WD SSD Buyers Guide – Blue, Red, Black, Green & Gold Difference

Choosing a WD SSD – Get it Right First Time

Solid State Drive (SSD) technology is something that, though once considered out of the reach of the average consumer, is now very, very common. Considerably faster than the much older HDD technology, SSDs are now featured inside almost every commercial technology device that we use today in some large or small form. One of the biggest brands in the world of storage in 2020/2021 is Western Digital and unsurprisingly, they have an impressive selection of SSDs available to buy in their product portfolio. This combined with WD being connected with SanDisk and UltraStar, has resulted in their range of SSDs for sale being incredibly diverse and confusing. So, if you are in the market to buy a new SSD from WD, it can be awfully confusing and you can spend hours trying to narrow down the literal hundreds of SSDs on offer to the right one, losing hours along the way. Never fear, I have taken the time to break down the key product families (WD Blue, Green, Black, Red and Gold) and separated them into what each one is designed for, what each one can do, what it cannot and ultimately help you decide the best SSD for your storage needs. However, before we start, it is worth taking a moment to learn about the key buying factors that affect the performance and suitability of any SSD compared with another.

Choosing the Right WD SSD – A Guide to the Terminology

Before we discuss each of the WD SSD family members, it is worth highlighting some of the most common buying factors that affect the performance and durability of an SSD. It is with these that you can measure the suitability of the SSD with your own personal/business needs. Often the higher the capacity of an SSD, the lower the durability (unless you go towards exceptionally high-end NAND), or the fact that the most expensive SSD does not always guarantee the highest IOPs, or negate the lower drive writes per day. Below ar the key factors that you should keep an eye on when looking at the specifications and build of an SSD.

NAND Types (the Cells/Chips used in the SSD) –

  • SLC: Single-level cell NAND flash supports 50,000 to 100,000 write cycles
  • MLC: The 2-bit data multi-level cell (MLC) flash generally takes up to 3,000 write cycles. eMLC (enterprise MLC) sustains up to10,000 write cycles, and can reach 35,000 cycles on 3D NAND
  • TLC: Triple-level cells (3-bit) NAND flash is low at 300-1000 write cycles, and can achieve 1500-3000 write cycles with 3D NAND
  • QLC: Quad Layer Cells, featuring 4 Bit flash – Highest Capacity available at the lowest price, but lower durability overall. Requires improved controllers for stability
  • 3D NAND Technique – Method of stacking/writing data vertically on chips, resulting in even faster retrieval and more efficient space utilization. Often featured with TLC and MLC NAND
  • eXLC – Often featured as eMLC, eTLC, and eQLC, it is an enterprise-quality build and utilization of the existing MLC/TLC/QLCNAND usually featured for improved consistent speeds and more write cycles on balance

TCO – Total Cost of Ownership, In a TCO calculation, cost per gigabyte still has a role, but it’s only a very small part of a much bigger picture. Other metrics – such as IOPS per watt and capacity and performance per rack – also come into play. The truth is that TCO can’t be measured with any single metric; it’s a mix of several measures that should be weighted according to the unique workloads of the storage system.

IOPS Input/output operations per second – (IOPS, pronounced eye-ops) is an input/output performance measurement used to characterize computer storage devices like hard disk drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD), and storage area networks (SAN).

TBW – Terabytes Written – measures how much you can write cumulatively into the drive over its lifetime

DWPD – Drive Writes Per Day – specification of a drive to calculate the number of times that the user capacity of a drive can be written per day over the warranty period

TBW ÷ (warranty years × 365 days/year× Drive Capacity in GB) = # DWPD

MTBFMean Time Between Failures, is a popular measurement for HDDs but not as meaningful for SDDs.

ECC – (error correction code) software corrects random bit errors that are quite common in NAND flash, and helps to correct bit errors from wear. By correcting both types of errors, ECC lengthens the lifetime of a block.

TRIM – These commands are not typically error-checking tools, but do improve performance by immediately wiping deleted pages or blocks. Without TRIM, the SSD controller does not actually wipe deleted data until it is ready to write new data to the same location

WD BLUE & SN550 NVME SSD – For Home, Domestic and Standalone Use

We start with the BEST cost vs hardware SSD drive of all, the WD Blue SSD series. These are designed with day to day access and long term use in mind, as well as arriving in both a SATA and NVMe form. Once these would have been recommended for use for your operating system inside a non-mission-critical PC (general browsing etc), but now with the inexpensive of SSD even at 1TB and it becoming ideal for your operating system, start-up and primary apps, the WB Blue SSD moved into being more than just a bog-standard SSD and is now an impressively scaled drive, with the SN550 NVMe SSD serving as a good commercial/SMB drive for PCIe equipped user devices.

