WD Black SN850X SSD Review

Review of the WD Black SN850X PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

Before you sink your teeth into the review of the WD Black SN850X SSD, it is important to understand that this is not the same as the widely available and industry applauded SN850 SSD. On the face of it, the difference is simply the ‘X’ prefix – Is that really much of a difference? I think it would be pretty fair to say that when the PCIe 4 generation of SSDs hit the consumer market, the one that made the BIGGEST (and earliest) splash was the WD Black SN850. Originally released in Autumn 2020, although it wasn’t the first PCIe4 M.2 SSD, it WAS the first commercially available drive to hit 7,000MB/s (followed incredibly closely by Samsung’s 980 Pro). Now, 2020 was quite a while ago now (give or take a pandemic or two) and in that time a wide variety of top tier (and indeed mid-low tier) brands have expanded in the PCIe 4 SSD tier, challenging the WD Black SSD in terms of performance, durability and price. The 2020 released WD Black SN850, although still hot in the basket of buyers of PS5 storage and regularly on sale during Black Friday and the like, is no longer the groundbreaking drive that it once was. And THIS with where the WD Black SN850X comes in. Now, the SN850X is NOT designed to be a replacement to the SN850. In fact, in recent months, we saw Western Digital roll out the WD Black SN770, a DRAMless, more efficient and more affordable alternative. The SN850X is designed to complete the product family in the PCIe4 M.2 NVMe tier and whereas the SN850 gains notoriety and licencing with the Sony PS5, the WD Black SN850X has its sights squarely on the Premium PC Gamer and Premium Performance tier exclusively (content creators, professional streamers and eSports). But is the WD Black SN850X really that much different? Is this a cash grab or is this a legitimate answer by WD to challengers in the PCIe4 SSD tier? Let’s find out.

Note – Now that the WD Black SN850X SSD has been released, is the 2020 released WD Black SN850 SSD Still Worth Your Money in 2022/2023? Find out HERE on the blog or in 4mins HERE on YouTube, or the full performance test HERE.

Review Chapters – Skip Ahead

WD Black SN850X SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

The WD Black SN850X is a great SSD – If you came to this review wondering whether it is a good drive, I can unquestionably say it 100% is. You are getting a much more evolved and current upgrade on the already popular SN850 and a drive that is a much more comparable drive to recent releases from the likes of Seagate Firecuda 530, whilst also throwing significant shade at the Samsung 980 Pro into the bargain. Digging a little deeper into the specs of the SN850X itself shows that a handful of strategic (and of course more recently developed improvements at the WD R&D level) are what push this drive much further along in the food chain that then2020 released SN850. That said, some areas of the SN850X have seen little or no change since the SN850, such as near identical durability ratings (TBW/DWPD) and the drive still running a little hotter than it’s competitors. Had WD released the SN850X at the tail end of 2021 (when information of the X version of the WD Black SSD first emerged), then I think it would have made a considerably bigger impact! Nonetheless, WD is riding something of a hot streak with their WD Black PCIe4 series right now (the release of the more affordable HMB built SN770 and the SN850 getting official PS5 Compatibility by Sony), so releasing the WD Black SN850X right now, as the PCIe5 generation drags its feet commercially due to hardware shortages and the pandemic affecting the supply chain) makes alot of sense too. The SN850X arrives with a price point that, when stacked up against the 2yr available SN850, may seem a pinch high, but it won’t be long till we see this newly established PCIe4 WD Black family more organically tier its pricing. Bottom line, if you were considering the SN850 SSD for your gaming or content creation setup (or indeed any other setup that will leverage ‘write’ activity) I would strongly recommend stretching your budget a pinch further and opting for the WD Black SN850X SSD. It is worth remembering though that unless you are running a particularly powerful setup, you will only see improvements in the SN850X over the SN850 in write performance, with only marginally improvements in read rates.

SPEED - 9/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻High Performance, even in mid-range PC hardware
👍🏻Excellent improvements in Write Performance vs the SN850
👍🏻4TB option is finally available in the WD Black series (long overdue)
👍🏻New SN850X entry into the WD Black PCIe4 family will improve price structure positively for the SN850 and SN770
👍🏻PC client tool improvements and excellent features in Game Mode 2.0
👍🏻1st class produced drives = best availability and pricing normally
CONS
👎🏻Still runs quite hot, much like the SN850 does
👎🏻Still not the fastest PCIe4 M.2 SSD in the market
👎🏻The durability, though good, is still not quite as high as other SSDs in the market

Where to Buy a Product
VISIT RETAILER ➤ 
VISIT RETAILER ➤

WD Black SN850X SSD Review – Packaging

The external packaging of the WD Black SN850X SSD is near enough identical to that of the WD Black SN850 and SN770, with Western Digtial’s stylized branding for the series out in full force. With the recent official support of the WD Black SN850 by Sony for the PS5, this should mean that the external packaging of the older drive will change to blue/white, but for now this new drive blends into the same design choices as the rest of the WD Black series.

