Back in 2020, the Seagate FireCuda 530 was one of the best-performing drives for PC gaming, especially when it came to real-world transfers and random workloads. With the SN850X, Western Digital aims to take a second bite at this cherry with an improved drive that delivers on its promise of delivering top-tier Gen 4.0 performance in a budget-friendly package.
The WD Black SN850X features a familiar look and feel that is in keeping with the other Black hardware on the market, which has a military-inspired motif of metal sheets pressed together to create robust cases. It’s available in various capacities, with the 1TB model pictured here being the entry-level option. This drive is powered by four lanes of PCIe 4.0 connectivity and has an M.2 2280 form factor, which is a good match for most modern PC rigs and games consoles.
As far as the internals go, this is a DRAM-less SSD, which should save on manufacturing costs while still delivering fast read/write performance. The board carries a single NAND flash module at the rear (a rebranded Kioxia BiCS5 112-Layer TLC chip), with the controller towards the connector. Details on the controller aren’t divulged, but we can assume it’s one of WD’s in-house G2 controllers with updates applied to handle the more advanced NAND.
In our SQL Server application benchmark, the SN850X posted an excellent 3ms latency result that put it in the upper portion of our consumer NVMe SSD leaderboard. In our synthetic testing, it pushed 7.3GB/s read and 5.3GB/s write sequential speeds.