Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

As always, with our storage reviews, before we move on to the benchmark results, let us briefly discuss the physical attributes of this hard disk drive first. The Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB is your quintessential 3.5" hard drive from Western Digital; all you have at the top is bare metal with a dull silver finish, and a large label placed across the middle. It weighs in at 0.99lbs each. As a differentiating element between product lines, the top and bottom of the sticker is printed blue in color, because, well, it is part of the Blue series designed for desktop computers. The label also says "WD Blue PC SSHD" at the bottom, just so you can tell this is not a regular Blue. On the label, you will also spot information like its 4TB drive capacity, SATA interface with 8GB NAND cache, WD40E31X model code, manufacturing date on May 23, 2015 for our particular unit, and that it is a product of Thailand. A QR code is prominently displayed as well. Once scanned, it will bring up Western Digital's product page for you to learn more about this particular hard drive. The Western Digital Blue comes with a three year limited warranty, which is in line with competitors like the Seagate Desktop SSHD ST4000DX001 4TB.

Turning the Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB around, and you will see a green printed circuit board that interfaces between its SATA 6Gb/s interface and the physical mechanical components. Mechanically, the Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB is a 5,400RPM drive with four 1TB platters inside. Based on what we have seen with the Red WD40EFRX, WD has a great record of making speedy drives at that speed. Pair that with 8GB of NAND flash, the company advertises the Blue SSHD to be five times faster than traditional drives with the same spindle speed, which we will investigate in the next seven pages. You will see 3.63TB in Windows. The rated power consumption is 6W under load and 4.75W idling, which is about 20% better than the Seagate model. The Blue SSHD is specified to consume 0.57W standby.

As far as electronic components are concerned, the Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X features a Marvell 88i9446-NDB2 dual core drive controller. Pins can be set to force backwards compatibility, in case you have a system that does not correctly negotiate interface speed automatically. The motor is controlled by a WDHC8TD driver manufactured by STMicroelectronics. A Samsung K4T51163QQ-BCE7 64MB DDR2-800 64MB DDR2 IC acts as the cache for the drive. To manage flash memory, a JMicron JMF608 gets the job done. 8GB of NAND flash is present for the "solid state" portion of the SSHD. It acts as a large non-volatile cache for frequently accessed data to increase performance, such as booting Windows or loading programs. From the user's perspective, the caching happens in the background, and is designed to work seamlessly and invisibly on the front end of things. It is pretty much an integrated OCZ Synapse 64GB we have reviewed back in 2011, except no additional software is needed. In my opinion, 8GB is really small, especially for a 4TB hard drive. I have said this in the Seagate Desktop SSHD 4TB review, but a larger cache will definitely improve performance in a more meaningful way.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S (2x Noctua NF-A15)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
RAM: Kingston HyperX Savage HX324C11SRK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E (Noctua NF-S12A PWM, Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Storage: OCZ Vector 150 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional

Compared Hardware:
- Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Crucial MX200 500GB (Solid State Drive)
- HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate Desktop SSHD ST4000DX001 4TB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Seagate Laptop SSHD ST500LM000 500GB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red Pro WD4001FFSX 4TB (Hard Drive)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. Conclusion