The retail packaging also makes plenty of noise about the promised performance on the SN850X, with information on the front about the promised maximum 7300MB/s Seq Read and further details on the back regarding the durability, IOPS and further hardware specifications. Again, all this will be massively familiar to anyone who has purchased a WD Black SSD previously.

The contents of the retail package are pretty light, with the SN850X SSD arriving on its own in a plastic protective shell and just a document regarding the 5-year inclusive warranty. If you were to purchase the heatsink-equipped version (only available in 1-2TB models), that arrives pre-attached at the factory level.

On its own, the WD Black SN850X is quite a modest-looking drive and even in the 2TB capacity module that was featured for this review, only a single side of the SSD is occupied by chips/components on the PCB.

That is really all you can say about the packaging and presentation of the WD Black SN850X. It is quite a modest kit and most of the value/impression of this device is left to the hardware onboard and how that translates to performance. Let’s take a closer look at the drive itself.

WD Black SN850X SSD Review – Design

The WD Black SN850X SSD is a PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 Key NVMe SSD that is completely backwards compatible with PCIe Gen 3×4 SSD slots where necessary (though crucially not M.2 SATA) that improves upon the architecture of the WD Black SN850 in a few key areas to produce a higher performance point in most of the key areas you want/need. Running on NVMe 1.4 architecture, the drive is reported to be the fastest PCIe m.2 SSD that Western Digital has ever produced and manages to saturate a maximum 7,300MB of the potential 8,000MB of PCIe 4×4 lanes.

The top of the SSD has the large ‘WD Black SN850X’ label that you do NOT need to remove when in operation (with or with a heatsink). Removing this label shows us a tightly packed arrangement of components/cells on the SSDs PCB. An SSD is not unlike a PC in it’s architecture, with a Controller (CPU), DRAM (Memory) and NAND (storage space). There are additional power/transistors in place to aid smooth operation, but ultimately these are the key components we need to focus on.

As mentioned earlier, if we flip the SSD over, we can see that this 2TB SSD is single-sided (i.e just a bare board on the back). The WD Black SN850X 4TB model IS double-sided, arriving with 4x 1TB NAND modules and an additional DDR4 Memory module, but this 2TB does an excellent job of keeping things nice and compact, whilst allowing much more direct, manageable and efficient heat dissipation. Something we will DEFINITELY touch on later.

The SN850X also benefits from being a completely first-party/in-house SSD. Many PCIe 4 SSDs that have arrived on the scene in the last two years can be broken down into two strict camps. The larger one is made up of brands such as Seagate, Sabrent, ADATA, Patriot and more who rely on 3rd party companies such as Phison and Innogrit to provide components (eg SSD controllers). The other smaller camp in the world of SSDs is comprised of brands such as Western Digital, Samsung and Crucial who tend to rely much more (often exclusively) on first-party controllers and NAND for their drives, allowing them to craft media that is much more precise in it’s execution, as well as allows them better quality control, supply and pricing. There are benefits to either approach in SSD design, but many users like the idea of a near complete or near enough completely in-house designed SSD.

So that is the physical design of the WD Black SN850X SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the WD Black SN850X SSD change things up much from the SN850? Let’s find out.

WD Black SN850X SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

The WD Black SN850X SSD is highly comparable to the older WD Black SN850, but with a few improvements along the way. Here is how the two SSDs stack up in initial hardware specifications:

Brand/Series

WD Black SN850X

WD Black SN850

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC NAND (Layer Count TBC) Sandisk/Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC NAND
Max Capacity 4TB 2TB
Controller WD Black G2 (TBC) WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 5yr 5yr

I know the above might seem needlessly technical, so below we can bring the most important considerations into sharper focus.

Hardware Focus of the WD Black SN850X SSD

The onboard SSD controller of the WD Black SN850X is a little bit of a mystery (at least at the time of writing this article). Arriving with the Sandisk model ID ’20-82-20035-B2′, this is practically no information online currently about this component. This is not unusual, as Western Digital are famously secretive about the make-up of its components (compared with the bulk of SSD brands that rely on controllers developed by Phison or Innogrit). At best guess, this SSD controller is an improvement/variation of WD G2 NVMe Controller found in the SN770 and SN850 (the 20-82-10035-A1 or 20-82-10081-A1). Almost certainly further information on this controller will arrive as this SSD enters circulation and I will update this area of the review with more (with references etc). In terms of performance (covered in more detail later) it still maintained a similar level of sustained Read activity as the SN850 throughout testing, but with a clear and substantial increase in write performance in our modest test machine.

