The fun time is over: with the release of Western Digital’s own SSD, the company is telling its competitors that the day of reckoning is coming. Only Seagate is missing.
What a difference a year makes: During Computex Taipei 2008, Seagate and Western Digital both pretended that the Solid State Disk market did not exist and that it will not drive significant volumes until late 2010.

Then, just nine months after, Western Digital Corporation announced that the company decided to eat SiliconSystems in order to survive, while Intel, Kingston, OCZ and Super Talent took accolades in the fast-growing sales volume of high-ASP [Average Sales Price] storage products.

Today, WD introduced its own SiliconDrive III solid state disks, as the company is now firmly standing behind its acquisition. What makes this series interesting is the fact that the SiliconDrive III disks come with SiSmart technology – for the first time that we have covered this storage field, there is a technology that actively monitors the MLC cells and gives you an estimate how long can you expect your drive to last. Based on your using pattern, SiSmart will give you a prediction when to replace the SSD, with little or no worry about the data loss.

Besides the set of WD technologies such as SiSmart, SiSecure, SolidStor and PowerArmor, these drives occupy either SATA, micro-SATA or PATA interfaces, depending on their size [1.8" or 2.5"]. Do not expect earth-shattering speeds, though. This first generation of WD SSDs comes with only 100MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds, with up to 120GB capacity. Even though the SSD controller is in its third generation, WD is taking a cautious approach with their drives.

Intended use? Embedded systems, media appliance, data streaming markets – e.g. where the need for continuous transfer rate outstrips any burst mode achieved by competing drives. Translated into normal English – Western Digital is now in learning mode about SSD. SiliconDrive IV or V will be the line-up when WD is going to attack.