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4 TB Western Digital Blue Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) Review
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Western Digital Blue SSHD

Western Digital has finally moved into the SSHD market with their new Western Digital Blue SSHD drives.

The WD Blue family of mainstream 5400 RPM drives is designed for less strenous use at home and in the office. Like their now-discontinued WD Green family, the emphasis is on reduced power consumption , thermal output and cost, instead of high performance.

That changes with the SSHD variant, which pairs a regular WD Blue drive with an 8 GB SSD. These hybrid drives are able to offer pseudo-SSD performance with the storage capacity and lower cost of regular hard disk drives.

The Western Digital Blue SSHD models support the following features :

8 GB NAND flash for blazing performance - An optimal amount of built-in NAND flash SSD technology enables WD Blue SSHDs to perform at up to four to five times faster than traditional 5400 rpm HDDs, based on PCMark Vantage.

Self-learning technology - Utilizing an advanced set of algorithms, WD Blue SSHDs track SSHD data usage, prioritizing frequently used data for fast access in the solid state portion of the device, adapting, learning and optimizing as new applications and command requests change over time. These advanced algorithms reside in the SSHD firmware, enabling it to make intelligent determinations of which data to store in NAND flash memory, without any influence from the host or related storage device drivers. By pairing SSD-like performance with massive hard drive capacity, WD has created an intelligent hybrid drive that truly offers the best of both worlds.

Synergy delivers value - WD Blue SSHD is equipped with the optimal amount of NAND flash to deliver fast, SSD-like performance over high-capacity storage, significantly lowering the $/GB compared to the higher cost and lower capacity of standalone SSDs.

Simple installation with no special software required - The WD Blue SSHD hybrid drive is self-contained in a traditional HDD form factor, and installs as easily as any traditional hard drive without special drivers or downloads required. WD Blue SSHDs are compatible with most typical computer configurations, including PC and Mac.

Today, we will look at the 4 TB Western Digital Blue (WD40E31X) SSHD. It is currently the only 3.5" drive of the WD Blue SSHD family. The other member of the WD Blue SSHD family, at this moment, is the 1 TB WD Blue SSHD, which is a 2.5" drive for notebooks. Our review of that mobile drive will be coming up shortly. In the meantime, here is our review of the 4 TB Western Digital Blue (WD40E31X) SSHD.











Formatted Capacity

4,000,787 MB

Bytes Per Sector

512 bytes (Emulated)


5 Platters

4 Platters

Platter Density

800 GB per platter

1 TB per platter

Read/Write Heads

10 Read/Write Heads

8 Read/Write Heads

Spindle Speed

7,200 RPM

5,400 RPM

IntelliPower, fixed speed between 5,400 and 7,200 RPM



Internal Data Transfer Rate

171 MB/s

150 MB/s


Serial ATA 6 Gb/s

Supported SATA Data Transfer Mode

6.0 Gbits/s
3.0 Gbits/s
1.5 Gbits/s

SATA Hotplug Capability


Native Command Queuing


Advanced Format Technology


Maximum Height

26.1 mm (1.028 inches)

Maximum Width

101.6 mm (4.00 inches)

Maximum Length

147.0 mm (5.787 inches)

Maximum Weight

720 g (1.58 lbs)

450 g (0.99 lbs)

680 g (1.50 lbs)

Power Requirements

+12V DC ± 10 %
+5V DC ± 5 %

Power Consumption

10.6 W (Read / Write)
7.6 W (Idle)
1.6 W (Standby / Sleep)

6.0 W (Read / Write)
4.75 W (Idle)
0.57 W (Standby / Sleep)

4.5 W (Read / Write)
3.3 W (Idle)
0.4 W (Standby / Sleep)

Ambient Temperature

5 °C to 55 °C (Operating)
-40 °C to 70 °C (Non-Operating)

0 °C to 60 °C (Operating)
-40 °C to 70 °C (Non-Operating)

0 °C to 70 °C (Operating)
-40 °C to 70 °C (Non-Operating)

Maximum Shock

65 G @ 2 ms (Read)
30 G @ 2 ms (Write)
300 G @ 2 ms (Non-Operating)

30 G @ 2 ms (Read / Write)
350 G @ 2 ms (Non-Operating)

30 G @ 2 ms (Read / Write)
250 G @ 2 ms (Non-Operating)

Drive Acoustics

31 dBA average (Idle Mode)
34 dBA average (Quiet Seek Mode)

25 dBA average (Idle Mode)
26 dBA average (Quiet Seek Mode)

25 dBA average (Idle Mode)
28 dBA average (Quiet Seek Mode)

Non-Recoverable Read Errors

1 error per 1014 bits read

Load/Unload Cycles




1 million hours


1 million hours


5 Years Limited Warranty

3 Years Limited Warranty

Lowest Price



The 4 TB WD Blue SSHD (WD40E31X) drive came in a sealed anti-static plastic packet, with a sachet of dessicants inside to keep it dry. To remove it, just tear off the top or cut it open, and slide out the drive.

Be sure to ground yourself before removing and handling the hard disk drive as static can damage it. In particular, you should try to avoid touching the exposed PCB located on the lower underside of the drive.

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4 TB Western Digital Blue SSHD Review


Introduction, Specifications, Packaging


The 4 TB Western Digital Blue SSHD
SSHD Vs. Dual Drive


Peeking Under The PCB


Testing The 4 TB WD Blue SSHD
Usable Capacity, Max. Temperature


Transfer Rate Range, Platter Profile
WinBench 99 Test Results


IO Meter Test Results


IOPS Scaling (Random Access)


IOPS Scaling (Sequential Access)


Conclusion, Lowest Price

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