Today we are taking a look at the WD Red SA500 1TB SSD. This is a SATA drive from WD targeting the NAS market. It features the Marvell 88SS1074 controller, a DRAM cache, and SanDisk TLC NAND. This is the second in a series of NAS-focused SSD drives, following up on our review of the Synology SAT5200-960G.
WD Red SA500 1TB Overview
The WD Red SA500 1TB comes in a single-sided M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor. This drive is also available in 2.5″ format, but our review unit was of the M.2 variety.
There is no heat spreader of any kind, but as a SATA SSD this is not likely to be of concern. Present on this side of the drive is the Marvell controller, cache DRAM, and 4 packages of SanDisk NAND totaling 1024GB.
Unlike the recently reviewed Synology, there is no power loss protection (PLP) circuitry present on this drive. You can read a bit more about why PLP is important in some server workloads in our piece What is the ZFS ZIL SLOG and what makes a good one. That looks at a specific case but has a few diagrams and an explanation around what goes on with these drives when they do and do not have PLP.
WD Red SA500 Specs
The WD Red SA500 line of TLC based SSDs has 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities available.
Performance does not vary much across the SA500 lineup because they are all limited by the SATA interface. The only major differentiating factor between the drives is the capacity and the rated endurance. Our 1TB drive is rated at 600 TBW endurance or a little more than 0.3 DWPD. Compared to the Synology SAT5200-960G with its 1.3 DWPD endurance, or the Seagate Ironwolf 110 960GB with its 1.0 DWPD endurance, the WD easily has the lowest rated lifetime write tolerance of the bunch. On the SA500 1TB, this relatively lower endurance is likely because the drive includes very little overprovisioned space; there is only 24GB of spare area reserved by the controller for use with wear leveling. This is counterbalanced somewhat with the cost, which we will discuss later.
CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, though much like with the Synology SAT5200 it is unable to interpret many of the SMART attributes.
Test System Configuration
We are using the following configuration for this test:
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6C/12T)
- RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200 UDIMMs
Our testing uses the WD Red SA500 1TB as the boot drive for the system, installed in the M.2_1 slot on the motherboard. The drive is filled to 85% capacity with data and then some is deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.
Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.