ns and mass-production is up to much higher standards... then we'll see SDDs replace HDs. The benefits are very good, its still baby tech. Compare a 1986 HD to a 1990 HD, the 80s drives where every bad in reliability & speed. The 1990 drives don't even compare to the 1995 or 2000 drive.

    The HDs will eventually go away to be replaced by cheaper and faster SSDs... it won't be next year... but I'd project that in 4~5 years, SSDs will make up 50% of the market... Most people just don't need 2~4TB drives. What is needed is a $75 120GB drive, $100~120 256GB and a $150~175 500GB drive. We're not even close to that today.

    And in 1-2 years from now, I expect reliability to be much better.

    WD new drives are not impressive. I'll stick with the intels.
    Reply
  • Voo - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    "What is/will be important is the interface and the optimization of the SSD drives"
    The interface? Well that would be SATA, so that's a moot point. And optimization? That's exactly what they didn't do here. Also just because they know how to build a HDD that won't help them a bit for flash drives.. completely different technology.


    The only thing they could have going for them would be more reliabilty and that's to be seen. At the moment these drives are too expensive and do not offer exceeding performance..

    Also just because you're big doesn't mean you can't fail - wouldn't be a first in the industry..
    Reply
  • Frallan - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link


    Sinca Anand was way to kind to WD I will summarize the testing he has done:

    WD want us to pay through the nose for a drive with mediocre performance because they say that it is "more" compatible then other drives however they will not guarantee this!

    Since WD is trying to butt-feck us I suggest the put this drive where the sun do not shine and usr Dijon mustard as a lube.

    Just my $0.02
    Reply
  • Pessimism - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    only if its grey poupon. Reply
  • BCarr - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    I see newegg is selling the 256gb for $799, better but not quite there, since other brands are selling for $600-$750. Reply
  • c4v3man - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    I agree with the other poster. Samsung SLC SSD's that are the standard of the OEM industry are slower, more expensive, but more reliable than what an enthusiast would purchase. Pretty much the exact same description that these drives have. I'm betting this is primarily targeted at OEM's, and they are simply releasing them into the retail market to start a buzz before they release a WD Black SSD sometime in the future. If anything, this will double capacity of most OEM offerings for little to no increase in cost. With the crazy markup they're offering, they're also justifying their partners charging you an exorbitant amount of money to upgrade to SSD when configuring your system. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    I think WD's marketing/pricing department fell asleep back in 2008. What are they thinking? My only guess is they are banking on pre-built systems where companies such as Dell/HP/etc. already have agreements with them. They want the ram upgrade pricing for their SSD's. Otherwise, what a joke.

    It's always nice to see another player enter the fray, but I'd hate to see these drives selling at MSRP as your only option when buying a system due to the weight WD has in the storage market.
    Reply
  • Pessimism - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    I'll pass. They are the new VIA, delivering one unstable, standards uncompliant product after another. Reply
  • Mr Alpha - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    What if I've read through the SSD Relapse five times already and am interested in learning even more about how SSDs work? Reply

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