WD Blue SSHD (WD10J31X) 1TB Review Rev. 2.0

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Our Verdict

Western Digital is very late to the Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) market. Seagate launched the industry’s first SSHD, the Seagate Momentus PSD, back in 2007. It has taken Western Digital 8 years to dip their toes into SSHDs, but we are glad to see that they are off to a good start.

Like all other SSHDs, the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD (WD10J31X) uses a small 8 GB SSD as a fast secondary cache, in addition to the usual SDRAM cache.

This flash memory cache quickly stores all writes to drive, copying them over to the slower hard disk drive over time. Because it retains the written data, the data can be read from the much faster flash memory cache. This improves its read performance, albeit only for the data that is still stored in the cache.

  • WD Blue SSHD (WD10J31X)
  • WD Blue SSHD (WD10J31X)

Thanks to its flash memory cache, the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD was about 70% faster than the 1 TB WD Blue Slim (WD10SPCX) in the WinMark tests. This is the same hard disk drive the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD uses, so we can see the effect the small SSD cache has on its real world performance. It was also 20-40% faster than the 750 GB WD Scorpio Black, a high-performance mobile hard disk drive that features a much higher 7200 RPM spindle speed.

When we compared the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD to its direct competitor, the 1 TB Seagate Laptop SSHD, it proved to be :

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  • 75% faster in large sequential reads
  • 52% faster in large random writes
  • 21% faster in large random reads,
  • 14% faster in small random reads and writes
  • 7% slower in large sequential writes
  • 33% slower in small sequential writes
  • 40% slower in small sequential reads

It’s a mixed bag of results, but the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD is faster than the 1 TB Seagate Laptop SSHD in the more important performance aspects. We would peg the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD as the better drive of the two.

The 1 TB WD Blue SSHD could have performed better if Western Digital opted for a better flash controller than the JMF608. This is a 4-channel flash controller limited to 150 MB/s (read) and 100 MB/s (write). Western Digital would do well to use a faster flash controller if they want to maximise the performance of their future SSHDs.

The 1 TB WD Blue SSHD (WD10J31X) is no SSD, but it offers pseudo-SSD performance in the performance aspect that the hard disk drive is weakest at – random accesses. That’s why it “feels” like you are using an SSD. Even though it’s not quite as fast as a real SSD, it comes with an enormous storage capacity and costs far less per GB.

The 1 TB WD Blue SSHD is best used as a boot drive, if you have a dual-spindle laptop that supports two drives. It is also a great upgrade option for older laptops – giving them a new lease of life, thanks to its significantly better performance and storage capacity.

We are very pleased with the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD‘s performance, and we think it deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Western Digital!

Tech ARP Reviewer's Choice Award


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