Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB Review (Page 1 of 11)

By: Aaron Lai
June 7, 2019

My colleague Jonathan Kwan was recently recalling his test driving experience with a mutual friend who was looking to replace his car. This friend apparently had driven his Honda Civic for many kilometers until everything in it was less than functional. To my surprise, they looked at cars from manufacturers like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. As he continued his story, I had to wonder why someone would want such a big of an upgrade, especially when they were of the mindset of driving a car into the ground before replacing it. When I went test driving for my car, my dad and I stuck to places where I would actually buy a car from, such as Chevrolet, Honda, or Toyota. I knew I had no reason to be looking at pricier brands, because I knew I could not afford it. Furthermore, I just something that was capable and easy on the wallet. Even at the end of the story, Jonathan's friend concluded he would be probably end up buying a CR-V rather than one from a premium brand, much to the chagrin of the Editor-in-Chief. Today, we have another budget-focused NVMe drive. While this was once seen as an oxymoron, with NAND prices dropping steadily and technology improving, we have exactly this in the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB. Historically speaking, the Blue lineup of Western Digital has been a consumer focused one, and so I have to ask, what is the SN500 capable of? How does it compete with products like other budget drives or even the upper echelon flagships like the Western Digital Black SN750? Read on to find out!

Today's review unit of the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB arrived from HGST's headquarters in San Jose, California via UPS and their Express Saver shipping service. As you may or may not know, Western Digital acquired HGST in 2012, but phased out their branding last year. Traveling in a UPS marked white and brown envelope, no holes or notable damage marks can be seen. Unfortunately, envelopes like this can be easily flattened, damaging the product inside. As we do have a relatively fragile product inside, hopefully nothing was crushed in transit.

Out of the shipping container, the retail container of the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB is the only thing we can look at. As you can see, the box was a bit damaged during shipping, but thankfully, there were a few more precautions taken by Western Digital inside to protect the product itself. The front shows a pretty typical Western Digital look, with the royal blue design to denote the branding of this drive. The company and product name can be found on the top left corner, with a scaled image of the drive inside in the middle of the box. At the bottom, you can see this drive follows the non-volatile memory express, or NVMe, protocol with reads of up to 1700MB/s. In addition, you can see we have the 500GB capacity, though the SN500 also comes in a 250GB size variant. Finally, the front shows we are covered by Western Digital for five years of warranty. Around the back we have a bit more information, but not a whole lot of other things to note.

Before we move on, I have grabbed the specifications from the manufacturer's website for your viewing pleasure:

Interface: PCIe Gen3 8Gb/s, up to 2 Lanes
Formatted Capacity: 500GB
Sequential Read up to (MB/s) (Queues=32, Threads=1): 1700
Sequential Write up to (MB/s) (Queues=32, Threads=1): 1450
Random Read 4KB IOPS up to (Queues=32, Threads=1): 275K
Random Write 4KB IOPS up to (Queues=32, Threads=8): 300K
Endurance (TBW): 300
Average Active Power: 75mW
Peak Power (10us): 1.8A
Low Power (PS3): 25mW
Sleep (PS4) (low power): 2.5mW
MTTF: 1.75M hours (Telcordia SR-332, GB, 25c)
Operating Temperature: 0c to 70c
Storage Temperature: -55c to 85c
Certifications: FCC, UL, TUV, KCC, BSMI, VCCI, C-Tick
Limited Warranty: 5-year
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Dimensions: 80mm x 22mm x 2.38mm
Weight: 6.5g +/- 1g

The Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB is boxed very similarly to the other Western Digital M.2 SSDs we have seen with the drive found in between two clear plastic trays. A warranty insert can be found inside too, but nothing else is included. As we have already mentioned, a five year warranty coverage is provided by Western Digital, which is pretty good considering this matches the same length of period as the aforementioned performance-focused WD Black SSDs.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 6.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 5.70
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 9.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. Benchmark: PCMark 8
11. Conclusion