Pros: Crazy fast, compatibility, proprietary software, 5 year warranty.
Shortcoming: Expensive with heatsink, sometimes a bit hot.
When it comes to SSDs, Western Digital is one of the leading names as they have been in the industry for quite some time. The Californian giant recently released its new SSD for desktop and PlayStation 5.
The WD Black SN850X is the brand’s newest SSD that claims to surpass the speed of the already popular SN850. I have been using the SN850X for more than two weeks now and have noticed the speed when working on my system.
That being said, here’s my review of the WD Black SN850X SSD. But before you grit your teeth over the review, let’s look at the SSD’s specs and pricing.
Specifications of WD Black SN850X
|Ideal||WD Black SN850X|
|thermal availability||with heatsink/without heatsink|
|ability||1TB, 2TB, 4TB|
|sequential read||7,300 Mb/s|
|write sequential||6,300 Mb/s|
|form factor||M.2 2280|
|generation||PCIe Gen 4 x 4|
|sip||1GB DDR4 – 1TB, 2GB DDR4 – 2TB+|
|Nand||112-layer BICS5 TLC|
|TBW (Total Bytes Written)||600|
|compatibility||Desktop (Mobo with M.2 port) Windows 11, 10, 8.1, PlayStation 5|
|Guarantee||5 Year Limited Warranty|
|worth||Starts from around Rs 12,000 without heatsink|
Testing RIG for review
Processor – Intel i7-12700F
GPU – Nvidia RTX 3070
Motherboard – Asus TUF B660 PLUS Wi-Fi
RAM – XPG D50 16GB (8GB x 2) DDR4 @3200Mhz
SSD – Western Digital Black SN850X 2TB
Cooler – Deepcool AG400
PSU – Cooler Master 750W
Case – Cooler Master 510
Monitor – LG Ultragear 27GP850
Design & Packaging
As you’d expect, the WD Black SN850X SSD comes in a small black box with lots of information written on the front and back. On the box, depending on the variant you choose, there is a picture of the SSD. If you get the SSD with a heatsink, you will see the same version on the box, if the SSD is without a heatsink, the box will show you the naked SSD, which is without a heatsink.
The box shares more technical information as well as forward and reverse sequential read speeds. Compatibility information is clearly visible.
Speaking of the SSD itself, the model with the heatsink looks nice but is a bit chunky. Its measurements are as follows – 80mm x 22.4mm x 8.8mm.
One interesting thing is that it has an RGB LED light just above the ‘WD_Black’ branding. Lighting on the SSD can be configured through the Western Digital Dashboard app, available on the company’s website.
Although the LED light part is small, it is a great addition. And, it should be noted that it has a proper RGB setup, which means you can choose from a color palette in the app or create your own shades. The RGB LED light has three effects – Static, Breathing and Strobing.
The little light can also be synced with your motherboard by connecting to the motherboard’s proprietary app. In my case, I linked it to the Asus Aura Sync software as I used a TUF motherboard for testing.
No matter how the design or addition of an SSD, no one will consider whether it lacks in performance. The SN850X is a performance monster in benchmarks. But before we go to the benchmarks and real-world experience, let’s see what’s on paper.
WD markets the SN850X solely on its sequential read and write speeds. The company claims 7,300MB/s sequential read speeds and 6,300MB/s write speeds.
However, these speeds have been tested on the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X, which the manufacturer has shown at the very end of the datasheet.
Nonetheless, I tested the speeds myself on the CrystalDisk Mark and the results were pretty close when it came to write speeds. Also, in the game test, I have mentioned about the Gaming Mode 2.0 that the SSD supports through the proprietary app.
crystal disc mark benchmark
After running several tests, the SN850X was able to achieve 6,951 MB/s sequential read and 6,676 MB/s write. These are impressive numbers.
