by StorageReview Consumer Desk

WD My Passport SSD Review

The WD My Passport SSD marks the brand's first foray into portable SSD storage. Building off of the extensive My Passport line, the SSD variant is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities and promises to give speeds up to 515MB/s using the USB Type-C port. For those without USB-C, WD includes a USB 3 adaptor. As usual WD includes bundled software to give the drive a little more value, in this case that includes backup software and drive health monitoring. The My Passport SSD can also be protected with built-in 256-bit AES hardware encryption and the drive includes a three year warranty. 

WD My Passport SSD Specifications

  • Capacity: 
    • 1TB (1024GB)
    • 512GB
    • 256GB
  • Speeds up to 515MB/s 
  • Interfaces USB 3.1 (USB 3.0/2.0 compatible)
  • Limited Warranty 3 years 
  • Password protection with hardware encryption
  • Shock-resistant up to 6.5 feet
  • Height: 10mm (0.39 in) Depth: 90mm (3.5 in) Width: 45mm (1.8 in) 

Design and Build

WD has put together a good treatment for the My Passport SSD. The unit is Zippo-esque in it's size and will easily disappear into a pocket. Thankfully shrinking SSD footprints have given vendors more flexibility in design, whereas in the past, portables have more or less been enclosures wrapped around a traditional 2.5" SSD. In this case WD opted for a two-tone color palette with a silver ridged lower half and matte black top.

While most will use the USB-C interface, WD does include a USB 3 dongle-style adaptor for legacy port support. 

Performance

To test the My Passport SSD 1TB, we used the HP Z2 Mini Workstation and the built-in USB-C port along with a MacBook Pro and compared with these other leading portable SSDs:

In our first benchmark, we will look at transfer speeds using a USB 3.0 connection on a generation -1 MacBook Pro. Here, we leveraged the BlackMagic disk speed test, which is a Mac-specific tool mainly used to see how well it works with high quality video. In this scenario, the SSD showed read and write throughput of 387MB/s and 294MB/s, respectively, as shown below. The Samsung hit 430MB/s and 405MB/s and the SanDisk posted 431MB/s and 408MB/s. 

Testing 2MB read/write speeds with IOMeter, we found that the SSD was able to hit 337MB/s in sequential write and 376MB/s in sequential read. In 2MB random write the performance dropped down to 359MB/s and in 2MB random read the WD gave us 255MB/s. The SanDisk Extreme 510 was able to achieve speeds of 322MB/s read, and 159MB/s write sequential. In our 2MB random transfer test, we measured 270MB/s read and 159MB/s write. The Samsung T3 posted read and write speeds of 322.52MB/s and 159.13MB/s, respectively. 2MB random transfer speeds showed similar performance numbers, with 318.95MB/s read and 158.28MB/s write

Switching over to random 4k transfers, the My Passport SSD had a write performance of 6,623 IOPS and a read performance of 5,496 IOPS.

Conclusion

While we didn't hit the WD posted performance of the My Passport SSD, we did see aggregate performance that puts the drive in a very favorable position at the head of the class. As professionals and consumers do more on the go, the portable SSD segment is going to rapidly grow in importance to vendors that deal in flash. WD is well positioned then with this effort not just in terms of performance, but in other elements like the software package for PCs they include and a design that is appealing. The only issue out of the gate is around pricing. Currently a Best Buy exclusive, the drives run $99.99, $199.99 and $399.99 respectively for the 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. That puts them on price parity with SanDisk (a WD company) and Samsung at the lower capacity, but both competing drives are significantly less expensive as you move up the scale. Also, Samsung offers a 2TB version and SanDisk offers a smaller 120GB option. WD is nothing if not mainstream though, the three offered capacities will address the needs of most of the market and after the Best Buy exclusivity ends, they should be in a position to be price competitive. Either way it's a well-executed drive that should find its way into many workspaces.

WD My Passport at Amazon

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