This controller is also accompanied by Micron IFB75D9XPG DDR4 DRAM that scales alongside the storage capacity (i.e 1GB DDR4 > 1TB Capacity, 2GB DDR4 > 2TB Capacity). This already puts it at a tremendous advantage over the WD Black SN770 released a short while ago that required increased cooperation with the host system with the use of host memory buffer (HMB). This combined with an improved controller likely results in this drive providing the best sustained performance possible in a WD Black m.2 NVMe SSD yet

The storage NAND used by the SN850X is Sandisk 006761-1T00, BiCS 3D TLC. The layer depth of this memory is still being investigated (once again, WD being remarkably secretive) but based on the performance capabilities, is almost certainly 112-layer or 162-layer depth. The older SN850 arrived at 96L and the recently released SN770 arrived with 001397 1T00 112-layer BiCS 3D TLC memory). I’ll revisit this area o the review later and update as more details on this are revealed.

The 2TB model of the WD Black SN850X that was used for this review arrived with two 1TB blocks and this is what allowed this good-sized capacity drive to remain single-sided. The 4TB model unsurprisingly needs to spread itself out a bit and also is the only capacity in the SN850X not to include the optional official LED-equipped heatsink. So, how does this SSD compare with the current and more popular PCIe4 M.2 NVMe SSDs in the market right now?

WD Black SN850X vs Seagate Firecuda 530 vs Samsung 980 Pro SSD

Before we conduct our own testing on this SSD, Let’s take a closer look at the reported specifications and benchmarks first. The WD Black SN850X SSD arrives in multiple capacities (below). The Prices currently are a little inconsistent (with each higher capacity tier actually having a higher price per GB – quite unusual) likely due to the continued global hardware shortages, the Pandemic’s effect on the supply chain, the effects of Chia crypto has on SSD availability in 2021 and almost certainly the ongoing issues surrounding Taiwan and China! Below is a breakdown of how each SSD from Seagate and Samsung compares with the WD Black SN850X:

Brand/Series WD Black SN850X

1TB – $159, 2TB – $289, 4TB –$699

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $119.99, 1TB – $159.99, 2TB – $299.99, 4TB – $729.99

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB – $119.99, 1TB – $179, 2TB – $299

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.3c
NAND 112/164L* BiCS 3D TLC 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L Samsung 128L 3D TLC
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller WD Black G2* Phison E18-PS5018 Custom Elpis
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013

MZ-V8P500BW

Price in $ and $ N/A $119 / £119 $119 / £109
1TB Model WDS100T2X0E ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Price in $ and $ $159 / £159** $159 / £199 $179 / £169
2TB Model WDS200T2X0E ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Price in $ and $ $289 / £309** $299 / £279 $299 / £264
4TB Model WDS400T2X0E ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ $699 / £749** $729 / £700 N/A
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013

MZ-V8P500BW

Total Terabytes Written (TBW) N/A 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD N/A 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model WDS100T2X0E ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 600TB 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model WDS200T2X0E ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1200TB 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
4TB Model WDS400T2X0E ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2400TB 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.7DWPD N/A

*TBC at the time of writing and will be addressed/confirmed later. The video below will break down the definitions and meaning of the terms used throughout this review and the comparison tables

** Pricing for the SN850X is quite varied online at launch and regardless of tax and currency exchange rates, the pricing here (taken from the official WD store) seems a bit uneven. This will hopefully even out soon.

So, first up we can discuss the available capacities. The Samsung 980 Pro still continues to stick at the maximum 2TB capacity line, whilst also being available in the smallest capacity in the lineup (in a 250GB form). Seagate and the Firecuda 530 arrive in the most well-spread range, starting at 500GB and ending at 4TB. This leaves the WD Black SN850X somewhere in the middle with the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB options. All this said, in terms of pricing, the WD Black SN850X overall arrives at the best Price per TB of the three – though pricing at the launch of the SN850X has been a little inconsistent depending on where you are in the world. Next there is the subject of durability and the WD SN850X still has the same DWPD/TBW/MTBF rating of the 2020 released SN850 (matching the TBW of the Samsung 980 Pro), which although pretty good, is still less than half that of the Seagate Firecuda 530 – Still the more high endurance PCIe4 M.2 SSD in the 7K performance bracket even a year since release. Let’s compare the three drives in terms of maximum rated performance. These are the quoted performance figures provided by each brand and in single drive test environments, with exceptionally high-end CPU+Memory combos that can be referenced on their own resource pages.

