WD, or as I’ve known them since back in the day, Western Digital, has finally brought out a line of solid-state drives, and they are available for sale in South Africa as of this morning at “select retail outlets”.
This is according to Kalvin Subbadu, Western Digital Storage Technology sales manager for SA, who spoke at the drives’ launch event in Johannesburg this morning.
If you’ve been following WD’s product lines over the past years, these new drives will be immediately familiar: they’re available in Green, Blue, and Black formats, with each colour indicating what sort of performance you can expect from the drives.
Green is the entry-level SSD, offering capacities of 120GB and 240GB and sequential read/write speeds of 540MB/s and 435MB/s.
Blue is the mid-level range, with 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities and sequential read/write speeds of 545MB/s and 520MB/s.
Sadly, the company’s Black SSDs aren’t here yet, but we were told at this morning’s launch event that they are definitely coming.
Black is the company’s performance range, and it’s based on new NVMe SSD tech. As such these drives sacrifice capacity for raw speed: you’re looking at 256GB and 512GB drives that read at a whopping 2050MB/s and write at 800Mb/s. These are the drives gamers will get the most value from when it comes to OS and game loading times.
All of WD’s new drives are available in the traditional 2.5-inch laptop hard drive format and the newer M.2 standard that uses PCI Express lanes rather than SATA to communicate with the rest of the PC.
The drives that you can buy today, the Green and Blue ranges, are impressively affordable, too: R799 gets you a 120GB WD “Green” drive, while a 240GB Blue drive goes for R1429. I was not provided with the prices of all drives from both ranges, but I did ask; those details will be “coming soon”.
Both Green and Blue SSDs come with a three-year limited warranty.
While the drives WD introduced aren’t earth-shattering when it comes to raw performance numbers, they do address one major concern of SSD technology: reliability. WD’s Khwaja Saifuddin, the Senior Sales Director for South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, told us how these new drives are highly robust; the Green range, for instance, can last up to 56 years under a “light” workload of 20GB worth of data transferred per day. Under a heavy workload of 80GB per day, we were told, they still manage to last an impressive 14 years.
The official spec sheets of all Blue and Green drives say that the “Mean Time to Failure” for these drives is 1.75 million hours, so clearly, WD has a lot of confidence in its work.
No SSDs until now
WD has been in the traditional hard drive business for a long time, but until now it didn’t have any SSDs to offer as SSDs are memory-based products and thus use completely different technology to traditional platter-based hard drives.
So last year WD acquired SanDisk, the world’s largest manufacturer of Flash-based products, and more importantly, the holder of thousands of memory-related patents. From that union, WD set about creating WD-branded SSDs, and these drives that are just now available in South Africa is the result.