WD Blue 3D NAND SSD Highlights

WD 3D NAND – 250GB-4TB, SATA 2.5” and M.2 SATA, 530 MB/s R/W, 95K/81K IOPS R/W, 0.3 DWPD, 5YR WARRANTY, 1.75Million MTBF

WD Blue 3D NAND SSD – 250GB-1TB, NVMe PCIe Gen 3, 2,400/1,950 MB/s R/W, 410K/400K IOPS R/W, 0.37 DWPD , 5YR WARRANTY, 1.7Million MTBF

Also Consider – SANDISK SSD PLUS

3D NAND TLC

3D NAND TLC

250GB Model WDS250G2B0A WDS250G1B0C
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 550MB 1700MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 525MB 1300MB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95,000 210,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 81,000 170,000
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 100TB 150TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,750,000
Warranty, Limited (years) 5 5
500GB Model WDS500G2B0A WDS500G1B0C
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560MB 1700MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530MB 1450MB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95,000 275,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 84,000 300,000
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 200TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,750,000
Warranty, Limited (years) 5 5
1TB Model WDS100T2B0A N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530MB N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 84,000 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 400TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 N/A
Warranty, Limited (years) 5 N/A
2TB Model WDS200T2B0A N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530MB N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 84,000 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 500TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 N/A
 

WD RED SA500 SATA SSD – For NAS Server Use in Caching and/or Live Access

Possibly the most well know WD HDD Color we will talk about today, WD Red is the Drive you need for your NAS Server. If you are looking at buying a brand new Synology NAS for your home or a beefed-up QNAP NAS for your business, then it is paramount you get media that is designed to not only be ready for sporadic and irregular read and write (as your access to the NAS Server will differ constantly) but also media that is designed to be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alongside the popularity of WD Red in the work of NAS, WD have invested heavily in SSD technology and presented an SSD that is tailored for use in NAS drives, both as a means of adding caching to improve performance in/outside of your system, as well as for raw data access over connections like 10Gbe and Thunderbolt 3 NAS. In this environment, a regular SSD is just no longer suited and though will perfect the job, will do so much slower in Read/Write MB/s, have a lower endurance rating, less than ideal TBW and worse of all have a lower IOPs rating than you need – which for caching, can be critical. Lastly, WD Red SA500 NAS SSDs are concurrently available in M.2 SATA format, but with more and more NAS drive manufacturers involving the faster NVMe SSD cache into their systems (Synology DS1621XS+, QNAP TVS-872XT and Asustor LockerStor 10 Pro to name just a few), it will not be long before WD Move into this area of SSD NAS Storage.

WD RED SSD Highlights

WD 3D NAND – 500GB-4TB, SATA 2.5” and M.2 SATA, 530 MB/s R/W, 95K/82K IOPS R/W, 0.38 DWPD , 5YR WARRANTY, 2Million MTBF

Also consider – SANDISK ULTRA 3D

SSD NAND Type 3D NAND TLC

3D NAND TLC

 

SSD Model WDS500G1R0A WDS500G1R0B
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560 560
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530 530
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95K 95K
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 85K 85K
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 350 350
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2 million 2 million
Warranty, Limited (years)

 

5

 

5

 

SSD Model WDS100T1R0A WDS100T1R0B
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560 560
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530 530
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95K 95K
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 85K 85K
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 600 600
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2 million 2 million
Warranty, Limited (years)

 

5

 

5

 

SSD Model WDS200T1R0A WDS200T1R0B
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560 560
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530 530
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95K 95K
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 85K 85K
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1300 1300
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2 million 2 million
Warranty, Limited (years)

 

5

 

5

 

SSD Model WDS400T1R0A N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 560 N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 530 N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 95K N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 82K N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2500 N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2 million N/A
Warranty, Limited (years) 5 N/A
 


WD GREEN PC SSD – For Basic SSD Use in non-critical Devices

Considered the entry-level SSD, the WD GREEN SSD arrives in SATA and m.2 SATA formats. Though not as affordable as the WD Green HDDs of old, they’re still considered a lower power and more discreet SSD. If you are looking for a small-capacity SSD for your hardware, on a device that is less frequently, or urgently accessed (so high IOPs and Higher Read/Write is not key), then the WD Green SSD range is the best one for you. Generally, the WD Green series, once very popular, is largely overlooked these days. This is once again largely due to the manufacturing technique of SSD 3D NAND becoming far more efficient and affordable, leading to the WD Blue and WD Black series becoming far more desirable.

