Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

There are two versions of the Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD: One with a heatsink and one without. Our particular version is the one without a heatsink. Instead, you will get a sticker, as shown in our photo above. Regardless of the model you get, the Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB will be an M.2 2280 format SSD. If you are not familiar with the M.2 physical standard, M.2 2280 means it the size of the drive is 22mm by 80mm, hence its numerical designation. Its components are located on the black printed circuit board located behind the branding sticker, which we will take a closer look at in just a moment. The Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB works on the NVMe 1.4 logical device interface and plugs into compatible motherboards directly. Electrically, M.2 NVMe interfaces with PCIe 4.0. The Black uses four lanes for up to 8000MB/s bandwidth in each direction. The specified weight is a paltry 7.5g for this SSD.

Peeling the sticker back, and you can see what the Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB is made from. There are three different components that can be seen. At the heart of Western Digital's SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB is a custom controller labeled 20-82-10034. It is an NVMe solution on the M.2 socket to utilize the bandwidth afforded by the PCIe 4.0 standard. A Micron D9WFH, decoded as MT40A512M16LY-075:E, DDR4-2666 1GB memory chip is present; it is used by the controller for system memory. The WD_BLACK SN850's flash memory are SanDisk branded 96-layer BiCS4 3D triple-level cells in two chips labeled 60914-512G. Its rated write endurance is an excellent 600TB, which equates to about 330GB per day for five years. This is the same as the Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe SSD 1TB, which is very good, but not anywhere close to the Seagate FireCuda 510 1TB at 1300TBW. Its rated power consumption of 250mW low power, 2.9A peak power, and 5mW sleep is quite efficient. The SN850 can be prevented from entering standby using the Dashboard utility for maximum performance at all times. 24GB out of the 1024GB total capacity -- just under 3% -- is provisioned for the drive controller for overhead, so the actual usable space is 1TB, as advertised. You will see 931GB in Windows.

Flipping the Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB around and you will find no components of interest. The label on the WD_BLACK NVMe SSD itself carries miscellaneous information such as its model name, capacity, serial number, and regulatory certifications on the other side. Other than that, it is completely blank as all the components are located on the other side. This SSD is made in China, which is unlike many Western Digital products we have reviewed in the past.

Specified at 7000MB/s read, 5300MB/s write, up to 1,000,000 IOPS read, and up to 720,000 IOPS write over NVMe 1.4 on PCIe 4.0 x4, these figures are extremely impressive. It is roughly twice as fast as any PCIe 3.0-based drive and the highest rated drive we have ever tested here at APH Networks. For comparison, the company's PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe flagship, the SN750 1TB we reviewed a couple of years ago, is rated at only 3470MB/s read and 3000MB/s write. Meanwhile, the PCIe 3.0 x8-based AN1500 2TB add-in card featuring multiple WD_BLACK SSDs in RAID 0 can only hit 6500MB/s read and 4100MB/s write.

To see how all this hardware translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit the WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB against the big boys of this game to see how this new performance drive from Western Digital steps up against some popular NVMe-based SSDs from manufacturers like ADATA, Crucial, Gigabyte, Kingston, Patriot, Seagate, and even Western Digital themselves in the next seven pages or so.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming B550-Plus
RAM: Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 4x32GB
Graphics: ASUS Dual GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
Chassis: NZXT H710i
Storage: Western Digital WD_BLACK AN1500 2TB
Power: Seasonic PRIME Ultra Titanium 850W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD 1TB
- ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB
- Crucial P1 1TB
- Crucial P2 500GB
- Crucial P5 500GB
- Kingston KC2500 1TB
- Patriot P300 512GB
- Patriot Viper VPN100 512GB
- Seagate FireCuda 510 1TB
- Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe SSD 1TB
- Western Digital Blue SN550 NVMe SSD 1TB
- Western Digital WD_BLACK AN1500 2TB

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 8.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 5.70
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 10
9. Benchmark: PCMark 10
10. Conclusion