Reviews  

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD

Madana Prathap 2010-05-06
84 Very Good
Price: Rs 58,250

Full Review

If you have been watching with disdain the low-capacity SSDs currently walking the ramp, waiting for a drive to appear that offers enough storage capacity for your needs, the Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB is the drive for you. This Solid State Drive can set you free from the slower speeds of normal spinning magnetic hard disk drives. If the rest of your PC/laptop is already tuned for high-performance, you can see a big boost in system speed after adding in this drive.

That an SSD can improve system performance is established knowledge – see our comparison of SSD versus HDD to see proof of the difference in numbers.


The biggest plus point about this WD SSD is that it is much more practical to use alone on a daily basis. Compare this to all those 30-40GB SSDs which are so tiny in data storage capacity that you simply cannot have more than just the Operating System (Windows?) and a few core applications running off the drive! The 256 Gigabytes of space available on this drive will let you provide SSD accommodation to your OS, applications, games, and even store a number of large files (useful if you edit videos or store movies). It’s worth mentioning that Western Digital is a big player in the storage segment, with some of the best performing desktop drives in its kitty (like the WD VelociRaptor series). It did not previously play in the memory-manufacture business (unlike other SSD makers like Intel, OCZ, Kingston, Strontium) yet saw the SSD market sufficiently valuable to jump in with a product offering.

Specifications
As with most solid-state drives, the WD SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD also uses MLC NAND flash, can withstand light shocks, does not heat up in operation, and is silent. It is colored metallic silver, looks like a standard laptop HDD, has a 2.5-inch form factor and uses the SATA-2 interface. Its silent operation and low power usage makes it a good candidate for use on high-end desktops/laptops and HTPC (Home Theatre PC) purposes.

Compared to today’s mainstream HDDs that consume at least 5 Watts on average, this SSD uses 2.6W while active and 0.54W at idle, which takes it into the arena of using just milli-Watts! Its idle power consumption may be higher than the Kingston SSDNow drives that we’ve seen, but the difference may not matter that much if your other PC components are not particularly frugal with power.

Performance
We run synthetic benchmarks and real world tests using the fastest PC components, to remove most bottlenecks that hold back performance. Read speeds averaged a consistent 226.6 MB/s – right across the drive, without a dip in the speed graph. Write speeds averaged a consistent 140.7 MB/s with a CPU utilization of 3 per cent. Random read/write access times averaged 0.2 ms and 0.18 ms. In comparison, average desktop drives average 75 MB/s read, 60 MB/s write, and 12 milli-seconds random access time.

Real world write speed while copying a single large file of 6.42 GB onto the SSD stood at 131.61 MB/s. Copying multiple smaller files (800 files totaling up to 6.36 GB) onto the SSD was almost the same speed, at 115 MB/s. Copying multiple small files from one partition to another (intra-disk file transfer speed), was at 27.01 MB/s. The reverse, copying large and small files from this SSD onto our reference hard drive was child’s play since the SSD supplied data at 190 MB/s and the limitation was our HDD’s write speed. This SSD obtained 27,271 points in the PC Mark 05 HDD Suite index.

WesternDigital SiliconEdge SSD 256GB

That an SSD can improve system performance is established knowledge – see our comparison of SSD versus HDD to see proof of the difference in numbers. However a normal spinning HDD can turn in better speeds while writing small file-sizes and while transferring data between partitions on the same drive. The Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB drive provides 238GB of usable space. The SiliconEdge package that we received, did not have the extra accessories or software bundled with the Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 512GB drive. The performance numbers seen above are definitely good, but not the best among Solid State Drives. At a price of Rs. 58,250 the price-per-GB ratio does not work out very well, but then you have to keep in mind that this is a high-performance SSD so you could not have expected anything different. In comparison, spinning laptop hard disk drives of similar form factor, and mainstream desktop HDDs are priced dirt-cheap. However, this WD product line is available in 64GB (Rs. 16,250) and 128GB (Rs. 30,900) capacities as well, so those who want a more economical option can pick one of these lower capacity drives. Western Digital offers a three-year warranty on this product.

Bottom Line

This Solid State Drive offers far more data storage capacity than the average SSD out there. It would be good for your desktop/laptop, if you could afford it. Unfortunately, it is priced such that buyers looking for capacity will be enticed away by the Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 512GB. Those on a budget might want to spring for other consumer-targeted drives such as the Strontium Swift 64GB SSD, Kingston 64GB SSDNow or Intel X25-M 80GB SSD instead.

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