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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    129 thoughts on “WD Black SN850 SSD – PS5 EXPANSION GUIDE & TEST RESULTS

    1. Time differences between loading times are neglectable. Both between ps5 internal ssd and exernal ssd and overall all the different gen 4 ssd with speeds of 5000+ mb/s.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    2. I stripped the SSD screw and now can’t get it out 🙁 I bought a replacement screw and spacer on Amazon can I just place those instead and leave the stripped screw and it’s original spot
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    3. I prefer to simply keep ALL of my games on the m.2 SSD because it’s replaceable and the internal SSD is not. So my tip for people who have the m.2 SSD is to put wear on it, since it’s replaceable. It’s better to buy a new m.2 SSD than a whole new console.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    4. So I just got my sn850 from best buy 2 days ago. You think I need to update it?? I dont have a computer but even if I did I cnat seem to find a video online showing me how to update the nvme. My question is do u think it came updated already? Or u think best buy was sitting on last years stock and sold it to me??
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    5. Had my 1tb SN850 for a couple of weeks now. I bought the one without a heatsink and added my own. Fits perfectly with bay cover still in place as Sony recommends. It performs brilliantly, very happy!
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    6. I have seen a lot of videos that show slightly different read speeds. I even have the 2tb one installed on my PS5 and it says 6538.924 read speed. I was lucky enough to get the drive with heat sink off the WD site for a good price, I saved about $165.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    7. Bought WD BLK SN850. Installed it in the PS5, and PS5 wouldn’t even boot up, keeps shutting down. Removed ssd, PS5 boots up fine. Is the ssd bad? Even tested in an enclosure as external HD, my pc didn’t detect the ssd. HELP.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    8. I’ve been debating between Samsung 980 pro & WD Black SN850 1tb, I JUST ordered the latter! Went with the $180 one without heat sink and bought one for $15… saved me $55!
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    9. i ended up getting a 1TB WD SN850 for mine and my sons PS5’s with a QIVYNSRY M.2 heat sync from amazon. i did however buy some extra thermal pads and put the 1.5mm pad at the top and the 1mm pad on the bottom.

      I’m hoping that will be good enough. what is your opinions on the thickness of thermal pads. is one better than the other?
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    10. Now the Beta is over and we can use these SSD’s can you please redo all these videos…ONLY JOKING! 😀 😀 😀 Saying that one Video that might be useful for people is a Heatsink face off. To see which Heatsink is the best. Sounds to time consuming tho 😀 Excellent videos anyway, thanks 😉
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    11. Feel gutted bought SSD 980 Samsung 1T SSD card and went to put it into ps ps5 and it’s saying it don’t recognise it and I should remove it(Nvme m.2 read speed 3500mb’s????
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    12. Just went to install my SSD after updating and it turns out my heat sink (which had numerous reviews that it fits the PS5) does in fact not fit. If anyone else got the ICEPC Heat Sink it’s too big. I bought it almost a month ago so now there are plenty of reviews with complaints on the fit.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    13. I still don’t get why Sony and some people say that the PS5’s SSD is magical. I mean it has the same performence as some SSD’s nvme that existed already before the PS5 lauched. Don’t get me wrong. I have a PS5 and a PC with an RTX 3090 and I don’t dare calling my RTX3090 a magical Video card. PS5 is a great console, but there is no magic on it.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    14. I got the 1tb SN850 as it was the cheapest option: $250 (AUD) compared to $280 for the 980 pro and $340 for the Firecuda 530. 1tb will do me for a year or two and by then the larger capacity SSDs will be a lot cheaper (hopefully). That’s the plan anyway. The cheapest 2tb atm is about $540.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    15. Lol so much quicker than the PS4…
      *He posts that both videos are on PS5*
      * Overall difference in loading times is between 1-2 secs*
      In the future you MIGHT just want to do a video comparison between the PS4 & PS5 instead of just talking about how ‘slow’ the PS4 is…
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    16. You won’t notice the difference really but love buying the best spec stuff for pure vanity lol. FireCuda for me 2tb looks insane. Not just read but write and no worries with the life of the drive being double any other. Great content keep it coming ????
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    17. Im wondering if the external SSD also gets a folder in storage called ”other” that takes up space from converting ps4 games like the internal storage does. This is bugging me since mine ”other” folder is at a whopping 130gb right now.
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    18. From what I’ve noticed so far, the only relevant benchmark tests were with Destiny & GTA. Keep it up, mate! I’m expecting part 2 with the other SSDs from top 6!
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    19. I would love to see a side-by-side comparison of all the SSD’s next to each other at the end of the series, once you have all the data. Great work mate ????
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    20. Awesome work covering all these different SSDs and games. You are by far the most thorough. Appreciate all the hard work and the repetitive nature of the testing. It gives me something to watch while I wait for the official firmware release. Despite having signed up for the beta over a dozen times, Sony have not sent me a beta invite yet I am someone who was struggling with the lack of internal storage for PS5 games just months after launch. I cannot wait to finally be able to install what I want instead of constantly having to juggle stuff around or delete it.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    21. Nice I just put a heatsink on mine. However us Australians can’t get into the beta. So I’m just preparing. Hopefully it will be officially out end of this month
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    22. Got a lovely blue heatsink for my 2TB Black SN850 to go with PS5 color scheme, but like I predicted they went outa outa stock fas as hell, but random colors are still available
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    23. Warning Warning Warning Warning !!! If you do not have the 2.0 firmware on your PS5 do not waste your time putting an SSD in it because when you power it on it will tell you
      to power down and remove the SSD from the internal Bay.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    24. it’s no reason to test different drives they all run the same as the built in all load games the same speed it’s better to wait for the real driver may that will show a real jump
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    25. Thanks for the video. Can you elaborate on the longevity of M.2 drives with regard to how many read and write cycles it can perform before it eventually fails to function properly? Thank you
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    26. I’ve got the 2TB sn850 and a digit ps5 (no optical drive). Couple things:

      1)the install video wasn’t correct. The screw is not in 80 when you first open it up. It’s all the way at the end opposite end of where the drive plugs in. You move it to 80 but it isn’t already there.

      2) my numbers were different that the PS5 displays after install. I did f write down my write but my read speed is 6545.756 MBs
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    27. Great videos! I just bought a Viper VP4300 but I don’t have the beta version of the firmware. I have seen some speed test and it shows over 7000 MB/s on read (nominally it says up to 7400 MB/s read and up to 6800 MB/s write) which seems to be the fastest Nvme M.2 Gen 4 so far. It would be great if you could make a test on the PS5 for this model (the smaller size is 1TB). Thanks!
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    28. I have the 2TB SN850 but without the heatsink being used as my PS5 External Storage. Signed up to the beta , got accepted so bought a heatsink off Amazon for it, the EZDIY-FAB M.2 2280 SSD. However it’s a very tight fit hight wise, it’s touching the cover when you screw it down. As such I went out and got a 2TB Gigabyte Auros 7000s with heatsink from Scan. This fits a lot better and not touching the cover like the SN850 heatsink. And it’s also faster.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    29. Digital foundry say without heatsink can be faster to and all they did was loading times with small files. people will burn there ssd when ssd push for longer times
      sometimes i dont get how did they become popular without having any knowledge
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    30. Slower than the Firecuda 530 then – I think that is what I will get when the update comes out of beta + if Firecuda have the 4TB with heat sink available!
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