We seem to have a winner
WD Black NVMe SSD 1TB (2018) Detailed Review
WD returned to the drawing board with their SSD lineup. The initial batch of Blue, Green and Black SSDs have already entered a saturated market with very few offers compared to the competition. Even the price, WD Blue says, was similarly a little higher than the performance drive which makes it a solid purchase. However, the new WD Black lineup with support for the NVMe protocol under its belt is ready to make a name for itself. Powered by a proprietary WD (SanDisk) controller, this new lineup shows promise.
WD Black NVMe SSD 1 TB Specification
As mentioned earlier, the controller is owned by WD Black NVMe SSD. We know very little about these puppies because the paper numbers seem to be really competitive. It should also be noted that the exact same model can be purchased as SanDisk Extreme PRO SSD by model number SDSSXPM2-1T00. The controller uses PCIe x4 lanes which means these drives have plenty of headroom to do their magic. Let’s take a look at the specifications of this particular SKU.
|WD Black NVMe SSD 1 TB Specification|
|Regulator||Proprietary WD controller|
|Nanda||SanDisk 15nm TLC|
|RAM||Micron DDR4 2400 512 GB|
|Read Sec speed||3400|
|Sec writing speed||2800|
|Random read IOPS||500,000|
|Write randomly IOPS||400,000|
|Active energy consumption||140 MW|
|Maximum power consumption||9.24 watts|
|Disable PS3||100 MW|
|Disable PS4||2.5 MW|
|MTTF||1.75 thousand hours|
|Form factor||M.2 2280|
|Cost per GB||Rs|
Construction and design
The layout of the new WD Black NVMe SSD is fairly simple in that the proprietary WD controller takes up a lot of real estate in the center. As mentioned earlier, this controller was created by SanDisk and the exact same configuration is being marketed as a SanDisk SKU.
A sticker is running across the entire upper face. Now talking about a sticker may be a silly thing but what other manufacturers do is they have a copper plate on which the information is printed. Thus, the sticker itself acts as a huge heat sink, and when you mount it on motherboards that have extra heat sinks on top, the copper ends up as a better thermal interface than non-conductive plastic stickers.
Back in NAND, with these new SKUs, WD is using the new 64-level BiCS 3D NAND they unveiled with the SanDisk Ultra 3D and WD Blue 3D NAND SSDs launched last year. So both the NAND and the controller have changed this time.
After all, we have SDRAM memory that comes from microns. The FBGA code MT40A512M16JY-083E: indicates a part numbered B indicating that it is a DDR4 chip rated 1200 MHz or DDR4-2400. It’s also an upgrade over SanDisk’s SATA SSD that uses the DDR3L memory chip.
The underside of the WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) is awesome. A strategy to keep the bottom clean is to ensure compatibility with the lower riding M.2 socket. So we are not blaming WD here.
Overall, the WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) is a completely new package thanks to its proprietary controller. However, it still marks a significant change in the way they have designed SKUs Now WD is targeting enthusiasts with NVMe, so let’s see how well this drive performs.
We start by running some of the synthetic industry’s favorite benchmarks before conditioning the drives. In CrystalDiskMark’s random and hierarchical testing, we found the QD32 to have a read speed of 3400 MB and a write speed of about 2850 MB / s, which is close to the spec sheet. The only difference between random and 0-fill runs is the sequential transfer which differs by 200 MB / s for random data. So that’s always a good sign.
Another benchmark we use for SSDs is anvil which is slightly wider than the crystal disk mark. However, it is also run before conditioning. IOPS statistics for the writing cycle are synonymous with those mentioned in the data sheet but for the reading cycle, it falls below the datasheet metrics.
The net score, however, is quite high. We then moved on to the SSD’s conditioner to wear something in the NAND to mimic a more realistic situation where the SSD would work for the longest time of its life. Let’s check the results after conditioning.
Sequential reading performance
The WD Black NVMe (2018) surprised us by matching or better matching the performance of Samsung 960 Pro. While the 960 Pro holds a lead in sustainable sequencing, the WD Black NVMe is ahead in first performance. However, Intel’s 760p 3D X-Point drive still performs better in the Barsty.
Performance of serial writing
Again, the WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) has surpassed the competition in the cycle of bursty and sustainable writing. It is better than Intel 760p as well as Samsung 960 Pro.
It turns out that the new proprietary controller from WD is actually a good performer in all the most important parameters.
SSD performance is not just about pure reading speed or writing speed. All new controllers are able to easily handle synthetic loads that lead to metrics that do not indicate real-world performance. So we’re going to look at the latency timing for each operation across different row depths.
Here the Y-axis is the latency in microseconds whereas the X-axis contains IOPS statistics. We can see that the read delays create a growing curve with very shallow gradients which indicates consistency in latency time. However, when we look at the writing delay it flies in the sky around the 150K IOPS mark. Incidentally, the Anvil benchmark also tops the 170K IOPS. There seems to be a reciprocal relationship here.
WD Black NVMe SSD 1 TB judgment
The new WD Black NVMe SSD is a really good SSD. It has managed to make some of the most enthusiastic loved ones among the several benchmarks. The Intel 760p and Samsung 960 Pro were somewhat competitive in the end but in the end, the WD Black NVMe turned out to be the best drive. The latency times for writing activities seem a bit uncomfortable, hopefully a firmware upgrade should be taken care of in the future. This unit is a bit hard to find online and is the only dedicated computer store that carries it. Since it has become quite an overchiever, it should be changed and you will find it in all your favorite ecommerce stores. For the price of Rs 32,999, the cost per GB has come down to Rs 33 which is quite profitable. Let’s just say that WD’s efforts with the new controller and NAND finally worked their magic.