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WD Blue 3D NAND: The unremarkable original WD Blue SSD!


When Western Digital initially joined the solid-state storage industry. Its initial products were aimed squarely at commercial users. After acquiring the Sandisk trademark in 2015, They swiftly expanded into the consumer market with their WD Blue 3D NAND line.

The Marvell 88SS1074 controller, 512MB of LPDDR3 cache memory, and Sandisk’s 15nm TLC NAND modules were utilized in these drives. Their performance was adequate but not extraordinary. The 500GB model delivers 545 MB/s reads and 525 MB/s writes. As well as 100K read IOPS and 80K write IOPS. At introduction, the largest possible storage was 1 TB, and the 500GB variant cost £150. A few years later, the Sandisk division developed new 3D NAND TLC memory and integrated it into the new WD Blue 3D NAND SSD.



The 500GB WD Blue 3D NAND has an MSRP of £124.72 ($142.34). Yet we were able to find it for £117.56 with little effort. This places it in the same price range as Kingston’s.

UV400 or A400, as well as Crucial’s MX500, although significantly less expensive than Samsung’s 500GB 850 Evo. Western Digital also produces a SATA M.2 (not NVMe) version of the same disc. Which is somewhat more expensive but has comparable performance and features. From a purely financial standpoint. The WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB is competitively priced and far superior to the flood of low-cost TLC drives with odd branding.

If you choose a different brand, this drive is also available as the Sandisk Ultra 3D SSD, albeit it frequently costs more with that name.

Design of WD Blue 3D NAND

Features and Design: WD Blue 3D NAND

The outside packing of 2.5″ SSDs reveals little more than the knowledge that what’s within had no effect on the outside box in which it was placed.

This SATA SSD, like practically every other SATA SSD, masquerades as a 2.5″ SATA HDD and will operate in the same settings on any current operating system. Western Digital opted not to do anything more than was necessary for a physical device that goes inside a system, frequently never to be seen again. As with all modern technology, the intriguing thing is inside.

The designers did not modify the controller, since this SSD continues to use the Marvell 88SS1074 as previously. This four-channel controller has error-correcting low-density parity-check (LDPC) technology and is compatible with MLC, TLC, and the 3D NAND TLC Flash utilized in this series.

Along with the controller, a Micron cache module and four BiCS  3D TLC NAND in 128GB packages are installed on the inside board. If you open up a drive to examine these, which will require destroying the rear label, the small board within takes up less than 40% of the usable volume. The drive and a little warranty instruction sheet are included in the packing. Also, those who want software tools must contact the Western Digital website.

The WD SSD Dashboard, which monitors the disc and provides other valuable information such as the remaining lifespan, may be downloaded here. Acronis True Image WD Edition, a vital program necessary for cloning an existing system onto the WD Blue, is included alongside the SSD Dashboard. All of these are free and will work with any current Western Digital SSD.


Performance: WD Blue 3D NAND

There is a reasonable speed limit for SATA-connected storage. Also, most contemporary SSD designs approach or bang into it at around 560MB/s. What’s intriguing about this drive is that it not only meets the advertised read and write speeds of 560MB/s and 530MB/s, but it slightly exceeds them. We scored 563.7 MB/s reads and 536.8 MB/s writes with CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0.

These are excellent results from any SATA-connected drive, regardless of the manufacturer. The claimed IOPS are again exceeded, with reading IOPS of 97.4K, a tad higher than the 95K provided. That’s excellent, however, the difference is so minor that most users won’t see it.

What’s more amazing is how this drive retains its performance over time, while using the TLC memory type. We’ve lately observed a number of drives that operate admirably till their internal cache is depleted. Which time write performance drops to around half of what it was.

The 3D Blue 3D NAND is not immune to this effect. Although write speeds drop to 450MB/s and remain stable even with very large file transfers. Because of the TLC problem, most elevated branded drives employ MLC flash. Which can sustain write performance in the absence of cache support.


The WD Blue 3D NAND may be the dying gasp of the SATA SSD before NVMe. That interface is being pushed into the long grass by technology. It’s a significant advance over its predecessor, and it competes with Corsair and Samsung’s mid-range offerings. Excellent overall performance combined with affordable cost is a winning combination, at least for those who still want or want SATA.

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