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Western Digital Black PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

WD’s Black range used to be all about cutting edge performance, but sadly the new drive doesn’t hold up the family tradition. While it is correct to pronounce the Black PCIe drive as the fastest Black drive yet, it struggles against some of its more mature competitors, especially write performance. It can be seen as an entry level drive in this part of the market segment rather than a high-performance drive that the Black label used to represent.

What will be interesting to see is what WD will bring to the table next, now they have a foot in the door in this market. With SanDisk’s very dense 3D NAND and expertise in high throughput Flash storage devices for the enterprise market, there could be some interesting drives on the horizon.

WD quote Sequential performance figures for the 512GB PCIe Black drive as up to 2,050MB/s for reads and up to 800MB/s for writes. We were able to confirm these figures using the ATTO benchmark, with the review drive given a read score of 2,014MB/s with writes coming in at 813MB/s. It was a very different story with the 4K performance however. WD quote 4K figures for the drive at 170,000 IOPS for reads and 134,000 IOPS for writes, but with our IOMeter 4K test we could only manage 130,539 IOPS for reads and 88,317 IOPS for writes.

SSD Dashboard is WD’s SSD management software which is available via download from the WD website. It has some useful features such as drive monitoring (how much capacity is being used and how, drive temperature and remaining drive life), check for firmware updates and install them. There’s a useful built-in performance monitor that shows, in real time, how the drive is performing in 5-minute time slots in either MB/s or IOPS.

If you need a tool for cloning or backing up the drive then Acronis True Image WD Edition is also available as a download.

WD quote an endurance figure for the 512GB drive as 160TBW which works out to be around 87.6GB drive writes per day of the drives 5-year warranty.

The WD 512GB Black PCIe can be found on Overclockers UK for £199.99 (inc VAT) HERE

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  • First WD PCIe NVMe drive.
  • 5-year warranty.
  • Price.


  • 2D Planer NAND.
  • Overall performance is not a strong as you might expect from a Black labelled drive.

Kitguru says: While it might not deliver cutting edge performance, it is good to see WD finally have a drive that gives them a seat at the top tier of SSD design. Due to the competitive price point, we think the drive will sell well.

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Rating: 7.5.

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