WD Black hardware has had a military-inspired motif for years and the SN850X is designed to be the perfect PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive in a games console or PC. The company says this X variant offers faster read and write performance, as well as a heatsink that will enable it to operate in the Sony PS5.
The new model is basically a rebrand of the existing 2020 SN850 with the addition of four extra lanes of PCIe Gen 4 connectivity in an M.2 form factor. WD quotes up to 7.3GB/s read and 6.6GB/s write in sequential performance with up to 1 million IOPS for random 4K operations. The X variant also comes in 2TB and 4TB capacities that should be ample for storing your growing library of games. There are some minor tweaks to the controller and NAND combination, including the inclusion of Game Mode 2.0 that promises accelerated read speeds that should help shorten loading times for maps, levels and other content in games.
The SN850X has a nice, rugged feel to it and comes in a plain black with orange branding highlights on the case. The heatsink is fairly understated as well, which makes it a more classy choice than the more elaborate heatsinks you might see on other SSDs. Pricing is competitive, with this version available for around the same price as the Seagate FireCuda 530 with a heatsink and even less than some of the PlayStation-ready drives without a cooler like the PNY XLR8 SSD Gaming Kit 1TB.