The industry has quickly shifted to new PCIe Gen 4 SSDs but their prices have always been damn expensive, though PCIe Gen 5 is already here you know the upcoming SSDs will be way out of reach. So, as we are shifting from older PCIe Gen 3 to Gen 4, buying a newer Gen 4 NVMe SSD is no big deal these days.
However, getting the best one for the price must be a bit tiresome for an average user which I would honestly admit, so, the review of this SSD was for our own usage. For using it on our new Alder Lake-based test bench we required a blazing fast NVMe SSD and we were hunting for one on Amazon.
After a lot of research and work, we found three best options: 1. Crucial P5 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, 2. Samsung 980 PRO PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD and yes, this one which we ultimately went for the Western Digital SN850 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD. Out of all these brand new Gen 4 based SSDs, we found various factors that made this a rightful choice.
One of the key reasons is the price-to-performance ratio, while the Crucial Gen 4 SSD was giving a speed of up to 6600MB/s (read) and almost half the write speeds, this WD’s Gaming focussed SSD promises up to 7000MB/s read and 4100MB/s write speeds.
Both of these have a very similar price range of Rs.9k for the 500GB variant and so going for the faster WD’s SSD was an obvious choice. Now, when you compare it with Samsung’s critically acclaimed 980 PRO NVMe SSD, the 500GB variant comes with lesser speed, and buying the 1TB variant for as much Rs.17k makes no sense.
Now, having made the choice of going with this Western Digital SN850 PCIe Gen 4 SSD let’s find out it is worth it or not:
- Next-gen PCIe Gen4 technology optimized for top-tier gaming
- Irrationally fast read/write speeds up to 7000/4100MB/s and up to 1,000,000 IOPS
- Customizable RGB lighting (Windows Only) programmable with the WD_BLACKTM Dashboard (heatsink model only)
- Up to 2TB capacity to hold your favorite battle-ready games
- Downloadable WD_BLACK Dashboard software to customize and control your gaming experience
The real reason you are buying this PCIe Gen 4 SSD is because of the sheer speed it offers and as most processors as well as motherboards support it so you will have no issues using it on your system. However, do see the number of lanes your motherboard offers, and only then you can experience the ultimate speed, most CPUs like Ryzen 5000 series and the new 12th Gen Intel CPUs support these new gaming SSDs.
If you have 1TB of this storage paired with Windows 11 you can even use the Microsoft DirectStorage to improve gaming performance even more and use a GPU that supports DirectX 12 Ultimate which most modern ones do so. Let’s see if Western Digital’s gaming/productivity-focused NVMe SSD can deliver performance in real life.
Here are the various benchmarks for the SSD:
In 3DMark’s Storage Benchmark test we get a speed of 3,415 points which could have been better considering the speeds, still, as gaming SSD performs well. This result is taken after enabling the gaming mode for better results.
In CrystalDiskMark, we see some great numbers, the Western Digital SN850 PCIe Gen 4 SSD gets up to 6914 MB/s read and 4,027 MB/s write speeds. This is in line with the advertised speed of up to 7000 MB/s and 4100MB/s read & write speeds.
With Gaming mode enabled, in the same CrystalDiskMark benchmark, we get 6925 MB/s read and 4029 MB/s write speeds, not a huge improvement as such, however, you notice better loading speeds but it’s a matter of slight improvement.
In Anvil’s Storage Utilities test where we again see up to 5000MB/s read speeds and practically half the read speeds when it comes to sequential writing up to 4000MB/s.
In ATTO Disk Benchmark we see writing or reading files of different sizes and for sizes above 1MB and up to 64MB, the best speeds we see are up to 6.48GB/s for read and 3.77GB/s for write speeds.
With gaming mode enabled, in AJA System Test, you see up to 5292MB/s speeds in read and 3840MB/s write speeds that match with the speed of almost all the other benchmarks. The burst read speeds are great, however, you get an average of 4GB/s to 5GB/s sustained speeds while write speeds seem really good, essential for faster installs.
In our last benchmark i.e. the AS SSD benchmark, we see a sequential read speeds of up to 5608MB/s and 3602MB/s in terms of write speeds. The scores are pretty decent and you expect such from the latest PCIe Gen 4 SSD.
Western Digital as a brand has made its WD_BLACK gaming focussed brand very unique and this gaming focussed SSD does defy that. This makes it easier for enthusiasts, gamers to choose these products which have insane performance essential for productivity/gaming.
So, in real life, you can perfectly use this as a primary SSD for Windows to make it faster while using it for loading big games. Preferably, spending for the 1TB variant doesn’t make sense unless you have a lot of cash but most productivity users will be happy with 500GB to install the essential applications and use them repeatedly.
However, you can use a less expensive or WD_BLACKs lower speed 1TB game drives because the loading speed difference in real life is very nominal. However, if you are someone who transfers a lot of files and does not have much time, I strongly recommend this Western Digital SN850 PCIe Gen 4 SSD for unmatched speeds.
Well, in terms of thermals you expect a lot of heat generated with such high-speed data transfers, however, the max SSD temps I noticed was up to 57 degrees Celsius with Gaming enabled and actually doing intense benchmarks. However, while gaming too, the temperatures are quite decent which you do expect from a gaming SSD.
Thanks to the dedicated WD_BLACK Dashboard software, it’s easier to see your SSD working, toggle off and on the Gaming Mode, or just see the overall temperatures, status, and other utilities. Overall, I would say this dashboard is one of the best software for an SSD, and seeing this one can say your investment is worthwhile as you get tuning tips, firmware updates, the health status of your SSD all via one single software.
If you are looking for an absolute no-brainer gaming SSD with the best speeds and cannot afford the insane price demands that Samsung’s 980 Pro does, this Western Digital SN850 PCIe Gen 4 SSD is the best bang-for-the-buck option out there.
Considering the insane speeds which are promised and delivered to the most extent, this PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD could easily be used as a primary boot drive or a gaming driver and even for your productivity work. Overall, if you end up getting at even better prices during sales, you should definitely check out this WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD.
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