Brand/Series WD Black SN850X

1TB – $159, 2TB – $289, 4TB –$699

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $119.99, 1TB – $159.99, 2TB – $299.99, 4TB – $729.99

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB – $119.99, 1TB – $179, 2TB – $299

500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013

MZ-V8P500BW

Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 7000MB 6900MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 3000MB 5000MB
1TB Model WDS100T2X0E ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6300MB 6000MB 5000MB
2TB Model WDS200T2X0E ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6600MB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model WDS400T2X0E ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6600MB 6900MB N/A
Brand/Series WD Black SN850X Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850 H/S
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013

MZ-V8P500BW

Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 400,000 800,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 700,000 1,000,000
1TB Model WDS100T2X0E ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800,000 800000 1000000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,100,000 1000000 1000000
2TB Model WDS200T2X0E ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,200,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,100,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
4TB Model WDS400T2X0E ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,200,000 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,100,000 1,000,000 N/A

The first thing we need to immediately highlight is that despite the WD Black SN850X certainly improving on the performance provided by the 1 years older SN850 and 2 months older SN770, it is still not the fastest PCIe4 M.2 NVMe SSD in the consumer market right now, arriving just a few hundred MB under the Seagate Firecuda (which arrives with 176L NAND that allows a pinch more in terms of traditional transfer rates). In terms of the IOPS though, the WD Black SN850X absolutely STORMS IT, with a higher 4K random read and write at every single capacity tier.  The Samsung 980 Pro ends up looking increasingly overshadowed, unfortunately, leaving many to wonder if Samsung is going to challenge this with a Samsung 990 Pro, EVO or Plus, or go ahead and concentrate on making a bigger splash on Day 1 for the PCIe5 generation (as they did in the PCIe4 gen in 2020). It is also worth remembering that these reported performance figures are based on exceptional high-end PCs and configurations, that only a small % of users in the consumer section will have in place. So what about in more common setups? How does the WD Black SN850X perform in a relatively pedestrian Intel i5 Windows 10 PC Configuration? Let’s find out.

Testing the WD Black SN850X m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

The WD Black SN850X 2TB was provided by WD for this test and it was tested using multiple benchmark tools, from a cold boot, in the 2nd storage slot (i.e not the OS drive). Each test was conducted three times (full details of this are shown in the YouTube Review of the WD Black SN850X over on NASCompares):

Test Machine:

  • Windows 10 Pro Desktop System
  • Intel i5 11400 Rocket Lake – 6-Core 2.6/4.4Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel B560M mATX Motherboard
  • OS Storage, Seagate Firecuda 120 SSD
  • Test SSD connected to Secondary PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Slot

Here is the Video Review of the WD Black SN850X SSD and PC Benchmarks:

Using CrystalDisk, we got a good measure of the drive and verified that this PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD was indeed using the 4×4 lane. Additionally, the temp averaged out around 48C between each test being conducted, with the drive being encased in a regular Eluteng M.2 $10 heatsink. Much like the WD Black SN850, this new entry into the WD Black series certainly ran quite hot.

The first tests were conducted using the ATTO disk benchmark software. The first was a 256MB test file size and below is a breakdown of the transfer rates and IOPS. The 2nd Test was a 1GB test file and finally, the last test was with a 4GB test file. The system was given 1-minute cool downtime between tests, no screen recording software was used (remove overhead) and a heatsink was used throughout (no reboots). Write performance continued to impress throughout, but the read performance was a pinch lower than expected, likely down to the i5 in the system compared with the Xeon/Ryzens that many Manf brands choose to max-benchmark their drives with

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #1

256MB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.41GB/s

256MB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.22GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2

1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.42GB/s

1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.21GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3

4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.41GB/s

4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.21GB/s

 


 

Next, although the ATTO tests were quite good, I moved on to the Crystal Disk Mark testing to see how well it would handle our next barrage of tests. The first test was the 1GB file testing, which measured both sequential and random, as well as the read and write IOPS. Test were conducted on a 1GB, 4GB and 16GB Test File. I also included a mixed 70/30 read and write task to give a little bit more of a realistic balanced workload. These tests were conducted with 1-minute cooling break in between. The WD Black SN850X did not crack the 7,000MB/s threshold on the mid-range test PC, but once again, the Write performance was very impressive indeed!