WD Green SSD Highlights

SLC NAND- 120GB-1TB, SATA 2.5” and M.2 SATA, 530 MB/s R/W, 20K/15K iops R/W, 0.3 DWPD , 3YR WARRANTY, 1Million MTBF

  WD Green 2.5”

WD Green M.2

  NAND SLC NAND SLC
  WDS120G1G0A WDS120G1G0B
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 540 MB/s 540 MB/s
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 430 MB/s 430 MB/s
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 37k 37k
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 63k 63k
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 40 40
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1.75M hours 1.75M hours
Warranty, Limited (years) 3 3
  WDS240G2G0A WDS240G1G0B
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 545 MB/s 540 MB/s
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 435 MB/s 430 MB/s
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 37k 37k
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 63k 63k
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 80 40
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1M hours 1.75M hours
Warranty, Limited (years) 3 3
 


WD BLACK SN750 NVME SSD – For Speed Critical and Performance Priority Tasks

Serving as the Performance and High Intensive access SSD choice, the WD Black series has been circulation for a relatively shorter time compared with the NAS and Desktop SSD media over in both the SSD and HDD industry, as well s arriving at a steeper price point. However, this is largely down to the use of some hugely top-grade NAND, Controllers, choice of interface (one of the latest NVMe revisions you can get, though still compatible with older varients) and arrives with a unique heatsink addition where needed. Whether it is through the marketing around WD Black or the history of the WD Black HDD range previously, those with a background in PC building and Photo Editing will be aware of this product family. Outperforming the majority of the WD SSD range, it also features much higher grade NAND, so both performance and durability is impressive, though the available capacities might seem a little lower than what many would be used to for 4K projects in post-production – so use them for Live Editing, but they are wasted on your archive – so keep them sharp! They are seen as the drive of choice of large scale media editors due to their balance of large capacity vs access speeds

WD BLACK SN750 NVMe SSD Highlights

3D NAND SSD – 250GB-2TB, NVMe PCIe Gen 3, 3,400/2,900 MB/s R/W, 410K/550K iops R/W, 0.3 DWPD, 5YR WARRANTY, 1.75Million MTBF

Also Consider – SANDISK EXTREME PRO 3D

SSD MODEL WD SN750 BLACK

SSD NAND 3D NAND TLC
  WDS500G3X0C
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3430MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 2600MB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 420,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 380,000
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000
Warranty, Limited (years) 5
  WDS100T3X0C
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3470MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 515,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 560,000
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000
Warranty, Limited (years) 5
  WDS200T3X0C
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3470MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 480,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 550,000
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000
 

WD GOLD u.2 NVME SSD -For Enterprise and High-End Flash Use

However, if it is a high-end performance at a hyper-scale level (so large servers, flashstation and data centers) you are looking for, the WD Gold SSD range, with its utilization of PCIe NVMe Gen 3.1 x4 via U.2 is almost certainly the one you need to be looking for. Although purely U.2 equipped servers are very, VERY much at the top end of the market, the WD Gold is pretty much the GO-TO drive in their SSD portfolio you need to consider. It is worth highlighting that at this point, you should also be looking at UltraStar SSD (acquired in the WD/HGST merger in recent years). But, with Secure Data Erasing featured, as well as SED and FIPS level encryption on the table (it’s a recent release, so always growing), the WD Gold SSD range is by FAR their best performing SSD as far as IOPS, DWPD and TBW come in, and if you are looking for a data center SSD in 2020/2021 without the fuss, then look no further!

WD Gold U.2 NVMe SSD Highlights

3D NAND SSD – 250GB-2TB, NVMe PCIe Gen 3.1 x 4, 3,100/1,800 MB/s R/W, 465K/65K IOPS R/W, 0.8 DWPD, 5YR WARRANTY, 2Million MTBF

Model ID WDS960G1D0D

WDS192T1D0D

WDS384T1D0D

WDS768T1D0D

Capacity 960 GB 1.92 TB 3.84 TB 7.68 TB
Form Factor 2.5″ U.2 7mm 2.5″ U.2 7mm 2.5″ U.2 7mm 2.5″ U.2 7mm
PCIe Type PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
NAND Type 96-layer BICS4 3D TLC NAND 96-layer BICS4 3D TLC NAND 96-layer BICS4 3D TLC NAND 96-layer BICS4 3D TLC NAND
Sequential Read 3000 MB/s 3100 MB/s 3100 MB/s 3100 MB/s
Sequential Write 1100 MB/s 2000 MB/s 1800 MB/s 1800 MB/s
Random Read (4 kB) IOPS 413k 472k 469k 467k
Random Write (4 kB) IOPS 44k 63k 63k 65k
70/30 R/W Mixed IOPS 111k 194k 174k 187k
Power Active Configurable 10-12W Configurable 10-12W Configurable 10-12W Configurable 10-12W
Power Idle 4.6 W 4.62 W 4.94 W 4.95 W
TBW/PBW and DWPD 1.4 PB
0.8 DWPD
2.8 PB
0.8 DWPD
5.61 PB
0.8 DWPD
11.21 PB
0.8 DWPD
Warranty 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years
 



 

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