Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Judging from the specifications, WD is ready to take on the SSD market like a HDD manufacturer. Here we see a lot of information presented in typical fashion, for traditional platter drives. Just like Seagate and their presentation of the Pulsar, we see nothing about the controller type, number of channels, ONFI rating for the flash or really anything that tells us how the SiliconEdge is going to perform in the real world. We do know that the new SiliconEdge supports Windows 7 TRIM, Native Command Queuing and SMART. No word on an internal garbage collection mechanism yet.
Reading between the lines, we can see that Western Digital has one of the very best names for their SSD line, SiliconEdge. That's right up there for SSD Name of the Year, but it is going to have to compete with Patriot's SandForce 1200 controlled Inferno that will ship with a red enclosure. The shock rating of the new SiliconEdge Blue is higher than most SSDs we have looked at in recent months. As with all SSDs, the power draw is much less than their platter based cousins. WD is supporting the new Blue with a three year warranty. The last obvious part from the information provided by Western Digital is found right in the name.
For years the company has used a naming scheme that reflects where the drive stands performance wise in their product line up. For those concerned about power consumption and other environmental matters, the Green Series was made to satisfy your needs. In the middle is the Blue Series, generally a collection of mainstream products that satisfy users looking for a nice balanced mix between capacity and performance. The enthusiast level products are found in the Black Series, an area that Western Digital has been very successful in for quite some time. That leaves our SiliconEdge drive that we are looking at today right in the middle since it comes with the Blue name. It also has us really excited to think what WD might have in the works for their SiliconEdge Black Series!
Moving beyond the name and the information provided, we found that the SiliconEdge Blue has a controller that is labeled by WD as a WD chip. We have been told by the company that they co-developed the firmware and that the drive has successfully completed over 250,000 hours in their Functional Integrity Testing (FIT) lab. That is over 1000 days of testing. I really hope they didn't do that with just one drive. Even with 100 drives that is still over 100 days of testing.
On the inside of the drive we found a massive DDR II 512MB buffer chip from ESMT. Just a few weeks ago we were surprised to see a 256MB buffer on the Crucial RealSSD C300. On its own this leads us to believe that the SiliconEdge Blue needs quite a bit of assistance buffering data being written to the drive or a tracking system that isn't very efficient. That is all right though, we are about real world performance and not all of the tech that goes into making the magic happen, as long as it works.
The press release for the SiliconEdge Blue goes live at the same time of this article and availability should follow shortly after. At the start there will be three different capacities; 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. In the press release Western Digital also lists the MSRP; those are 279.00 (64GB), 529.00 (128GB) and finally 999.00 (256GB) with all pricings being USD. We will talk more about the cost structure in the Final Thoughts page at the end. I am excited to dig into the new Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue. Follow me!
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