Western Digital has launched its new SN750 SSD (full name: Western Digital WD Black SN750), with a few updated features and capabilities, including a tweaked firmware intended to boost performance. The new drives will also be offered in a separate retail package with an included custom heatsink designed by EKWB. Whether said heatsink is necessary or an improvement compared with the standard M.2 heatsinks that are built into many motherboards these days is something reviewers will have to test, but if you like the black anodized aluminum cover look, it’s something to consider.
The biggest change to the SN750 family from last year’s WD Black NVMe SSD 2018 is the pricing. The SN750 will be available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, at prices of $80, $130, $250, and $500, respectively. As Anandtech points out, the 2TB model is $50 more than the 1TB model cost just last year. Prices of 25 cents per GB for premium NVMe storage is excellent. Cost, however, also explains some of the design decisions behind the SN750 itself. It’s a very minor update to last year’s model as far as performance is concerned and it uses the same type of 64-layer 3D NAND. Western Digital could have begun transitioning over to 96-layer memory already, but both it and Toshiba are reportedly concerned about oversupply issues in the NAND market as it is. This dovetails with previous reports that manufacturers might slow their technology rollouts to limit the impact of overcapacity.
According to Anandtech, the gamer-oriented features of the SSD amount to disabling system features that allow the drive to slip into its lowest power states. This will slightly improve performance, provided that your system wasn’t already configured for this in the first place.
It’s harder to pick out a single benchmark from Anandtech’s stack that actually captures the drive’s overall performance in a single test, so I’ll just say this. While the rankings change depending on which specific workloads you examine, the SN750 is often at or near the top. Anandtech writes:
For all practical purposes, the new WD Black SN750 can be regarded as more or less identical to its predecessor, except that the SN750 is launching at far better prices, and will soon be adding a 2TB model.
By 2018 standards, the new WD Black is still a very competitive high-end NVMe SSD, and probably the best overall SSD using Toshiba/SanDisk 3D NAND.
The only place you can really ding the WD Black SN750 for missing anything is in its lack of support for PCIe 4.0 and its use of 64-layer 3D NAND instead of upcoming 96-layer cells. Then again, there’s a very real question as to how much consumers will practically notice these impacts. We’re not going to claim that SSDs have stopped getting faster — they haven’t — but the visible performance impact of going from an HDD to an SSD is still much larger than what you’d expect to see when shifting from a SATA SSD to an NVMe drive in all but the most storage-limited performance scenarios. We’ve reached the point where SSD performance can generally be described as “excellent” for the standard use cases that consumers will encounter.
Happily, the sheer amount of storage on tap provides additional impetus to upgrade where raw performance might not suffice. SSD prices may still come down in 2019, but the current drops have brought them into very agreeable territory already.
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