WD released the next generation of its Blue SSD, the SN550, today. The SN550 looks to be a nice improvement over the SN500. This time around, the company purpose-built the SSD for content creators and PC enthusiasts looking for both responsive performance and efficiency.
Forward Insights predicts that NVMe devices will account for more than 75 percent of storage shipped in the PC segment by 2021. And, with prices dropping lower than ever, we think we know why. This has brought down 1TB-class SSDs to a very affordable level, making it a hot capacity point. So hot that WD has already refreshed the months old Blue SN500, which only came in 250GB and 500GB capacities, with a replacement that goes up to 1TB.
The hardware and firmware changes driving this improved performance involve an updated controller with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, a jump forward from just two lanes. The company also infused the latest 96-Layer TLC flash into its design but didn't share further details.
At its core, WD’s SN550 features a DRAMless architecture, which helps keep production costs down. Unlike what we’ve experienced with some SSDs in the past, though, that didn’t hinder the SN500’s performance too much. We’re not sure if the company leverages the host memory buffer spec in this new release, but performance and endurance look pretty competitive.
|Product||Blue SN550 250GB||Blue SN550 500GB||Blue SN550 1TB|
|Capacity (User / Raw)||250GB / 256GB||500GB / 512GB||1000GB / 1024GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3|
|Controller||WD NVMe Architecture||WD NVMe Architecture||WD NVMe Architecture|
|Memory||WD 96L TLC||WD 96L TLC||WD 96L TLC|
|Sequential Read||2,400 MBps||2,400 MBps||2,400 MBps|
|Sequential Write||950 MBps||1,750 MBps||1,950 MBps|
|Random Read||170,000 IOPS||300,000 IOPS||410,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||135,000 IOPS||240,000 IOPS||405,XXX IOPS|
|Endurance (TBW)||150 TB||300 TB||600 TB|
The drive comes in a slim M.2 2280 single-sided form factor, and the company claims that it features improved thermal performance to keep up with sustained workloads. That's great for those who work with large files like 4K/8K video, or any prosumer-class applications.
The new SN550 will deliver even faster performance of up to 2.4 GBps read, which is four times faster than SATA SSDs. WD rates write performance up to 1.95 GBps, and random performance is more than enough for consumer workloads at over 400,000 read/write IOPS. Endurance ratings match WD’s Black NS750 as well as Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus, and the SN550 comes with a matching five-year warranty.
At price points of $54.99, $64.99, and $99.99 per respective capacity, the SN550 should offer a responsive user experience and greater value over the last-gen model. Stay tuned for our review; samples are inbound.