To test, I also benchmarked another WD SSD, the WD Blue SN570 Gen 3. As you can see, my Gen 3 SSD could only get half or less of the score achieved by the SN850X Gen 4 SSD.
crystal disc information thermal
During benchmarking and playing games as well as when performing multiple tasks on the system with the SSD in use, temperatures hovered between 53 and 64 degrees. The ideal temperature for an SSD is between 41 and 44 degrees.
Compared to the Gen 3 SN570 SSD, it stayed below 55 degrees and the ideal temperature was 40 degrees.
It’s worth noting that the temperatures for the SN850X are for the proprietary heatsink version. The temperature may vary slightly depending on the heatsink you use. That said, a heatsink is a must for this SSD considering its speed and temperature.
Speaking of the heatsink, do note that the 4TB variant doesn’t come with a heatsink, so you’ll have to rely on third-party heatsinks.
game loading test
This is a pretty straightforward test and shows a real world scenario. The SSD supports Gaming Mode 2.0 which can be enabled via the WD Dashboard app.
In this test, I ran three games – GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption II, and Cyberpunk 2077. The results here were mixed, leading me to wonder how the average person might perceive the new SN850X Gen 4 SSD. Again, I’ve compared the results to the SN570 Gen 3 SSD to compare.
As you can see, it only took 55 seconds for GTA 5 to load to the main screen using the SN850X. With Gaming Mode on, it was loading slightly faster at 53 seconds.
While these results are great, the SN570 was able to load the game in 54 seconds, which is around the same time as the SN850X.
Moving on to Red Dead Redemption 2, the new SSD was able to load to the main screen in 70 seconds. With Gaming Mode, the loading time was slightly improved to 68 seconds. Oddly, the WD Blue SN570 Gen 3 was able to load to the main screen in 66 seconds.
Coming to the last game – Cyberpunk 2077, the SN850X was able to load the game to its main screen in 28 seconds. When gaming mode was turned on, it took 27 seconds. The older SN570 took 30 seconds to load on the main screen.
As mentioned earlier, the results were kind of a mixed bag, leaving me confused and skeptical about the sports mode. This test shows that in real-world scenarios, game loading speeds can’t make a difference with the new Gen 4 SSD.
Software Support and Warranty
Throughout the article, I mentioned about the proprietary app that supports the SSD – WD Digital Dashboard. Since SSDs are such a small part of PCs, many manufacturers don’t care about software support. WD has introduced a dedicated app for the SN850X, just in case, though.
The WD Digital Dashboard app reminds you that you’ve invested in a premium product. It comes with a number of controls and shows some clear information about the SSD.
It shows the SSD’s minimum and maximum temperature, health status, memory lanes, volumes, and more. You can also check the performance of the SSD every minute. It also informs you about the firmware version and lets you update it directly through the app.
However, the major use of the app is for setting up RGB. As stated above, the SSD’s RGB lighting and effects are fully customizable. Also, Gaming Mode 2.0 can be toggled from within the app as well.
The SSD’s software is a great addition for users looking to take advantage of all of the SN850X’s features.
Talking about warranty, WD is offering 5 years warranty, which is quite impressive. Considering it’s a storage unit, you’re bound to use it for a long time, so if anything ever happens to an SSD, you know exactly who to contact.
As I said above, the SN850X Gen 4 SSD is a performance monster in benchmarks. However, when it comes to real-world experience, you might not notice things being super fast if you already have a Gen 3 SSD. But if you’re moving from a SATA SSD or HDD, your day-to-day experience will undoubtedly be better. Although not by much, Gaming Mode 2.0 did make a slight difference in some games, but the loading speed was only a few seconds faster. The presence of proprietary software is a great addition as it is user-friendly and convenient.
The WD Black SN850X is one of the fastest Gen 4 SSDs available in India and the best among most SSDs at a premium price when it comes to gaming and convenience. So if you’re considering buying a fast and premium Generation 4 SSD, the new SN850X is a no brainer.
(The article will be updated with more images soon.)
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