The previous WD Black NVMe SSD was basically the drive to break Samsung’s unbreakable lead in the solid-state storage world. Fast forward to the start of this year, and the market has become much more diverse with excellent options from Corsair, Adata and even Seagate – it’s almost become a little hard to stand out.
Well, the WD Black SN750 definitely makes its mark as one of the fastest solid-state drives we’ve ever tested. With an incredibly affordable price to boot, this might be the drive to permanently put Western Digital in the black.
Pricing and availability
WD is pricing its fastest drive to be aggressively affordable and at an even lower cost than its previous Black NVMe SSD, which we thought was already very reasonably priced last year. You’ll find the WD Black SN750 starting at $79 (about £60, AU$110) for a 250GB capacity drive. From there, the 500GB SN750 goes for $129 (about £100, AU$179) and 1TB for $249 (about £190, AU$350).
The WD Black SN750 will also be available in a new 2TB capacity for $499 (about £390, AU$700) coming later this February. Later in Q1 2019 (roughly January to March), Western Digital also plans to introduce a heatsink made by famed custom liquid-loop cooler maker EKWB. Unfortunately, the storage maker won’t be selling the heatsink separately, so users will only be able to purchase it bundled with drives 500GB or larger in capacity.
Comparatively, the WD Black NVMe SSD launched at $99 (£109, AU$179) for a 250GB capacity drive, $194 (£199, AU$299) for 500GB and $399 (£394, AU$619) for 1TB.
We’re particularly surprised that Western Digital is charging only $249 (about £190, AU$350) for a 1TB drive when the same amount of storage will cost almost twice as much from other companies. Just a few examples are the $495 (£389, AU$799) 1TB Samsung 970 Pro and $329 or £290 (about AU$445) 960GB Adata XPG SX8200.
The 1TB WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD we’re reviewing here features sequential read and write speeds up to 3,470MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. On paper, that might seem like a small bump up from the 3,400 megabytes per second (MB/s) sequential read and 2,800 MB/s sequential write speeds we saw on the previous WD Black NVMe SSD, but it proved to be an exceptional speed increase in our testing.
Thanks to its amped-up performance, the WD Black SN750 seems to place itself as a direct competitor to the Samsung 970 Pro – up to 3,500MB/s sequential reads and 2,700MB/s writes – rather than the Samsung 970 Evo that features a 200MB/s slower sequential write speed.
Of course, Western Digital’s latest drive is also fending off some new rivals, including Corsair’s wickedly fast Force Series MP510 that runs up to 3,480MB/s sequential reads and 3,000MB/s sequential writes.
For the most part – and we mean almost entirely – the WD Black SN750 features the same memory architecture and utilizes the same NVMe controller as its predecessor. Like the Black NVMe SSD, the company once again went with a small amount of SLC (Single Level Cell) 64-layer 3D NAND to handle the brunt of quick data transfers and funnel all that information to its slower, but more robust Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND for, well, storage.
What has changed is WD has introduced an improved version of its firmware to speed up its latest drive. Strangely, though the company won’t be serving up the new firmware to owners of its previous WD Black NVMe SSD.
Additionally, users starting up Western Digital’s SSD Dashboard software with this drive will find the program automatically reskin itself into a dark theme made specifically for the SN750. Within this dynamic UI, users will find a ‘Gaming Mode’ switch that when flipped, deactivates the drive’s low power state – basically stopping the SN750 from idling – and eliminates latency.
That all might not sound like much of a ‘Gaming Mode’ boost, but it actually leads to astounding speed increases.
When we first popped this drive in for testing, we honestly weren’t expecting much of an increase in performance over the WD Black NVMe SSD – but then we were blown away by how much faster this drive writes data. In terms of sequential write speeds, the WD Black SN750 floors every other drive including its predecessor as well as both the Samsung 970 Pro and 970 Evo.
Random write speeds are where the WD Black SN750 really starts wiping the floor with everyone especially when you kick it into Gaming Mode. With our sample, we almost saw a 70MB/s increase in random writing performance with the seemingly gimmicky software feature.
Those faster write cycles ultimately allow the WD Black SN750 to copy both our 10GB folder and 10GB file in the shortest times we’ve recorded. This should, in turn, make this SSD a perfect choice for creatives and media producers who need a fast writing drive to keep up with their production.
When we were first briefed on the WD Black SN750 we honestly didn’t expect much. It seemed to arrive too close to the release of the company’s last big SSD, with small iterative improvements and a gimmicky ‘Gaming Mode.’
That’s why we were so happy to be proven wrong after our testing revealed it was the fastest SSD that we’ve ever had in our lab. With a 1TB capacity drive costing just $249 (about £190, AU$350), we can also confidently say that it’s the best drive money can buy. Not only does it usurp the Samsung 970 Pro as the speed king, it has also dismounted Samsung 970 Evo as the value champion.
For these reasons, the WD Black SN750 has earned a perfect score and our Editor's Choice award.