A fortnight ago we saw Western Digital (WD) launch a 500GB 2.5-inch hybrid SSHD available in an ultra-slim 5mm profile. This was part of the WD Black range of mobile hard drives and the integrated flash storage part of the drive provided 24GB of NAND. Now it has been revealed that the NAND portion of the hybrid drive was supplied by SanDisk and the two companies have announced that they will collaborate to introduce more SSHD drives that will “feature best-in-class flash memory technology from SanDisk and best-in-class hard drive technology from WD”.
So it turns out that the 24GB of 19nm NAND pepping up the performance of the WD Black, “the world's thinnest 2.5-inch SSHD solution”, is supplied by Sandisk. The part supplied by Sandisk to WD is called the “SanDisk iSSD” and the company says it “brings an elegant balance of performance, low power consumption, cost, reliability, and a compact form factor to this SSHD”.
The extremely small form factor of the Sandisk iSSD, built on 19nm process technology, “the world's smallest and most advanced semiconductor manufacturing process”, enables WD to make this ultra-slim SSHD. However the 5mm thick 500GB drive is the only such ultra-slim hybrid available from WD at this time, other SSHDs from WD are available in more traditional 7mm and 9.5mm depths.
Notably the WD Black 5mm SSHD offers 500GB of capacity, while utilising almost 50 per cent less volume than current standard notebook hard drives. As people gravitate towards portables which are as thin and light as possible it’s bound to prove to be a popular part.
As noted in the launch article these WB Black drives are currently only available to OEMs and system integrators. Hopefully such SSHDs, with their more generous NAND component, will become available to laptop upgraders in the not-too-distant future. Even the latest models of the widely available Seagate Momentus SSHD solutions have a much smaller 8GB of NAND to bolster their performance.