WD Black SN850 SSD – PS5 EXPANSION GUIDE & TEST RESULTS

PS5 SSD Expansion Testing with the WD Black SN850 SSD

A you are considering buying the WD Black SN850 for your PS5 because of Mark Cerny’s recommendations or because it is currently floating around for a good price online? Either way, it is currently one of the most popular choices for those looking at upgrading their Playstation 5. Whether you are looking at upgrading the SSD on your PS5 because you are running out of space or because you heard that some SSDs can increase load times for your favourite games, it is always going to be sensible to spend a few minutes reseaching before pulling the trigger at checkout before spending hundreds on the WD Black SN850 only to find out that the benefits are negligible or, worse still, actually slow your games down! Equally, you should always factor in that the PS5 is a relatively new console and games developers are still in the early stages of maximizing how much they can do with the CPU, Memory, GPU and (of course) super-fast NVMe M.2 SSD. Therefore the commitment you make on buying an SSD upgrade to your PS5 needs to also factor in that it will still perform well in the years to come. The WD Black SN850 meets a number of the key specifications of the PS5 storage bay, but then again many, MANY SSDs do. So today I want to put this SSD through it’s paces with many games to see how well it compares against the internal PS5 SSD doing the same thing. NOTE – FULL Videos of the testing of the WD Black SN850 that combined cover more than an hour can be found at the bottom of the article. This article primarily covers the load times of games and saves on the PS5 using the WD Black SN850 SSD and how they compare with the internal PS5 loading the same game. If you want to watch the full videos that cover PS5 WD Black SN850 use that feature frame rates, texture swapping, asset management and more, I recommend you watch those videos at the end of this article.

Here is the PS5 internal Benchmark for the WD Black SN850 SSD at the initialization of the system:

What Are the Specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD?

Before we go through the load time testing of the WD Black SN850 on the PS5, it is worth taking a look at the hardware specifications. Unlike traditional Hard Drives and SSDs that were using the PS3 and PS4 that used SATA connectivity, this new generation of SSD storage using M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 architecture. This is a very, VERY big difference physically, in terms of maximum performance and opens up ALOT of specifications that you should keep an eye on. Aside from the capacity (i.e the amount of data the WD Black SN850 can hold in gigabytes and terabytes) the key ones to factor in when buying an SSD are the following:

  • Controller & NAND – These are the brain of the SSD (handling the transfer of data as quickly and efficiently as possible) and the physical cells on the WD Black SN850 SSD that hold the data. As long as you are using 3D TLC NAND (the industry preferred middle ground for price vs performance), you should be ok. Though the better the quality of NAND, generally the better the performance and durability long term.
  • Sequential Read – This is the reported maximum access speed that the data on the WD Black SN850 SSD can be access when accessing large blocks of data
  • Sequential Write – This is the reported maximum speed that data can be written to the WD Black SN850 SSD. As far as the PS5 architecture goes, this is much less important right now but could become important later in the system’s life as games, services and the level to which the WD Black SN850 can be accessed changes.
  • IOPS – These represent the number of individual operations the WD Black SN850 SSD can handle per second, based on the smallest size possible. Again, not strictly relevant in the PS5 right now because of the way data is largely front-loaded on modern games, but may well impact how larger and evolved worlds and multiplayer games are developed in future
  • TBW, MTBF & DWPD – Terabytes Written and Drive Writes Per Day, these indicate how much the drive is designed to withstand in activity over a 5 year or daily basis (respectively), Before the drive begins to deteriorate in performance or eventually fail. The PS5 will hardly be able to hit these kind of numbers daily BUT these figures will give you a good idea of the lifespan of the SSD beyond 5 years. Given the lifespan of some consoles can cross over a decade, the higher these numbers are, the better!

Here are the official specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD:

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99
PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC
Controller WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4100MB 5300MB 5100MB
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,750,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD

So, now you know the hardware specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD and you also know that (at the time of writing!) the WD Black SN850 is supported by the PS5 SSD expansion bay.

