A while back we took a look at the last generation M.2 NVMe WD Black SSD. A year on and the next generation is here! Complete with a wee speed boost, higher capacities, a new blacked out design, and a heavy focus on gaming. With NAND flash prices dropping, it’s a great time to buy. So let’s take a look at WD‘s latest offerings and see how it stacks up!
As I’m still one of these poor plebs with an older Skylake platform, my M.2 slot doesn’t have a fancy stock heatsink to make my M.2 SSD’s glimmer in RGB goodness. Therefore, bare SSD aesthetics are actually kind of important to me. I know that sounds silly to some but hey, I like computer hardware! This generation has greatly updated the packaging. I used to work in a packaging factory, I notice this shit. Spot UV is the coolest thing in my opinion. After admiring the box that I’ll inevitably throw away, I also really appreciated the redesign of the actual unit. A nicely black and orange accented label with a bit more subtlety on the bar-codes than last year. That was my one gripe with the previous generation. Why would you want to cover up that beautiful black PCB with black on white writing?
Also with this generation you can expect units to become available soon with an included heat sink. In collaboration with EKWB themselves, you can expect a boost in passive cooling all wrapped up in a sleek package. From some of the promotional materials I’ve seen it’s gonna look great in any system! It’ll be kind of weird seeing that EK logo without any tubes!
Specifications and Capacities
Below is a complete list of specifications for each capacity available. We have on hand the WD Black SN750 1TB model without the heatsink, any of the results in this review will be indicative of that model only. Pricing and availability can be found at the bottom of this review so feel free to skip ahead or hang around and nerd out with me for a bit.
|Interface||PCIe Gen3 8 Gb/s, up to 4 lanes|
|Sequential Read up to (MB/s) (Queues=32, Threads=1)||3,100||3,470||3,470||3,400|
|Sequential Write up to (MB/s) (Queues=32, Threads=1)||1,600||2,600||3,000||2,900|
|Rand Read 4KB IOPS up to (Queues=32, Threads=1)||220K||420K||515K||480K|
|Rand Write 4KB IOPS up to (Queues=32, Threads=8)||180K||380K||560K||550K|
|Peak Power (10us)||2.8A||2.8A||2.8A||2.8A|
|PS3 (low power)||70mW||70mW||100mW||100mW|
|Sleep (PS4) (low power)||2.5mW||2.5mW||2.5mW||2.5mW|
|MTTF||1.75 million hours|
|Operating Temperatures||32°F to 158°F (0°C to 70°C)|
|Non-operating Temperatures||-67°F to 185°F (-55°C to 85°C)|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280 with heatsink|
|Length||80 ± 0.15mm||80 ± 0.15mm|
|Width||22 ± 0.15mm||24.2 ± 0.30mm|
|Weight||7.5g ± 1g||33.2g ± 1g|
With this generation, Western Digital have doubled up the storage density. Going from 32-layer 3D NAND to 64-layer has enabled a significant increase in capacity. Having up to 2TB on a single sided m.2 drive is no small feat. The added bonus is the 70MB/s bump in read speed and 200MB/s in write speed. The stated speeds in turn make the WD Black SN750 one of the fasted drives on the market and sits it comfortably in the enthusiast performance bracket.
Also new is a one click “Gaming Mode” toggle in the WD Black SSD Dashboard. It actually does do something too. Toggling on it prevents the WD SN750 from running in its lower powerstate and instead holds its performance steadily for longer sessions. It is advised to be using the heatsink variant or in a well ventilated chassis with this mode as thermal limiting could be an issue. Thankfully I have a massive case and a 140mm fan right below it so thermals haven’t been too much of a worry, but it’s not something I would advise for our laptop buddies unless you run it in stock.
That’s mostly all that’s changed. Other than, of course, arguably better aesthetics in my opinion. But if you already have one of the previous generation WD Black SSD‘s, it may not be something you should worry about upgrading quite yet. Though if you have a spare M.2 slot then the more the merrier!
We’re going to be throwing the WD SN750 through our typical barrage of tests, whilst also running a more every day use case and exploring what gains you can expect to see. I tend to favour CrystalDiskMark, I’m going to be running a few benchmarks with it. Firstly we’re going to be looking at out of the box speeds but then loading it up with a more realistic Windows 10 installation packed full of games and junk and see how it handles that. We’re also going to measure boot times against the previous generation then take a look at other workloads such as video editing and scrubbing through footage.