CRYSTALDISK MARK 1GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 4GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 16GB TEST

Next, I switched to AS SSD benchmark. A much more thorough test through, I used 1GB, 3GB and 5GB test files. Each test includes throughput benchmarks and IOPS that are respective to the larger file sizes (important, if you are reading this and trying to compare against the reported 4K IOPS from the manufacturer).

AS SSD Benchmark Test #1

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #2

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #3

Ordinarily, I would introduce tests like BlackMagic and AJA into the mix here, but even a short burst of testing on an NVMe like this would over saturate the cache memory on board. Nevertheless, in the short term we still could ascertain the reported performance on 1GB, 4GB and 16GB file testing was:

1GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5894MB/s Read &5721MB/s Write

4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5861MB/s Read & 5759MB/s Write

16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 6008MB/s Read & 5734MB/s Write

Overall, the WD Black SN850X was certainly able to provide some solid performance, as well as potentially exceed the test figures here on a more powerful machine. Given the reported Read and Write statistics that the brand has stated publically, I think there is enough evidence here to back up those claims. IOPs were a little lower than I expected, but again, we were testing very large file types, so this would have to be taken in context. I do wish most SSD brands provided benchmarks for different tiers of systems, rather than only stating the systems at the very, VERY top end. It makes sense, to run the drive in a system without any potential bottlenecks, but a 2nd or even 3rd round of test results that cover more mid-range or domestic systems would give users better scope of the drive’s potential in their own setup. Nevertheless, the peak performance of the WD Black SN850X was still exceptionally high AND sustained in my mid tier test machine and certainly a great indication that this drive will consistently live in the 6,500MB/s+ area in read/write in even the most modest setups.

WD Black SN850X SSD Review – Conclusion

The WD Black SN850X is a great SSD – If you came to this review wondering whether it is a good drive, I can unquestionably say it 100% is. You are getting a much more evolved and current upgrade on the already popular SN850 and a drive that is a much more comparable drive to recent releases from the likes of Seagate Firecuda 530, whilst also throwing significant shade at the Samsung 980 Pro into the bargain. Digging a little deeper into the specs of the SN850X itself shows that a handful of strategic (and of course more recently developed improvements at the WD R&D level) are what push this drive much further along in the food chain that then2020 released SN850. That said, some areas of the SN850X have seen little or no change since the SN850, such as near identical durability ratings (TBW/DWPD) and the drive still running a little hotter than it’s competitors. Had WD released the SN850X at the tail end of 2021 (when information of the X version of the WD Black SSD first emerged), then I think it would have made a considerably bigger impact! Nonetheless, WD is riding something of a hot streak with their WD Black PCIe4 series right now (the release of the more affordable HMB built SN770 and the SN850 getting official PS5 Compatibility by Sony), so releasing the WD Black SN850X right now, as the PCIe5 generation drags its feet commercially due to hardware shortages and the pandemic affecting the supply chain) makes alot of sense too. The SN850X arrives with a price point that, when stacked up against the 2yr available SN850, may seem a pinch high, but it won’t be long till we see this newly established PCIe4 WD Black family more organically tier its pricing. Bottom line, if you were considering the SN850 SSD for your gaming or content creation setup (or indeed any other setup that will leverage ‘write’ activity) I would strongly recommend stretching your budget a pinch further and opting for the WD Black SN850X SSD. It is worth remembering though that unless you are running a particularly powerful setup, you will only see improvements in the SN850X over the SN850 in write performance, with only marginally improvements in read rates.

PROs of the WD Black SN850X SSD CONs of the WD Black SN850X SSD
  • High Performance, even in mid-range PC hardware
  • Excellent improvements in Write Performance vs the SN850
  • 4TB option is finally available in the WD Black series (long overdue)
  • New SN850X entry into the WD Black PCIe4 family will improve price structure positively for the SN850 and SN770
  • PC client tool improvements and excellent features in Game Mode 2.0
  • 1st class produced drives = best availability and pricing normally
  • Still runs quite hot, much like the SN850 does
  • Still not the fastest PCIe4 M.2 SSD in the market
  • The durability, though good, is still not quite as high as other SSDs in the market

 

 

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    Summary
    Review Date
    Reviewed Item
    WD Black SN850X SSD Review and Benchmarking
    Author Rating
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    Product Name
    WD Black SN850X SSD

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    166 thoughts on “WD Black SN850X SSD Review

