Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

As we have mentioned previously, there are two capacity variants of the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD, but the model and design is the exact same. From a visual standpoint, these M.2 drives are quite unlike any traditional 2.5" drive. Instead, the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD is an M.2 2280 SSD. This physical standard of 2280 refers to its physical size of 22mm by 80mm. The components are located on the dark teal printed circuit board to the side of the branding sticker, which we will take a detailed look at shortly. Interestingly enough, you can see majority of these components could have fit on the smaller 2242 size specification, but this was probably done because the 2280 standard is relatively common in both desktop and laptop applications. The Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB works on the NVMe 1.3 logical device interface and plugs into compatible motherboards directly. Electrically, M.2 NVMe interfaces with PCIe 3.0. The Blue SN500 utilizes up to two lanes for a theoretical maximum of 2000MB/s bandwidth in each direction. The specified weight is a very light 6.5g for this drive.

As the sticker is located to the side of the components, all of the necessary parts of the Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB can immediately be spotted. There are two main components to take note of. The first is the SanDisk branded controller of the drive labeled 20-82-007010. This is an NVMe solution on the M.2 socket to overcome traditional SATA bottlenecks. There is no memory found on the drive, but rather the memory for the controller is located within the controller. This is a bit of a disadvantage to have no memory, as this can affect performance, but we will see if this is so. Some DRAMless solid state drives utilize HMB, or host memory buffer, by utilizing the system's memory as a buffer location for faster access compared to flash NAND access, but the SN500 does not employ this.

The larger black chip, the Blue SN500's flash NAND memory, is a SanDisk branded 64-layer BiCS 3D triple-level cells chip labeled 05561-512G. Its total rated write endurance is a whopping 300TB, which equates to about 165GB per day for five years. This is really impressive for a consumer drive, as it boasts the same drive writes per day, or DWPD, as the WD Black SN750. Comparatively speaking, the Crucial P1 500GB only boasts a rated write endurance of 100TB. The Blue SN500's rated power consumption of 25mW low power, 1.8A peak power, and 2.5mW sleep is very efficient. 12GB out of the 512GB total capacity -- just under 3% -- is provisioned for the drive controller for overhead, so the actual usable space is 500GB, as advertised. You will see 465.75GB in Windows. On the back side, you will see there are no components or labels of interest.

Specified at 1700MB/s read, 1450MB/s write, and up to 300K IOPS over NVMe 1.3 on PCIe 3.0 x2, these figures are not exactly mind-blowing, but well expected for a drive of this caliber. This is still quite a bit faster than SATA 6Gb/s solid state drives. To see how it translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit this middle of the ground SSD against other PCI Express based SSDs from popular manufacturers like ADATA, Crucial, Gigabyte, Kingston, Patriot, and Toshiba OCZ in the next nine pages or so.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5
RAM: Patriot Viper Elite PC4-24000 2x8GB
Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Chassis: NZXT H200i
Storage: Gigabyte UD PRO 256GB
Power: Seasonic PRIME 600 Titanium Fanless 600W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB
- ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB
- Crucial P1 1TB
- Crucial P1 500GB
- Gigabyte M.2 PCIe SSD 256GB
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB
- OCZ RD400A 512GB
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB
- Patriot Hellfire M.2 240GB
- Patriot Viper VPN100 512GB
- Toshiba RC100 240GB
- Western Digital Black NVMe SSD 1TB
- Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe SSD 1TB

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