IMPORTANT – This article contains ALOT of gifs to demonstrate the loading times of the WD Black SN850 SSD versus the internal PS5 SSD, so the page/gifs might take an extra minute to load. Please be patient OR watch the videos of the full testing a the bottom of the page.

Testing the WD Black SN850 SSD with the PS5 – Test Parameters

All of the tests of the WD Black SN850 SSD on the PS5 were conducted in groups of 5 games at a time. In the event of a game arriving on a disc, the full disc data and all current updates were transferred over the WD Black SN850 SSD. The disc might be present, but it is only for system verification and would be an identical setup to the PS5 internal SSD that it is being compared against. The SSD was tested using the latest PS5 Beta Firmware update (3.0 or 3.1 depending on the time of testing as a further update was made available during the widespread testing) and although the supported drives when the SSD expansion feature might change, the WD Black SN850 SSD is fully functioning and supported on the PS5 at the time of writing. So, let’s get started on the testing of each game:

 

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Nexus Loading Test

This test was loading from the title screen to the central hub world (Nexus) of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Archstone 2 Test

This test was loading to the Smithing Grounds of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Archstone 1 Test

This test was loading to the first main area of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Ratchet & Clank World Loading Test I

This test was loading to the starting area of Ratchet & Clank Rifts Apart, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Ratchet & Clank World Loading Test II

This test was loading to the first main transitional area of Ratchet & Clank Rifts Apart, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Borderlands 3 Full Loading Test I

This test was loading Borderlands to the Title Screen from the PS5 Main menu on Borderlands 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Borderlands 3 Level Load Test II

This test was loading a save game from the title screen to the Pandora World Area, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Resident Evil Village Castle Loading Test I

This test was loading the Castle Area of Resident Evil Village, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Resident Evil Village Stronghold Loading Test II

This test was loading the Stronghold of Resident Evil Village, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Hitman 3 Dartmoor Loading Test I

This test was loading the Dartmoor level on Hitman 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Hitman 3 Mendoza Loading Test II

This test was loading the Mendoza level on Hitman 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Terminator Resistance Level Loading Test

This test was loading Terminator Resistance Infiltrator Mode, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – GTA V Full Game Loading Test

This test was loading the Grand Theft Auto V from the PS5 menu to gameplay on the Single Player Mode, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Dead By Daylight Bots Test

This test was loading the tutorial Bots Mode on Dead By Daylight, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Red Dead Redemption II Campaign Loading Test

This test was loading the Blackwater Area of Red Dead Redemption II in single Player, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – No Man’s Sky Creative Mode Loading Test

This test was loading No Man’s Sky in Creative Mode from the Title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – In Rays of the Light Loading Test I, Outside

This test was loading the outside world area of In Rays of the Light, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – In Rays of the Light Loading Test II, Inside

This test was loading the underground bunker area of In Rays of the Light, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Star Wars Fallen Order Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the Kashkykk area of Star Wars Fallen Order from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Star Wars Fallen Order Trial Loading Test II

This test was loading a combat challenge, mid-game, of Star Wars Fallen Order from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Doom Eternal Level Loading Test I

This test was loading a level in Doom Eternal from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Control Level Loading Test I

This test was loading to an early area of the game from the title screen on Control, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Plague Tale Level Loading Test I

This test was loading an early Level area of Innocence, a plagues Tale from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – WreckFest Level Loading Test I

This test was loading an early challenge in Wrecckfest from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Maneater Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the first area of Maneater from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Destruction Allstars Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the first arena of Destruction Allstars from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

 

Full WD Black SN850 SSD PS5 Test Videos

If you want to see the FULL testing of every PS5/PS4 game with the WD Black SN850 SSD, you can watch the videos below. These tests have been grouped into 5 games per video, with each game being assessed on Loading Times, Frame Rate, Texture swapping, Asset Popping and compared against the exact game being loaded on the PS5 SSD. NOTE – These videos are being edited and published throughout September and October, so if a video is showing as ‘unavailable’ below, it might not be published yet, but should be up shortly!

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99

 

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 1

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 2

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 3

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 4

 


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