Western Digital's SiliconEdge is encased in the attractive metal shell seen above. We have seen quite a few solid state drives come though our labs and this has to be the most attractive yet. Of course, not that it really matters because you won't see the drive when it's inside your computer. The top of the drive displays the product sticker with all of the various information that you would normally find on a hard drive. The back of the drive is sticker-free and has four screw holes that can be used to mount the drive in your computer.
Another difference between the SiliconEdge and other SSDs we have seen is the screws that hold the access panel for the drive are on the side instead of the bottom. There are two screws on each side and a tamper-evident sticker covering one of the screws. Opening the drive will void the manufacturer warranty and really, why would you need to open the drive in the first place when tech sites like ours show you what's inside?
Opening the drive we find the back of the PCB with eight Samsung flash memory labeled K9LBG08U1M PCB0. The controller used in the SiliconEdge is labeled as Western Digital's own, VAIL 1.07 0945 571J90111. Every SSD we have seen up to this point uses a 3rd party controller like JMicron or Indilinx. There has been chatter in the community that this might be a rebranded JMicron controller but we can't verify that. The cache chip is an ESMT chip labeled M14D5121632A-2.5B ABB1P90QA 915. According to ESMT's website, this is a 512 MB DDRII chip that operates at 400 MHz.
If you notice in the photo above, I have highlighted four areas around the edge of the PCB. My concern here is that there are tiny metal points that are "holding" the PCB in place. This isn't an issue unless perhaps the drive was in a notebook and dropped. If the outer metal casing of the drive was bent around these areas, these metal points could easily push into the PCB causing damage. I noticed this when I was trying to remove the PCB from the metal shell and there was a good bit of resistance. For most users this won't be an issue but if you plan to use this drive in a high-risk environment, this is something to note.
Let's move ahead and run the WD drive through some tests.