ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Hands-on Review: WD_Black SN850 NVMe SSD Game Drive

By Darren Price
Mon 19 Apr 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

I’ve always said that you can never have enough storage. Now that our systems are filled with terabytes of storage the emphasis has turned to drive speed. Whilst traditional hard disk prices have tumbled, their speeds have, for the most part, plateaued.  SATA solid-state drives offered some relief in speeding up the flow of data from our storage to our RAM but the quest for faster data storage continued.

NVMe SSDs, with the M.2 form factor are now a common storage solution for modern computers. Most motherboards have at least a couple of m.2 sockets for these lightning-fast components. 

Your average HDD will provide you with a read speed of 130MB/s and a write speed of 65 MB/s. This is fine for non-essential data and anything that you are happy to wait for. 

A regular SATA SSD will grant you a read speed of around 390 MB/s. A SATA m.2 SSD will boost that data read speed to 1850MB/s (and give you a write speed of around 1680 MB/s).

Your average NVMe M.2 SSD should see read/write speeds of up to 3500 MB/s. This is a massive increase from the 100 or so MB/s from a mechanical hard disk. The Intel 500-series chipset natively unlocks PCIe 4.0 x4 performance for M.2 slots on suitably equipped motherboards. PCs sporting the new Intel 11th Gen CPUs should, theoretically, be able to push drive speeds even further. 

The packaging for the WD-Black SN850 M.2 SSD we were sent for testing boasts up to 7000 MB/s read speeds. That’s near fifty-four times faster than my Seagate Barracuda HDD! I’ve

been doing this long enough to take the speeds on the packaging with a pinch of salt, paying particular attention to the “up to” prefix.
Western Digital sent me the 1 TB version of their SN850 NVME SSD, with a factory-fitted heatsink. It’s a nice-looking unit based around the most common M.2 2280 drive size. There’s even a little orange light on one side to let you know it’s working. The packaging stresses that these are for desktop PCs and not NAS or server environments. 

I tested the SN850 with an Intel Core i9 11900K CPU mounted on an ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero motherboard. Being an NVMe Gen 4 SSD it is designed to make the most out of the PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot in a motherboard sporting a 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen or an 11th Gen Intel Core CPU.

For my first test, as I had one lying around and wanted to see if it would work, I placed the SN850 in an Orico NVMe M.2 PCIe Expansion card and slotted it in the motherboard’s PCIe 3.0 slot. The motherboard accepted the new SSD and, using Crystal DiskMark 7.0, tested with a reasonable write speed of 3159. Not quite 7000 MB/s, but pretty much what you should expect from PCIe 3.0. I was pleased that the adapter worked, as well.

After placing the SN850 SSD in the PCIe 4.0 x4-equipped M.2 socket, I ran the Crystal DiskMark test again. To my absolute astonishment, the Gen 4 WD_Black drive hit a maximum read speed of 6966.76 MB/s and a write speed of 5368.31 MB/s. This is the fasted drive speed I’ve ever seen and close enough to the 7000MB/s on the drive’s packaging. You’d be hard-pushed to find a faster consumer SSD right now. Of course, all this performance isn’t cheap. Expect to pay NZ$335/AU$270 for the 1TB version.

If I had to complain about anything, it would be that the SN850’s heatsink cannot be removed. The ASUS motherboard has its own M.2 stylised heatsinks. With the SN850 installed, I was unable to fit the motherboard’s M.2 heatsinks over the SSD. The ASUS motherboard does have separate heatsink plates for each of the M.2 slots, so at least I was able to place the adjacent ones back on. The height of the WD_Black heatsink may be an issue if you want a tidier arrangement in your case. There is, however, a version of the SN850 without an integrated heatsink for those wanting to use their motherboard’s own M.2 cooling solution.

When and if Sony pulls their finger out and announces what SSDs are compatible with the M.2 socket in their PlayStation 5 consoles, there is a very good chance that the WD_Black SN850 will work. As yet though, Sony has not even activated the SSD expansion slot in the console’s firmware, so we’ll have to wait and see. 

I was impressed with the WD_Black SN850 SSD Game Drive. It was easy to install and painlessly gave me the performance promised on the box. It’s also a nice-looking bit of kit, which is handy, as I can’t cover it up with the Asus M.2 shroud/heatsink. 

The drive’s name and design are clearly aimed at the gaming market. The phenomenal speed of the device makes the drive suitable not only for superior gaming performance but also fast access to any critical data.

