Western Digital has been a long-standing juggernaut in the field of data storage for several years. As I have shuffled components within machines and built systems over the years, they have always held a place of esteem and likely addition to each system, specifically their WD Black series of drive. Whether HDDs or SSDs, their speed, stability, and performance in gaming have always been a hallmark for the brand. With their latest entry into this legendary family of products, is their latest NVMe worthy of the legacy? This is our review of the WD Black SN750 NVMe drive by Western Digital.
Announced hot on the heels of CES 2019, the WD Black SN750 is the successor to the family line, but with a twist. This drive comes with the option to purchase it with a heat sink to help manage the temperatures when under heavy loads. However, if the end user’s motherboard already had heat management available and they were not interested in spending any extra money, they could forgo that option for the module itself.
Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood.
- MSRP: $279.99
- Controller: WD NVMe Architecture
- Storage Memory: 64-layer 3D NAND
- Bus: PCIe Gen 3 x4
- Form Factor: M.2 2280
- Sequential Read: up to 3,470 MB/s
- Sequential Write: up to 3,000 MB/s
- Power Consumption: 2.8A (peak), 100mW (low power), 2.5mW (sleep)
- Available with or without a heatsink
- Available in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB (later 2019)
- Endurance: 600 TBW
- Warranty: 5 years
If you have been a PC builder within the past two years, you have seen the high priced trends of SSDs, DRAM, and GPUs. Fortunately, the past year has shown improvement within the SSD market, making higher capacity drives available at lower price points as well as lower capacity drives offering the speeds of NVMe drives with far more accessibility. (If you are curious, check out the trends over at PC Part Picker)
It is into this market that Western Digital releases the SN570. While already established as a top-tier contender, this new entry boasts a higher maximum write speed (up to 3,000 MB/s versus up to 2800 MB/s) as well as higher performance in random read/write tests over the previous WD Black. But how does it compete?
Let’s find out.
We start off with synthetic benchmarks to give a base-line performance numbers for the WD Black SN750. To collect these, we ran AS SSD benchmarks alongside CrystalDiskMark and ATTO Disk Benchmark.
Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:
- CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X
- Cooler: CoolerMaster ML240R RGB (Closed loop cooler)
- RAM: 16 GB Patriot Viper Gaming RGB
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi
- GPU: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Windforce 8G
- Storage: 1TB WD Black SN750, 2 TB Seagate FireCuda
- PSU: NZXT E850
- Case: NZXT H500
In our first round of tests, we put the WD Black SN750 through ATTO Disk Benchmark. ATTO Disk Benchmark collects data by queuing up several data chucks of varying sizes, providing a breakdown on how the drive handles both reading and writing of that data onto the drive. Our benchmarks show the WD Black SN750 writing at speeds up to 2867 MB/s and reading the data at speeds up to 3,338 MB/s.
Moving along to our next test, we pit the WD Black SN750 against the 250GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus and 256GB Patriot Scorch in both CrystalDisk64 and AS SSD. Let’s look at the results of AS SSD first.
This test gives us data on the sequential read and write speeds of each drive along with how each performs in processing small data chunks. There is an interesting point of note within this comparison. Both the Samsung EVO Plus and WD Black SN750 are operating via 4x PCIe lanes whereas the Patriot Scorch is only utilizing 2x. The different is incredibly apparent while looking at these numbers.
An interesting, but anecdotal data point to consider which is not represented within this chart: in tests involving a SATA-based SDD, the WD Black SN750 performs five times faster in sequential read speeds and just over four times faster in sequential write speeds in AS SSD. That performance spread gets wider within our next test. This anecdotal information simply highlights the benefits of a PCIe-based drive versus a SATA-based SSD.
For our final synthetic tests, we move along to CrystalDiskMark x64. From a read speed perspective (signified by the blue lines within the chart), the WD Black SN750 is slightly edged out by the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, but overtakes it in write speed (signified by the orange lines). Comparing the technical specifications of the two drives, the EVO Plus does advertise similar read speeds (up to 3,500 MB/s for the EVO Plus versus up to 3,470 MB/s for the SN750) while write speeds are in two different playing fields (up to 2,300 MB/s for the EVO Plus versus 3,000 MB/s). It is important to note in this comparison that the 500GB and 1TB versions of the 970 EVO Plus have more comparable sequential write speeds.
I always marvel at the speed of NMVe drives, especially when booting up a system to loading an application.The WD Black SN750 cold boots into Windows 10 in around 20 second from the press of the power button. When testing launch speeds within games, we see equally speedy load times, minimizing time spent on splash screens.
In the Final Fantasy XIV’s benchmark running at maximum settings at 1440p, we saw a total scene loading time of 15 between its six scenes. Keeping it in the Final Fantasy family, we move over to Final Fantasy XV. The front end loading of this benchmark took 14 seconds with scenes transitioning with nearly non-existent delays in between. Switching over to World of Warcraft, loading into the Battle for Azeroth Horde hub Zuldazar took until 10 seconds to load in from the character select screen. And finally, loading from the character screen into the Tangled Shore in Destiny 2 took a meager 20 seconds.
Not too shabby.
If you have a catalogue of games that you like to dive as directly as possible into the action, having an NVMe drive in your system is a must. Even if it is just for your OS, a speedy drive can get you to where the action is faster. Over all, the WD Black SN750 upholds its legacy in the realms of speed and performance with promising numbers on longevity with a warranty to back it up.
The downside is that this legacy comes with a bit of a price tag. While there is a high value proposition of buying larger storage drives versus smaller ones, the buy-in may be a bit too steep at this point for the PC builder on a budget looking to maximize their money within a build.
If a 1TB NVMe drive is too far outside of your budget, the WD Black SN750 also comes in 250GB for $79.99 and 500GB for $129.99. Keep in mind, this concession does come with a sacrifice in both read and write speeds and it would be wise to do some homework on their performance in the current marketplace before making a purchase.
However, if you have a collection of applications that you need to squeeze out every but of performance you can and you have the capital to back it, the WD Black SN750 is a great option. Its price is on par with some of Samsung’s entry-level offerings in the 1TB range, with performance numbers to outmatch them within the same price range.
- Improved speeds over previous generations
- Optional heat sink available in case your motherboard doesn’t have one
- Western Digital SSD Dashboard software provides fast access to drive status
- There are differences in sequential write performance between drives of the same series. This is less of a “con” and more of a “buyer, be aware.”
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.