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
POST A COMMENT

64 Comments

View All Comments

  • chuckbam - Saturday, March 20, 2010 - link

    I buy Intel for the Intel SSD Toolbox utility. With win7, I load the Intel chipset inf, Matrix Storage Manager and am not sure if Trim still works.

    I am happy to see WD into this market. Prices need to come WAY DOWN!
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, March 13, 2010 - link

    As a great fan of the Raptor series drives, what I want from WD is the same concept in SSD: the top performance and super reliability it is. The down side of course in a VelociRaptor is its relative price - and, as expensive as SSDs still are, a comparable price for an SSD "VelociRaptor" would be extreme.

    Still, it's what I want, and I could certainly see me building a high-end system using smaller capacity WD SSD "Raptors" in Raid 0 for that extreme performance goofy people like me want to have. If I get an extra few grand handed to me, I would use larger drives, of course.

    Anyhoo, this drive is not what I want to see from WD (unless of course it really does kick reliability butt over its competitors). Hopefully by the time I build another high-end rig (just built one so it will be awhile, likely) WD will have what I want (or someone), a SSD successor to VelociRaptor mechanical hard drives.
    Reply
  • liquoredonlife - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - link

    Great article Anand! Also thanks for reiterating the incompatibility with gen2 unibody macbook pro's and particular SSDs. Will you be able to test this SSD with your mbp? Reply
  • heulenwolf - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - link

    Anand mentioned some possible convergence between magnetic and solid state drive firmware development. Could this mean the mythical hybrid drive is down the road somewhere? With single spindles holding in excess of 300 GB and SSDs not even filling the 2.5" form factor, isn't there room for both? If not both storage types in one drive then maybe both storage types in one drive slot? Then you could have the boot drive be the super fast SSD and the advantage of cheaper, higher-capacity storage of a single-spindle magnetic drive in a single laptop. I think this dual-drive approach could be a better solution than the hybrid drive until caching in drive controllers becomes smarter. Reply
  • GullLars - Sunday, March 7, 2010 - link

    These drives clearly don't support NCQ, as IOPS don't scale with QD.
    The rating of 5000 IOPS is about the same as the rating of a single NAND TSOP. You can literaly get the same random IOPS performance from a thumbnail USB drive.
    Reply
  • ky - Thursday, March 4, 2010 - link

    Can someone explain why there's a dropoff in performance between the 100GB and 50GB Mercury Extreme SSDs in the 4K Aligned random write test? Reply
  • cactusdog - Thursday, March 4, 2010 - link

    Oh well nothing to see here either. I dont see how they can justify the price. A SSD with a PCB and some chips should be cheaper to make than a mechanical hard drive with moving metal parts. Fair enough to pay a little extra for new tech but this is ridiculous. Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    I'd really like to see performance of two 7200rpm drives in a striped RAID thrown into these charts. So please get on that. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, March 4, 2010 - link

    I'll save you the time of waiting.

    -Sequential Read and Write: Near twice the performance of a single drive

    -Random 4K read/write: Just as bad as a single drive

    Fin~
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    Going from WD's HDD naming conventions I would expect average but reliable performance from a "Blue" SSD, and that appears to be exactly what they've delivered, albeit at a ridiculously high price.

    The WD SSD I'm really interested in is the "SiliconEdge Black", a drive that will hopefully be forthcoming after their sales division puts down the crack pipe and gets serious about SSD pricing.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now