Out of the box benchmarks are typically not the best metric for how this will act as a daily driver drive… Ha, puns. But it would be irresponsible of me to not have them listed here even if it’s just for eye candy. As you can see below the new WD Black SN750 has some serious chops. They ain’t lying when they say this is one of the fastest SSD’s on the market and it truly shows! I’d be keen to take a look at some of the speeds and temps we reach with the heat sink variant. As you can see here we do have some improvements in the read speeds but the most dramatic improvement is in the writes which in my opinion is super appreciated.
This second set of benchmarks here is from a fully loaded windows install. Complete with multiple 50GB+ game titles and various video projects on the go. Pretty much the worst case scenario as far as the average careless user goes… Okay so I’m real lazy with data organisation. But hey, it makes for a rather compelling benchmark.
So, as you can see here the 1st generation WD Black M.2 SSD actually holds up rather well. I’ve been using this for the last 12 months or more since Western Digital never asked for it back (Thank you, I love it, please let me keep this one too. I promise I’ll buy more) But anyway, as far as on paper speeds go even sitting at just over half capacity we still see some damn sweet speeds. However you can note here on the sequential writes a somewhat large upgrade over the previous generation which definitely sparks joy within my soul. I think this does note a rather strong reliability factor I havn’t experienced with many other manufacturers. Typically what happens with an SSD is that as it fills up, the overall speed and responsiveness drops. This is something I haven’t come across as of yet with any of the WD NVMe products I have used. Samsung drives also do well in this regard however I am uncomfortable commenting too much on it as the only NVMe drive I’ve had from them is a 256GB 970 Pro.
I’m not expecting too much of an improvement here, we do have a wee 70MB/s speed boost in reads but as you can see below it doesn’t translate into much time saved. If you were moving from a more traditional 2.5″ SSD form factor to the WD SN750 then this would be a far more impressive upgrade! With the current NAND flash pricing trends, now would be a great time to join the enthusiast level NVMe storage.
As you can see here the actual times to boot are pretty similar and within margin of error because my fat fingers and a stop watch aren’t the best metric. It’s still an interesting test to perform and is often significantly more dramatic when comparing to other storage methods such as a standard SSD or mechanical drive. If you’d like to see other drives performing the same OS boot stay tuned for our video coverage… Boom. That’s a teaser.
Overall snappiness remains similar to the previous generation, though I will say there was a noticeable improvement in my footage ingestion and scrubbing in Adobe Premiere Pro. Improved workflows are always a massive plus to me and something I consider heavily when putting money into performance upgrades. If it can make my life easier, or improve an experience then I’m all in. This does just that and I’d be more than happy recommending the WD SN750 to anyone looking to dip their feet into the NVMe space. Although now I think I have discovered an additional bottleneck in my system… I need a new CPU platform and more RAM to keep up with it!
In this regard I think it may be a little unfair to compare it to the previous generation. Yes, the WD SN750 is marketed to our fellow gamers and yes it does that really well. But the previous generation did too. I can’t really say I noticed the difference here. This isn’t going to increase your frame rates or let you run games at a higher detail level. What it will do is cut down on loading times, letting you get back into the action a lot faster. You’ll notice this more going from a standard mechanical drive or even a 2.5″ SSD. The difference from a mechanical drive to the WD SN750 is nothing short of dramatic. If you play a lot of open world single player titles you’ll know all to well the time between areas can be somewhat jarring. For me, back when my steam library was on an old Western Digital 2TB Green I kid you not I had enough time to flick the jug on and grab a snack before the next area in Mass Effect 3 would load. With the WD SN750 that’s not exactly possible, oh well, call it a diet I guess?
If you’re in the market for a new drive or ready to make the jump into high speed storage I would definitely recommend looking at the WD SN750. It’s competitively priced and boasts some earth shattering speeds that are sure to impress. Though it’s not something I would rush out to grab if you already have an NVMe SSD, it’s definitely in my opinion the best performance for dollar you can get if you are in the market for one. Something I think I will be looking into soon will be utilising another three of these 1TB WD SN750’s in raid 0 with my ASUS X16 expansion card to build out a proper editing array for footage. Actually, come to think of it, can you imagine gaming off that too… This could be an interesting project… Stay tuned?
Make sure to check out our video review coming soon for some extra PC eye candy and no doubt a curious Walter the cat.