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WD Black SN770 1TB SSD Review


Over the last few months, we’ve seen several great NVMe SSD drives come to market, ranging from the blisteringly fast Kingston Renegade to the reasonably priced Crucial P5 Plus. The WD Black SN850 is the latest drive to hit the market, and it comes from the same manufacturer as our favourite PCIe 4.0 SSD, the WD Black SN850. However, as the name implies, it is not aiming for the top place. Yes, as opposed to its more powerful sister, the new WD Black SN770 is meant to be a better value offer.

The major reason for this is that it is a solid-state drive (SSD) that does not require DRAM. As a result, the manufacturer’s bill of materials is reduced by a significant amount, and owing to developments in the newest controllers, the performance is not adversely affected as a result of this reduction. Don’t get me wrong, such drives are slower, but the SN770 claims read and write speeds of 5,150MB/s and 4,900MB/s, respectively, on its new SN770 drive. Not too shabby.

Based on those numbers, it appears like you’re looking at a PCIe 4.0 solid-state drive (SSD). If you want to get the most out of it, you’ll need a CPU and motherboard that can handle it. However, there’s nothing stopping you from installing it in a PCIe 3.0 slot and taking use of the maximum bandwidth available there—you’ll only be restricted to a peak throughput of roughly 3,500MB/s.

A single NAND flash module (really a rebranded Kioxia BiCS5 112-Layer TLC chip) is located in the rear of the drive, with the SanDisk controller located closer to the connection. Western Digital isn’t known for disclosing much information on its controllers, and that’s the case here as well. The SN770 is available in four storage capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Unfortunately, there is no 4TB capacity, which is a disappointment.

With the exception of a giant sticker in the centre of the road, that’s pretty much the entire lot for you. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy on the other side of the drive. I can’t help but wonder whether Western Digital could design a version of this drive that would be small enough to fit within the Steam Deck, given how much room is now available. In its current state, the 2230 form factor has a limited number of options to choose from. But, in any case,

The first thing we do with every new SSD is to load it up with data so that we can get a true idea of what the performance will be like once it has been put to real-world usage, rather than when it is still in its factory-fresh state. This also provides us with an opportunity to determine when the dynamically allocated SLC cache becomes exhausted.