Yesterday, Western Digital unveiled a slew of new products aimed at a wide range of customers, from consumers to large corporations. This year’s show features two new 26TB and 22TB hard drives, as well as a variety of high-capacity SSDs, internal and external high-performance WD Black SSDs, and mid-range PCIe 4.0 SSDs that could end up in your next prebuilt PC.
Data storage capacity is increased at the expense of performance in Ultrastar DC HC670 drives with shingled magnetic recording (SMR). This technology is used in WD’s WD Red Pro hard drive range, which is designed for commercial use rather than personal use. In the wake of WD’s usage of SMR technology in its hard drives without disclosing it, the WD Red Plus drives were produced that employed CMR instead.
The 22TB drive does make use of CMR technology to increase storage capacity while keeping performance unchanged. As of this writing, the maximum capacity of current CMR drives is 20 terabytes. For example, Seagate, for example, relied on SMR technology to make 22TB hard drives, like this one from Western Digital, a reality. Western Digital’s Ultrastar, WD Purple, WD Red, and WD Gold product lines will all feature this drive. In the coming months, all of the new drives will be available.
Storage capacity drops as we move to SSDs, yet enterprise-class drives are getting closer all the time. Both the 2.5-inch and super-long E1.L variants of the UltraStar DC SN650 NVMe SSDs will be available, with capacities of up to 15.36TB each. To begin shipping “in the second half of 2022,” these drives are now sampling for production.
Two new WD Black SSDs have been released. WD’s SN850X SSD is a high-end PCIe 4.0 SSD with read speeds up to 7,300MBps, which is a modest upgrade over the previous WD Black SN850 SSD (compared to 7,000MBps for the SN850). If you don’t want to open your gaming console or laptop to add more high-speed storage, the WD Black P40 Game Drive SSD is for you. If you have a USB 3.2 2×2 (or Thunderbolt 3/4) connector, you can expect read speeds of up to 2,000 MBps; transfer speeds will be limited if you have a USB 5 or 10Gbps port. User-customizable LED illumination is expected to be included in the P40.
Starting at $189.99, the SN850X will be offered in sizes ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB. For example, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB versions of the external P40 SSD are available for $119.99 each. In the course of the summer, both should be available.
WDC launched an entry-level SSD with read rates of 5,150MBps and a PCIe 4.0 port, the SN740 PCIe SSD. The WD Black SN770 matches its key specs and has been available for months, but the SN740 is targeted mostly at PC companies, which means it stands a good chance of ending up in your next prebuilt laptop or desktop.
When it comes to upgrading laptops and tablets with SSDs that are shorter than typical, the 30-mm-long M.2 2230 version of the SN740 could be a good option to consider for those devices. The M.2 2230 drives used in most Surface devices that offer user-upgradeable storage, such as the Surface Pro 8, are extremely scarce, making it impossible to purchase bigger capacity drives after the fact. Even though the SN740 is marketed toward PC manufacturers rather than end users, regular consumers won’t be able to purchase it from the manufacturer, but it is an aftermarket option worth exploring.