If you are after what must be the fastest desktop SDD available today (and money is no object), the WD_Black SN850 is the way to go.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Data Protection
Zero Trust, but verify - finding the OT in ZerO Trust
The move to remote and cloud-based technologies has shifted the goalposts for cybersecurity. It now needs to cover multiple people, devices, platforms, and networks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Arlo
Hands-on review: Arlo Go 2 security camera
In my humble opinion, Arlo Go 2 offers security for anyone needing to keep a remote eye on prized possessions or premises at different locations.
Story image
Samsung
New range of Samsung Smart Watches announced with health focus
Samsung has announced new additions to its SmartWatch portfolio, with the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro to be released in late August.
Story image
Developers
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
CyberCX
Nozomi Networks adds nine partners to its MSSP program
OT and IoT security company Nozomi Networks has added nine new members to its MSSP Partner Program, and the list includes CyberCX and Deloitte.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat announces 2022 awards winners for A/NZ region
Red Hat recently acknowledged Australia and New Zealand partners with its annual awards, highlighting partners across various categories.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Smartphone
Samsung introduces new generation of foldable smartphones
Samsung has unveiled its new range of Galaxy Z smartphones, bringing new developments to the company’s foldable smartphone portfolio.
Story image
Document Management
TrustRadius gives M-Files two document management awards
TrustRadius has recognised M-Files with both a 2022 Best Feature Set and a 2022 Best Relationship award in document management.
Story image
Remote Working
Cybersecurity concerns higher than before the pandemic - report
BeyondTrust's new survey shows Australian organisations are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Common challenges in the evolving digital world, and how to overcome them
Five technology challenges that will help highlight potential pain points and suggest how to circumvent or overcome them on the path to a smooth digital transformation.
Story image
Economics
9 in 10 retailers prepared for economic challenges this year
Some 9 in 10 retailers (86%) are prepared for continued inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending, according to new research.
Story image
Gigabit
Keysight Technologies and Nokia’s public test of 800GE success
Keysight and Nokia have successfully demonstrated the first public 800GE test, validating the readiness of next-generation optics for service providers and network operators.
Story image
Network Management
Superloop helping Aussie K12 schools with latest offering
Superloop has launched CyberEdge, a new cybersecurity platform that will give K12 schools in Australia the tools to optimise, secure and manage their network.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Exclusive: SYSPRO on how ERP plays a role in Australia's manufacturing investment plan
While there is a significant drive for change, it's really down to execution, and businesses need to be prepared to find the right strategies for them to make full use of the government support.
Story image
Marmalade
Exclusive: Marmalade empowers businesses to take control of their cash flow
Marmalade has been making waves in the invoicing space across Australia with its world-first invoice payments platform.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
First Nations
Google.org and INCO's $750,000 First Nations digitisation fund
INCO has launched its First Australians Digitisation Fund, with support from Google.org, to help organisations using tech to achieve better outcomes for First Nations communities.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, NSW partnership to accelerate digital transformation
The renewed partnership is designed to maximise the value of Microsoft solutions to various NSW Government agencies.
Story image
Australian Spatial Analytics
Australian Spatial Analytics expands to Melbourne
The data services provider employing neurodiverse people experiences significant growth, gearing up for national expansion.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
eCommerce
Online shoppers leaving cart because of high shipping costs - report
New research commissioned by HUBBED reveals 90% of online shoppers abandoned a cart due to high shipping costs, and 64% say the lack of security was a purchase deterrent.
Story image
ACCC
Telstra to address 5G competition concerns by ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Telstra to address competition concerns with Optus.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
Digitalisation
Aus Steel selects SYSPRO Cloud ERP in digitalisation journey
Aus Steel has selected global ERP specialist SYSPRO to help the company drive efficiencies in its build process and improve the scheduling of its precision engineered frames.
Story image
Charity
SnapLogic teams up with meetmagic for charity and children
SnapLogic has announced its partnership with meetmagic, an online Australian platform that combines business and philanthropy.
Story image
Microsoft
Spectralink DECT devices now integrated with Microsoft Teams SIP Gateway
Spectralink DECT devices are now integrated with Microsoft Teams SIP Gateway to help create better results for business-critical frontline workers.
Story image
Transcribe
VIQ Solutions starts contract with Queensland Courts DJAG
VIQ Solutions has started providing transcription and recording services to Queensland Courts Department of Justice and Attorney General.
Wiise
Discover why a localised cloud ERP is the way to go for Australian businesses.
Link image
Story image
Physical Security
PMT Security awarded sole Australian distribution rights to SmokeCloak
PMT Security will soon become the sole distributor of SmokeCloak in Australia, with the company being awarded the exclusive rights to represent the SmokeCloak brand.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.