WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD assessment: the tip of SATA

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WD Blue SN500 SSD motherboard

This is it of us, the tip of SATA is upon us and the WD Blue SN500 is harbinger to the entire affair. Stuffed onto its 80 x 22mm body is a single 500GB chip of WD’s TLC 3D NAND alongside the corporate’s personal homebrew controller tech. And that makes for a imply combo, delivering blistering, SATA-destroying tempo for less than $78 (£67).

WD has re-energised its push into the SSD market in latest months. Starting with the high-performance WD Black SN750, the corporate has been shifting some product away from OEMs and redeveloping it for the consumer market. While it stays depending on the identical Sandish/Toshiba NAND flash, slightly tweaking underneath the hood helped flip its prime drive right into a tempting various to Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus NVMe: the domineering de facto SSD for high-performance rigs.

But WD Blue drives have all the time been about budget-friendly efficiency, even again within the days of spinning platter drives. The WD Blue SN500 is reduce from the identical fabric. It’s fitted with the identical sturdy TLC 3D NAND as ever, however, as an added cost-saving measure, lowers the controller spec to PCIe 3.zero x2. That connection theoretically maxes out just below 2,000MB/s.

The WD Blue SN500 is rated as much as 1,700MB/s, practically half of the three,500MB/s the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is able to. The SN500’s write velocity is equally nothing to jot down dwelling both, coming in at 1,450MB/s.

But that’s not a struggle this drive ever stood an opportunity of profitable, nor hoped to. Instead, it’s a damn-sight quicker than even the perfect, quickest SATA SSD drives, simply pushing 3 times the efficiency of Samsung’s 860 Evo at 550MB/s learn and 520MB/s write.

WD Blue SN500 SSD specs

WD Blue SN500 500GB WD Black SN750 500GB
Controller WD in-house WD in-house
NAND Flash SanDisk/Toshiba TLC SanDisk/Toshiba TLC
Cache None 1GB Hynix DDR4
Rated seq. learn 1,700MB/s 3,470MB/s
Rated seq. write 1,450MB/s 2,600MB/s
Endurance 300 TBW 300 TBW
Price $78 (£67) $130 (£103)

This 500GB drive is able to 300 terabytes written throughout its lifetime, which is roofed by a restricted guarantee for 5 years. Identical to the Samsung 860 Evo and 970 Evo Plus on this regard, WD is fairly assured its NAND flash is as much as an industry-leading commonplace.

Supercharged: These are the best SSDs for gaming

Few fashionable NVMe drives we’ve examined have been restricted to the PCIe 3.zero x2 bandwidth, most courting again a great few years to the primary batch of NVMe PCIe M.2 drives. The HyperX Predator M.2 drive matched the two,000MB/s bandwidth utilising PCIe 2.zero x4, however that was additionally some $400 when it first launched. How far we’ve come, huh?

PCGamesN Test Rig: Intel i7 8700Ok, Nvidia GTX 1070, MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC, 16GB Corsair Dominator DDR4, Corsair HX1200i, Philips BDM3275

The WD Blue SN500 will get remarkably near the 2018 WD Black PCIe drive in sequential write testing, though is hampered by that PCIe 3.zero x2 connection throughout sequential learn. It does retain admirable tempo in random 4k testing, nevertheless, making for a reasonably snappy major boot drive.

In our benchmarking the WD drive really outperformed its rated speeds by just a bit in ATTO, whereas Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus ever-so-slightly under-performed in benchmarking. The distinction is solely negligible, however WD’s actually taking part in it slightly protected with its advertising supplies.

But artificial chops typically fail to translate significantly nicely into the actual life, and the WD SN500 makes up for a few of that misplaced floor in consultant real-world benchmarking. It’s surprisingly nicely on-pace with the most effective drives throughout our 5GB compression check, and loses few treasured seconds throughout a 30GB file switch.

And we are able to safely say it destroys each SATA drive we’ve ever despatched by means of our benchmarking gauntlet. Sure, that’s a straightforward feat for NVMe, the far superior protocol, however the WD drive is complimented with a aggressive price ticket to match.

The Samsung 860 Evo 2.5-inch 500GB SATA drive will set you again $78 (£74) of your hard-earned money, whereas the WD SN500 is simply $78 (£67). Granted, that’s not quite a lot of money to be redistribute elsewhere in your gaming PC construct, however the WD shouldn’t be solely cheaper, it’s 3 times quicker.

WD Blue SN500 SSD

If you may stretch your funds slightly additional, Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus is now requires solely slightly extra funding. And WD isn’t with out competitors from the gradual inflow of QLC drives into the market, together with Intel’s 600p QLC. But the WD Blue SN500 ought to be capable of maintain off the competitors for just a few quarters not less than.

High-performance: Check out our WD Black SN750 review

While there’s nonetheless one thing to be stated for SATA as a helpful hot-swappable media, and essentially the most versatile storage possibility in case you’re restricted to just one or two M.2 slots, its days of boot drive precedence are nicely and really over. It’s unimaginable to advocate a SATA drive over the WD Blue SN500 now that the worth premium of NVMe has been nicely and really squashed.

WD Blue SN500

A terrific worth, funds SSD that places an finish to SATA boot drives as soon as and for all.