Storage

WD Black 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review

With WD buying out Sandisk and integrating their portfolio into theirs, this was the most logical step forward for WD as a storage company. With Sandisk’s SSD products, WD can easily enter the SSD market and continue its legacy as a storage company without allocation budget for a different division for SSDs. With that said, WD has taken their time into introducing their complete SSD line, focusing first on the WD Green and WD Blue segments of consumer products before finally introducing its flagship WD Black into the fray. Today we have the WD Black M.2 SSD, the flagship series for WD SSDs. While WD Green and WD Blue SSDs are available in both SATA and M.2 form factors, the WD Black is strictly in PCIe M.2 2280 form factor. This was necessary to fully live up to the name of the WD Black series as it has to deliver the expectation from the series: excellent performance. The WD Black NVMe SSD is technically a Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD and the two products are available separately but whichever you choose, you’ll get the same performance. Today we’ll take a quick look at the 500GB capacity and see why its the perfect mainstream option for high-end users.

Features

  • Sequential read speeds up to 3,400MB/s (for 1000GB model), up to 60% faster than the previous generation of WD Black SSD**
  • Built on the Western Digital NVMe SSD storage architecture for low latency, power efficiency, and compatibility
  • Low power efficiency down to 2.5mW, half the mW of the previous WD Black SSD
  • WD F.I.T. Lab certified to work with a wide range of high-performance PC configurations
  • Free downloadable WD SSD Dashboard software and free downloadable cloning and backup software
  • 5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

Specifications

Dashing through packaging we can see the relatively simply design of the packaging. A small cutout at the back allows a view of the details of the individual product inside.Installation is quite straightforward as with most M.2 drives today. Just insert in a compatible PCIe M.2 slot that can accommodate 2280 length and you’re good to go. No drivers needed. Take note that the WD Black NVMe M.2 SSD is a PCIe Gen3 x4 device and will work best with devices that have slots that can accommodate its rating.

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User Experience & Conclusion

The 500GB WD Black SSD NVMe is rated for 3400MB/s read and 2500MB/s write. The 1TB model does it one better with a faster write speed of 2800MB/s. The smallest capacity SKU, the 250GB, does a more modest 3000MB/s read and 1600MB/s write on the other hand. Testing with ATTO to gauge the peak throughput of our 500GB sample, we get good write performance from 16KB and higher while on read, business starts picking up at 32KB. WD is pretty much on point with their performance with the drive peaking at 3410MB/s read and 2590MB/s write.

Crystal DiskMark further reinforces the drives stellar performance, putting up excellent sequential performance numbers similar to our peak ATTO results. Small file performance is similarly impressive.

Coming from a SATA SSD or an older hard drive, these speeds will be a significant upgrade. Gamers and multimedia professionals looking for an application and boot drive to improve their system will find the WD Black NVMe SSD a sufficient upgrade coming off SATA storage. For those already on an NVMe device that’s doing 1800-2000MB/s, unless you really need the boost in storage performance, you’re better off getting off saving up for the larger capacity versions or possibly running RAID0 pairs of the WD Blacks. With these drives easily dropping to nearly half price during sales like the recent Black Friday, its a great way to step up your system whether it be a desktop or a laptop.

If you’re looking for a mainstream, high-perfomance SSD, the WD Black NVMe M.2 SSD is an easy choice if you’re very particular about speed. While it still has to contend with the higher performance competition from other brands, for end-users that just want a reasonably priced, snappy SSD upgrade, there’s no going wrong with the WD Black M.2 SSD.

WD backs this SSD with a 5-year warranty. We give it our B2G Performance Award!


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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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