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WD Black NVMe and SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D 1TB SSD Review - Outstanding

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

While Western Digital has a huge history with spinning disks, their experience with SSDs has been touch and go. They expanded further into the HDD arena with their very long merging process with HGST, but they have only really dabbled in the solid-state arena. Their earliest attempt was with the Black2 back in 2013, which was a novel concept that never really caught mainstream fame. WD acquired SanDisk a few years back, but they were better known for SD cards and OEM SATA SSDs. More recently we began seeing WD test the waters with PCIe / NVMe parts, with a WD Black and Blue launching at CES 2017. Those were 'ok', but were more of a budget SSD than a powerhouse class-leading product worthy of the Black moniker. Today we see WD take another stab at a WD Black NVMe SSD:

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Enter the WD Black NVMe and SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D 1TB SSDs. Yes, I know the names are a mouthful, but I would be more worried about the potential for confusion when looking for a WD Black SSD on the market (as there are now two *very* similarly named products). Technically the new part is the 'Western Digital WD Black NVMe SSD'. Yes I know don't tell me - they said Western Digital twice.

We will also be reviewing the SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D SSD today. I'm including those results as well, but just as they did with their previous SATA SSD release, these are identical parts with different packaging and labeling. The specs are the same. Heck, the firmware is the same minus the bits that report the device name to the host. For the sake of simplicity, and the fact that the WD part is meant for retail/gamers (SanDisk for creative pros and OEMs), I'll stick with referring mostly to the WD side throughout this review.

Specifications:

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Strong specs here. Fast sequentials, but random IOPS is rated at QD32 across 8 threads (QD=256), which is, well, just silly. I know WD is doing this because 'everyone is doing it', and they have to compete, but I have a feeling we will also be seeing very good low QD performance today.

Packaging:

It doesn't get much more no frills than this.

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Read on for our full review of the Western Digital WD Black NVMe and SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D 1TB SSDs!

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: These product are on loan from Western Digital for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the products after review: The product remains the property of Western Digital but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Western Digital had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Western Digital for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Western Digital has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Western Digital is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 

April 5, 2018 | 11:23 AM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

Im about to build a new system and all these new NVMe drives coming out which is starting to make the Samsung 960 EVO look antiquated. What to do?

April 5, 2018 | 11:46 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Given the random read (low QD) performance falls slightly behind the 960 EVO, I'd consider both products roughly equal and go for the lower cost/GB unless you wanted the more proven (Samsung) part. Josh found 960 EVOs on sale at Newegg for $0.40/GB last night, so in that moment I'd go with the EVO.

April 5, 2018 | 11:39 AM - Posted by terminal addict

Second chart on "Performance Focus - Western Digital WD Black NVMe 1TB SSD" page is shown as Throughput, but should be IOPs (unless these drives are magically pushing over 300GBps :) ).

April 5, 2018 | 11:44 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Ooh, good catch. That chart has been wrong for a *long* time apparently...

April 5, 2018 | 12:04 PM - Posted by Jabbadap

Great review and very solid drive.

But pardon of my ignorance, how is those thermals(Do you have FLIR)? Any thermal throttle?

April 5, 2018 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

This drive runs cool enough that WD didn't even need to use a copper-layered label as some other SSDs do, so I wouldn't consider it a concern. The controller has the capability to throttle if it needs to, but you'd have to be unrealistically hard on it to get to that point. This is the case with most M.2 SSDs - folks run a continuous storage test on them for minutes at a time and then complain about throttling, but nothing other than benchmarks hits the SSD that hard.

April 5, 2018 | 01:56 PM - Posted by BinkyTO (not verified)

Maybe I am missing something, but why does the Mixed Burst section have a screenshot of an OCZ drive when the article is about WD/Sandisk drives?

April 5, 2018 | 05:10 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It's a pic comparing a drive that has a harder time with the workload (left) to a faster drive that executes more quickly and consistently over time (right). 

April 5, 2018 | 02:31 PM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

Hmm, I dunno. I feel like 760p has higher random and sequential read while costing less, although there is no 1TB option still.

April 5, 2018 | 05:15 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

You're right there - the 760P does run closer to the Samsung parts in read performance, and also is competitive on cost, but not available in 1TB. I was trying to stick with a sampling of various SSDs at or above the 1TB capacity point but some models we have only tested 512GB (the previous WD Black), and the charts get too cluttered if we go higher than 10.

April 6, 2018 | 05:06 AM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

Why are they taking so long for 1tb? :( I might even want 2tb in the future... Or a 4tb MX500. Is it the controller?

April 6, 2018 | 06:27 PM - Posted by BinkyTO (not verified)

I suspect that the issue is limited space for the dies which are required to support larger capacities.

April 7, 2018 | 01:22 AM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

I suspect that to be the case for the Intel since it's m.2, but for MX500? I think there's more room in there.

April 8, 2018 | 02:57 PM - Posted by bradly1101

My X79 mobo was before m.2 so I used an Intel 750. With no NVMe boot options, Windows and those calls come from an SATA SSD while programs and the Swap File are on the 750. I know this 'parallel' fetching isn't meaningful, and the whole system is very fast (4930K - I only buy if I have to).

I remember an early m.2 mobo (Asus) that stood the drive up in the path of the front cooling fan, but heat doesn't seem to be much of an issue with the ones lying down.

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