You can get a sizable chunk of SSD storage in your computer for a very reasonable price right now, but mechanical hard drives are still a better deal when you need a terabyte or more. If performance is of primary importance, then an SSD is the only option. Western Digital has launched a new M.2 PCIe SSD with capacities up to 1 TB that has reviewers’ jaws hitting the floor. Not only is the Western Digital Black 3D NVMe blazing fast, the pricing doesn’t leave you destitute.
For several years, Samsung’s 960 Pro M.2 SSDs have been the gold standard for super-fast PC storage. Western Digital’s new 3D NAND flash storage design boosts the performance of this M.2 drive to almost the same level, but it’s several hundred less at each price point compared with the Samsung drive. AnandTech’s exhaustive benchmarks show the Western Digital Black 3D NVMe beating Samsung’s budget Evo drives and usually matching the more expensive Pro variant. The drive has a custom WD controller and 64-layer 3D TLC NAND.
The Western Digital Black 3D NVMe is an M.2 drive, not a standard SATA SSD like most of the drives you’ve probably used. An M.2 SSD requires a corresponding slot on your motherboard, which plugs the chip into the PCI Express 3.0 bus. That allows for much higher throughput than a SATA drive. Both laptops and desktops can have M.2 slots, but SSDs with storage chips on both sides of the board might not be able to fit inside the confines of a laptop. The new Western Digital drive is one-sided, so it should fit fine.
Western Digital offers the Black 3D NVMe in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities. They’re priced at $120, $230, and $450, respectively. Those prices are in-line with the lower performing Samsung Evo drives, but you get something that works like the Pro drives. At the 1TB price point, the Western Digital drive is $200 cheaper than Samsung’s high-end option.
Western Digital offers a five year warranty on these drives, which are different than the older WD Black SSD. Make sure you’re picking up the 3D NVMe if you want the new version. WD guarantees 200TBW (Terabytes Written) for the 250GB drive. The 500GB will last a minimum of 300TBW, and the 1TB drive is good for at least 600TBW. Most users won’t get anywhere near that much usage even after years of continuous operation.
Pre-orders for the Western Digital Black 3D NVMe are live now. WD expects to ship the drives around the middle of the month.