    1. i want to order a 2tb. I have hard time to decided between Kingston KC3000 and this WD SN850X. Today i see they are the exact same price . Both 5 years warranty and similar performance. KC3000 has more TBW at 1.6PBW and 1.2PBW for the SN850X. 36% price drop on SN850X today
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    2. What’s the difference between this and the other gen4 versions? I see a pretty big gap in price between the official PlayStation license one (blue) and the orange one.
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    3. What’s the difference between this and the other gen4 versions? I see a pretty big gap in price between the official PlayStation license one (blue) and the orange one.
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    4. this ssd is one sale with heatsink on the wd official website for $110… I won’t be using it on a workstation of anything professional (just games) but idk if it’s worth going up to
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    5. WD’s dashboard app is absolute dogshit. Never use it except for updates or maintenance, other than that uninstall it when you don’t need it. It absolutely destroys your pc’s performance. It maxes out your cpu usage no matter your settings or how good your cpu is. I contacted their customer support and they installed the app on their pc and were shocked at how much it destroyed their cpu usage also. They even had another rep that had a way more powerful pc try it too and same thing. They had no idea what to do about it. Such a weird pathetic issue. Even if you turned off the background process settings for it and didn’t have the program open there was still processes it was doing destroying your usage. You had to uninstall it completely to get your perf back. It’s been a year now so I’m hoping they maybe fixed it? Idk the whole thing seemed so negligent, careless, and ignorant.
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    6. Hi, thanks for the informative videos. Have you checked if the 850x comes with the latest firmware since it impacts performance when using enclosures like orico? I have the 4TB version, I tried to check firmware on pc using dashboard but couldn’t get the software to install properly, blank window, I’ll contact WD for that. I got 2450/2700 with the shipped firmware, on mac mini thunderbolt 3, APFS format. Thanks
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    7. Looking at the fingers, not even it has hit the magical 7000 finger

      I am positive cpu and ram and motherboard have influence in final speeds ,

      ???? even my gigabyte nvme has better stats than your wd .
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    8. WD Black SN850X (2022) over the SN850 we’ll only see an improvement in write output, but otherwise it’s the same. So whatever is at a better price is worth it.
      Firmware – WD Black SN850 – 1TB
      611100WD – 01.2021
      612100WD – 03.2021
      613200WD – 07.2021
      614300WD – 09.2021
      614600WD – 11.2021
      614900WD – 02.2022

      Firmware – WD Black SN850X – 1TB
      620241WD – 06.2022
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    9. Re: specs on the flash modules – I’ve been researching drives for a new build for multiple hours now. I’m in the US, where KIOXIA doesn’t sell their consumer grade stuff, but after looking into it, I’m like 90% sure that this is, essentially, almost a rebrand of the KIOXIA exceria pro. The specs are almost identical, and WD’s flash is made by Toshiba’s (kioxia’s) chip fab. In the rest of the civilized world, you can just buy the kioxia drive if you want the speed, but I think in the US, for … marketing reasons (?), you are expected to settle on the WD Black.
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    10. Great video, i also saw some odd heatsinks on Amazon, the new ineo heatsink w/cover, Graugear heatsink w/cover too, they look…well you’d need to see them, temp test with one of those and this ssd would be something on the Ps5.
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    11. Still be nice in my PS5. I only just got a 2Tb 850 on prime day, but I’ll be looking at the 850X in November. I can offload my 850 to the mrs, mates rates so be both win.
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    12. I have always wondered why is the 4TB the same speed as the 2TB, but the 2TB is faster than the 1TB? The 4TB has more DRAM package on the back so you would think it would also increase speed.
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    13. i personally have never found appealing the value of WD’s ssds. always 10-15% pricier where i live than samsung/crucial/kingston counterparts.
      i like the hdds though
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    14. Hello; thank you for your vidéo and thank you for all of them. What you do is very interesting to compare and chooose the ssd we want for your bugdet.
      And your vidéos about the heat on SSD are very interesting for learning.
      Have a good week and see you soon.
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    15. I missed out on a great deal, the 2tb version was sold for 179€ + heatsink + 20€ steam wallet, that means it was sold for 149€ (-30 ’cause of heatsink and steam),
      Firecuda and samsung sells their 1tb version for this price, I hope such a deal will come back now that the sn850x is coming >.<
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    16. I just got this exact drive on Prime Day and it arrived a couple days later. I didn’t know it was officially licensed until earlier today. I installed it without cover plate because I heard leaving the plate on increases the temperature by as much as 5°C and decreases airflow. I noticed there are RGB LEDs on the drive that by default flash yellowish orange. I have transparent black plates on my PS5, so I can see those LEDs, so I reached out to WD to see if there’s any way to change the color and effect on the drive for PS5. I’m waiting for a response. I’m hoping they say there is, otherwise Sharpie will change the color for me. Lol.
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    17. Just to put this out there, mine (2 TB *newly PlayStation licensed* version) ran over 6.5 thousand times per second after moving three Call of Duty games from stock memory to this new internal SSD (530GB’s total). Whole thing took about 12 minutes to transfer. I was very impressed – that would have otherwise taken 3 days to transfer (no joke).
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    18. They may “always be on a deal” in the UK but they definitely aren’t in Australia. The 1tb from Amazon UK was ~AU$143 with free delivery last night. The Australian ‘version’ is selling for ~$220.
      The 2tb is on Amazon US for AU$314 and on Amazon AU for $389. That’s the Australia tax!
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    19. I’ve purchased the WD sn850 2tb and the ElecGear H/S. I was wondering do I need to apply thermal pads on both sides of the drive as its the 2tb model? Thanks
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    20. I got a 1TB one with heat sink for my ps5 a month ago for exactly 200usd, a bit overpriced but it’s been perfect with my ps5 so far

