WD Black SN850X NVMe SSD Review: Unmatched Performance
The WD Black SN850X is an impressive NVMe SSD that offers high-performance capabilities and several notable improvements over its predecessor, the SN850. It comes in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, with our review focusing on the 1TB model. With an in-house controller by WD (SanDisk), 112-layer TLC memory, and a PCIe Gen4 x4 interface, the SN850X boasts a rated sequential read speed of 7,300MB/s and a sequential write speed of 6,300MB/s. While it may not be a revolutionary leap forward, this SSD is undoubtedly one of the best options in the current Gen 4 SSD market.
Additionally, it’s worth highlighting that the 1GB DDR4 DRAM cache and the 300GB dynamic SLC cache contribute to the overall performance of the WD Black SN850X. These caching mechanisms help optimize data handling, leading to faster read and write operations and improving overall system responsiveness.
The impressive 600 TBW (Terabytes Written) endurance rating and the 5-year warranty add to the drive’s appeal, providing users with peace of mind regarding its reliability and longevity.
One noteworthy aspect of the SN850X is WD’s commitment to continuous improvement through its software. The 2.0 version of the Game Mode drive management software, with its “read look-ahead” algorithm for predictive caching of game data, demonstrates the manufacturer’s dedication to enhancing user experiences. Although the exact impact of this feature might be challenging to quantify in real-world scenarios, the intention to improve game loading times is commendable.
While the SN850X is an exceptional drive, users need to consider their specific needs before deciding on the version to purchase. For most standard desktop and gaming PC builds, the more affordable bare drive option, without the added heat spreader, should be sufficient, given the SSD’s improved cooling performance. However, for compact builds with limited airflow or gaming laptops that may benefit significantly from reduced operating temperatures, the extra cost of the heat sink-equipped version could be justified.
It’s important to keep in mind that as technology advances, newer SSDs may emerge, and the introduction of PCIe Gen 5 and subsequent generations might render PCIe Gen 4 drives less relevant in the future. However, for the majority of users, especially those with existing systems based on PCIe Gen 4, the WD Black SN850X remains an outstanding choice and provides all the Gen 4 SSD performance one could need.
In conclusion, the WD Black SN850X NVMe SSD is a powerful and reliable storage solution that offers incremental improvements over its predecessor, the SN850. Its superior cooling, excellent all-round performance, and compatibility with PCIe Gen 4 systems make it a top-tier option for users looking to upgrade their storage. Whether you’re a gamer, content creator, or general PC user seeking a high-speed, high-endurance SSD, the WD Black SN850X is undoubtedly a strong contender that won’t disappoint. Video: YouTube/WD
As technology continues to evolve, it’s always essential to consider the most recent options available on the market. However, at the time of this review, the WD Black SN850X stands as one of the best Gen 4 SSDs, offering impressive performance and delivering on the promise of fast, reliable, and efficient storage for your computing needs.
- Improved Cooling: One of the significant advantages of the SN850X is its enhanced cooling performance compared to its predecessor. The drive runs much cooler under sustained load, with temperatures reduced from a toasty 77°C in the previous model to just 58°C. This cooling improvement can be especially beneficial for small form factor builds and gaming laptops, where every degree counts.
- All-Round Performance: The SN850X delivers excellent all-round performance, making it suitable for various applications and tasks. With high sequential read and write speeds, it handles data-intensive operations, such as video editing and gaming, with ease.
- PCIe Gen 4 Compatibility: Despite the emergence of PCIe Gen 5 on AMD and Intel platforms, the SN850X remains a relevant and powerful choice for users with systems equipped with PCIe Gen 4 M.2 slots.
- Modest Performance Gains: While the SN850X is an impressive drive, its performance gains over the previous SN850 are not substantial, especially when it comes to 4K random access performance and system-wide measures like PCMark 10. This might not be noticeable in real-world scenarios for most users who are upgrading from an already high-performing SSD.
- Heat Sink Adds Cost: The review configuration includes WD’s signature armor-style cooling. However, for users looking to save on costs, the added heat sink may not be necessary, as the SSD’s improved cooling already makes a notable difference.
- Limited PCIe Gen 4 Relevance: With the introduction of PCIe Gen 5 on modern systems, the SN850X’s long-term relevance may be limited, as newer and faster SSD options become available.
The WD Black SN850X is a strong contender among Gen 4 SSDs, offering a compelling combination of performance, cooling improvements, and durability. While it may not represent a significant upgrade for existing SN850 owners, it is a top-notch choice for those in need of a high-speed and reliable SSD. The inclusion of WD’s Game Mode drive management software might be appealing to gamers, although its real-world impact remains uncertain. If you are considering this drive, the 1TB version provides a balance of capacity and price, making it an excellent choice for most users.
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Compatibility||Windows® 11, 10, 8.1|
|Computer with M.2 (M-key) port, capable of taking M.2 2280 form factor|
|Sequential Read Performance||7300MB/s|
|Sequential Write Performance||6300MB/s|
|Random Read||800K IOPS|
|Random Write||1100K IOPS|
|Interface||PCIe Gen4 x4|
|Warranty||5-Year Limited Warranty|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||3.15″ x 0.87″ x 0.09″|
|Operating Temperature||0°C to 85°C|
|Non-Operating Temperature||-40°C to 85°C|
|Certifications||BSMI, CAN ICES-3(B)/NMB-3(B), CE, FCC, KCC, Morocco, RCM, TUV, UL, VCCI|