Monday, 25 September 2017 21:05

VIDEO Interview: Western Digital’s 64-layer 3D NAND, WDC Blue 3D and SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD

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Western Digital still makes top-notch hard drives in ever larger capacities, and is now a true SSD competitor with its 64-layer 3D SSD tech making moves for market supremacy.

It’s well known that Samsung is extremely well regarded in the SSD space, and is one of the top brands of choice whether you’re talking about 2.5-inch SSDs or NVMe drives.

Now comes Western Digital which, after its recent purchase of SanDisk, now has two top brands at its disposal, aiming at two loyal user bases built over decades of product development, top market share and deserved popularity.

Just as Samsung keeps advancing the state of the art, so too does WD, which introduced its 64-layer 3D NAND technology back at Computex in May, now found in its WD Blue 3D SSD and the SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD and which are “world-first” devices

Indeed, it was less than a month later that WD then announced 96-layer 3D NAND, with initial production due in 2018

Meanwhile, in between both WD announcements, Samsung brought its 64-layer V-NAND into full production, fanning the competitive flames between both companies, which as always is to the benefit of us all as end-users.

As for the WD Blue 3D SSD, and the SanDis Ultra 3D SSD, both drives are actually identical inside with the same top performance, and are differentiated by their branding, which as mentioned earlier, is aimed at legions of fans of both major brands.

I had the chance to upgrade a Lenovo Core i7 laptop, running a WD 1TD 2.5-inch hard drive, which was naturally slowed down by the fact that computers these days are much better served by SSDs than HDDs.

So, I replaced the WD 1TB HDD from this laptop with a 1TB WD 3D Blue SSD, and as you can imagine, a tremendous boost in speed has been achieved, with lightning fast start-up, app loading, app performance and shut down, transforming what was a solid Windows 8.1 machine into a speed demon.

Indeed, before upgrading the computer to Windows 10 using Microsoft’s still free Windows 10 accessibility update loophole, I cloned the HDD onto the SSD.

I think my interview subject from WD, the company’s APAC product marketing manager, Hui Low, accidentally misunderstood my question as to whether WD offered free cloning software, as you’ll see in the video interview embedded below, as he said WD didn’t offer cloning software, when I subsequently discovered that it most certainly does. This is the excellent Acronis cloning software that is freely downloadable and available to WD and SanDisk SSD customers.

Apologies to Low for the confusion, we were talking on a Skype connection and maybe this was also a factor.

Because I didn’t check first, which was a foolish thing for me to have done, I had used the free Macrium Reflect cloning software rather than the free Acronis cloning software that you can download free from WD’s site for its WD and SanDisk SSD range.

Macrium did the job, although I’d have preferred to use Acronis, but all’s well that ends well, and I’m thankful for that, and hey, now you know, WD definitely offers top quality free cloning software.

Of course, for some, re-installing your OS from scratch is the better course of action, but many prefer the hassle-free nature of a disk clone, preserving all settings, installed software and more, while delivering that delicious speed boost that transforms an old computer into new.

Historically, I have purchased Samsung SSDs, and have also used a Crucial SSD with great success, but it is clear that WD and SanDisk SSDs are also top quality SSDs, with SSDs fast becoming the norm — and also NVMe PCIe drives — also available from WD, offering even better performance.

Indeed, if you are buying a new PC today, be it a laptop or desktop, you are doing yourself a massive disservice if you purchase a traditional spinning hard drive as your primary disk.

Traditional spinning hard drives are available, with WD selling its excellent HDDs with Helium-filled 10TB RED and RED Pro models and the brand new and also Helium-filled WD Gold 12TB capacity HDDs, which are perfect as secondary drives, back-up drives, and NAS drives offering terabytes of capacity, but for your primary disk, it is imperative that you are running from an SSD.

Cheaper laptops and desktops still run on HDDs, but in 2017 their performance is so maddeningly slow that you only torture yourself.

In addition, while Intel hopes and prays you upgrade your older, perhaps even several-year-old computer to a brand new one, the truth for many people is that they can simply clone their existing spinning hard drive to an SSD for a massive speed boost, making an old computer genuinely feel like new.

This simple and inexpensive upgrade can extend the lifespan of your computer but at least a year or two if not more, depending on your computing needs, at a price vastly cheaper than a computer costing likely well over a thousand dollars, if not more or even a lot more.

And then, when you do buy a shiny new desktop or laptop with Intel or AMD processor when you’re ready, you’ll have more money at your disposal to buy the best you can afford and/or desire at that time.

So, it’s time to check out my interview with Low who spoke about WD’s achievements with SSDs, and of WD’s acquisition of SanDisk.

He explained NAND and how it worked, and went through a presentation that gave us plenty more detail, including various milestone achievements by the company.

We looked at the future and what it might hold, great advice that Low has received over the years to help him get where he is today, and his final messages for viewers and readers.

He did a great job going through a quality presentation on the WD and SanDisk products, so I hope you’ll enjoy my video interview, recorded earlier this month and available to watch in full below.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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