      But one thing I’ve noticed and can’t make sense of is the fact the writing speed to the sn850 is faster than writing speed to the ps5. I can move 45gb from ps5 to the sn850 in 30 seconds, but it takes 3 minutes to move the same data back to the ps5, I don’t know why.
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    21. Hello, i can buy Sn 850 with heatsink or samsung 980pro heatsink too both for 130Euros, what should i choose ? (mostly gaming and music producing, i also saw that the 980pro had cache issue)
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    22. Is it a good deal to get one now from Amazon for around 253 for a 2tb with heatsink or wait a lil longer? Also will there be a faster one than the sn850 down the road?
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    23. Hey man love the channel You have here. Will this SSD kill my console if it fails ? I have been seeing this online and don’t know which 2tb SSD to buy
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    24. Would you recommend or comment on putting this in a laptop ? WD Black SN850 just dropped in price in Denmark – june 2022 – but I am worried that it will get very hot in my Legion 5 Pro (there is some heatsink build in
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    25. Hi, I would like to use the WD SN850 2TB as an external drive for my 2022 MBP M1 Max, as I will put it into a enclosure, would you recommend the version with the Heatsink, I can get the card for only $22 more than the SN 770. The reason why, I would like to use the external drive for data and the internal SSD only for Apps and the OS, just to keep the internal drive in a good shape.
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    26. Fire cuda in PlayStation makes 6300 first format… 5600 every format after that… it sucked and sent it back.. keeping WD black. Makes 6500 every format with no firmware update
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    27. I bought the SN850 w/ heatsink for $164 ($149 for non heatsink version) on Amazon. That is significantly less than what is shown in this video, 6 months later ????
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    28. Happy ro see I made a good decision today, I managed to nab one up for £90 of course without heatsink but there seems to be some decent cheaper ones on ebay so will grab one of those
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    29. Right now they are like 170 at best buy for a 1tb HEATSINK INCLUDED heck yeah had to pay a tax on the wd black gaming hd tho but its worth it still at $240 for 8tb
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    30. Does this come with a stand-off and screw ? I want to get a M.2 but don’t have the standoff and screw. Anyone know a company that supplies hardware with the m.2. Thanks in advance
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    31. hello from February 2022. price for these SSDs seems to have dropped even further since this video was uploaded. the 500gb, 1tb, and 2tb (w/o heat-sink) can now be had for $100, $130, and $260 respectively.
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    32. Hey quick question for anyone out there how important is the firmware update or how much better will the ssd run with it compared to right out of the box? Don’t have a pc to update it but if it’s worth buying an adapter and updating it I’m sure I can go to a friends house to get it done.
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    33. I just found this drive at my local Walmart, 1tb with heatsink for $150. Seems like the best deal I’ve seen recently. Was considering picking this up while I can. Anyone that has this drive wana chime in and let me know your experience with it? Seems like a top choice
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    34. I’m torn… been using my 4tb external hhd for my ps4 games to play on my ps5. Was going to wait for the ports to stop throttle speeds and get an external ssd(t7)/ while I wait as the internal ssds are still stupid high.
      But now internal ssd 1tb($180) and the external t7 ssd(114) are now both on sale. Too many decisions
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    35. You have it labeled wrong. The big sandisk chip on the right is the controller. Micron DDR4 chip is in middle…

