*update* The controller guessing game…
After reading my buddy Anand’s (of AnandTech – he reviewed this drive as well) this morning and noting his mention of striking similarities in PCB design between the WD drive and my previous review of the JMicron-controlled SSDNow V Series Gen 2, I decided to crack the drive back open and see for myself.  Sure enough, there are some *very* close similarities in board layout.  Component numbering and placement is a near perfect match, and the trace layout between the controller and cache is identical.  Below is a blow-up shot of the WD PCB.  Mouse over it (JavaScript must be enabled) to switch it to the Kingston / JMicron PCB.

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD Review - WD enters the SSD market - Storage  1

Mouse over the above pic to switch it from WD to Kingston (JMicron 61x).

We know from speaking with JMicron that the JMF612 controller was to be their next generation part, but we hadn’t seen it in the wild yet.  The closest we got was the JMF618 present in the Kingston unit, which was a redesign to accommodate Toshiba flash (as opposed to their standard – Samsung).  There’s no way to know for sure, but based on the PCB similarities, there’s a chance this might actually be the JMF612 with a custom firmware.  We say this because this Western Digital unit performed significantly better than the JMF618 based drive – different enough for me to hesitate to call it the same controller.  I hadn’t even classed them together when I made the initial round of charts, but considering the above I re-ran the numbers and posted a few results below for those curious.  All SSDNow V (2G) numbers are available in its own review.

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD Review - WD enters the SSD market - Storage  2

PCPer File Copy test shows a huge difference to the JMicron controlled SDNow V Series (substituted above).

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD Review - WD enters the SSD market - Storage  3

The JMicron controller (red line) is nowhere near WD (blue line).

Only time will tell as to what’s going on here.  More to follow as we look into this one further (and we will).
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