      You’re assuming that small ST chip is a controller, its not..
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    36. An audiofool and their money are easily parted! Anybody who thinks the way a file is stored and retrieved (or passed down a million pound cable) affects the way it is processed deserves to have less to spend on nice things. Rant over, thanks for all this great content. I know you are joking about some subjects being dull, but what the heck do you think we come for – well maybe for the Bow Bells banter too! Only criticism is you said “holiday’ and not ‘The Holiday’ at the end, and I wanted to complete my Xmas movie bingo card with a surprise entry, and you Robbie-ed me of it!!! Merry Christmas!
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    37. I bought my sn850 in August 21. I have my games on it and wasn’t aware of the firmware update. I went ahead and took it out from ps5 and into my PC. Used the dashboard amd installed the new firmware. Put it back in the ps5 and all my games were still installed. I noticed it’s a Lil quicker but I have no data to prove, could be a placebo affect. For those wondering hope this will help.
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    38. Ya think best buy would update my sn850 for me at best buy? I dont own a computer to update the drive ????????. I just looked at the drive best buy mailed me and the print date for it says oct 2020 so that must mean it’s on old firmware???
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    39. I bought this 1TB NVME drive for my PC and couldnt be more pleased – you get what you pay for! Just to cover all the bases I later bought the 1TB 980 Pro for my Dell XPS 15 laptop and again no complaints, the 2 top brands in my view with close to the same superior performance
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    40. I’d just thought I’d post this incase anyone forgot to update their firmware on an SN850 before installing into a PS5. I recently bought the 1TB WD SN850 (a few weeks ago from Bestbuy) I installed the drive right away before checking the firmware version on a PC. I just finished watching this current video and decided to remove it and install into my PC. The drive already had the latest firmware version. Just thought I’d tell everyone, assuming they bought it recently.
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    41. What kind of dumb question is this? Should you still get a M.2? Aren’t M.2s only a couple of years old? What the hell else are you going to use? A new revolutionary HDD M.3?
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    42. I don’t have a pc right now only laptop. Can I update firmware with one of these USB-Sata adapters from Amazon? I read online there were some issues with sn850 because of the old firmware I would feel better if I can update that before I install it in my ps5
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    43. Have found your videos extremely informative and interesting and they’ve really helped me make an informed purchase decision in a field I’m relatively inexperienced in, so thanks for all the effort you’ve put in! Greatly appreciated.
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    44. I’m making my first Black Friday/cyber Monday purchases mostly SSD related. Anyone know if it’s actually best to wait on those days specifically for any further price reduction or is anything we see this week basically the deals of the week?
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    45. Hey nas been wondering which is best for my ps5 the sabrent ps5 heatsink with my wd sn850 or the heatsink that comes with the wd sn850 i want to know what heatsink is best for optimal performance ? Thanks love the vids
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    46. I bought the 850 last month its fast BUT on my Aorus 570 mobo when WD installed on m.2A read/write were half the speed, heat sink installed. Wth? So using a pcie adapter installed the ssd and I was getting close to advertised speed?? Using the WD app. The 850 is capable of 4 but in the m.2 slot its 2. On the the pcie slot 4/4 according to the app. BIOs up to date. You figure m.2 closet to the CPU is the fastest.
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    47. Outstanding video! Thanks for the great info & tips. Just purchased the SN850 1TB for the OS and 2 x 8TB Black for games, storage, and backup on the new Alder Lake build. Considering adding another SN850 1TB to run games on. Good idea?

      Update: Bought another SN850 1TB

      Fair winds and following seas to all.
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    48. Too late… I bought the Firecuda 530 4tb for the Sony. With shortages going on, I jumped on the first decent option. Ridiculous price yep sure… But I feel I’ve future proofed the Sony for the foreseeable future.
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    49. Would like to see one of these breakdowns with the amazing FIRECUDA 530 Heatsink version on PS5 it’s been great running Call of Duty Vanguard. And The Last of Us 2 ????????????????
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    50. Hi. Do you think the original heatsink on Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB SSD will be good enought for the PS5? Or do I need to replace it? And are you gonna test the
      Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB SSD in a PS5? Love your channel!
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    51. I was very impressed with the results of this SSD since August, which convinced me to buy a WD Black SN850 1TB SSD (No heatsink) from the Western Digital site for £119.99, two days ago. Glad I waited for that Black Friday sale.
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    52. I just bought this and the Sabrent PS5 heatsink but havn’t opened either yet just incase a better deal appears on black friday. Do y’all think the firecuda is worth the extra $20/30ish?
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    53. Thank you, NASCompares, for a great review!
      I just purchased the WD SN850 2TB for my PS5, and I have a question:
      Can I upgrade the firmware on the WD SN850 SDD using the PS5 or should I upgrade it using another method and how?
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