Skip to main content

WD Black D30 1TB SSD Review: Last-Generation Gaming

Useful for game storage, but not a whole lot else.

WD Black D30 1TB SSD
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The D30 is a portable gaming SSD designed for consoles, and that’s the niche it fits. It has otherwise mediocre to poor performance. The utilitarian design is competent but won’t win any awards.

Pros

  • +

    Practical design, if physically larger than required

  • +

    Works on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, with designated console models

Cons

  • -

    Slow write performance, particularly sequential and sustained

  • -

    Mediocre all-around performance

The WD Black D30 is simply designed external storage for your games without any frills like RGB. It will work on modern consoles as well as PC, whether macOS or Windows, but is aimed at older titles for use on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. The variant we are testing today is for the Xbox and comes with a Game Pass Ultimate code to get your gaming journey started.

This drive is recommended for last-generation titles, because the current consoles have high-bandwidth NVMe drives and their recommended expansion options are also quite fast. 10 Gbps USB won’t cut it for that. On PC, DirectStorage is still in its infancy, but that API is designed for NVMe anyway. That being said, 10 Gbps is sufficient bandwidth for normal game loading, and the D30’s 2TB option is particularly compelling to hold a game collection.

WD’s original SN550 and its SanDisk counterpart made for a solid portable drive when paired with an enclosure. WD thought so, too, as they made models with this hardware and the ASM2362 bridge chip. While these drives are DRAM-less and HMB does not pass over USB, the overall design was such that sustained performance remained quite good. We will have to test the D30 to see if it holds up to that. Many manufacturers have been “nerfing” drives lately, including the SN550, so we’ll see what separates the D30 from its peers.

Specifications

Product500GB1TB2TB
Pricing$79.99 $124.99 $191.89
Capacity (User / Raw)500GB / 512GB1000GB / 1024GB1000GB / 1024GB
Form Factor (Internal)M.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolUSB-C / USB Gen3 2x1USB-C / USB Gen3 2x1USB-C / USB Gen3 2x1
IncludedUSB Type-C to Type-A cable, standUSB Type-C to Type-A cable, standUSB Type-C to Type-A cable, stand
ControllerWD ProprietaryWD ProprietaryWD Proprietary
DRAMN/AN/AN/A
Memory96L BiCS4 SanDisk TLC96L BiCS4 SanDisk TLC96L BiCS4 SanDisk TLC
Sequential ReadUp to 900 MBpsUp to 900 MBpsUp to 900 MBps
Sequential WriteUp to 900 MBpsUp to 900 MBpsUp to 900 MBps
Random ReadN/AN/AN/A
Random WriteN/AN/AN/A
SecurityN/AN/AN/A
PowerBus-poweredBus-poweredBus-powered
EnduranceN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)N/AN/AN/A
Dimensions96 x 35/45.90 x 58/60.5mm (w/stand)96 x 35/45.90 x 58/60.5mm (w/stand)96 x 35/45.90 x 58/60.5mm (w/stand)
Weight125/137g (w/stand)125/137g (w/stand)125/137g (w/stand)
Part NumberWDBATL5000ABKWDBATL0010BBKWDBATL0020BBK
Warranty3-Year3-Year3-Year

The WD Black D30 is available at 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. The price per gigabyte goes from $0.16 to $0.09 as the capacity increases, making the 2TB the best value. Games are always getting larger, so that may be the best investment regardless. While internally the drive is in the typical M.2 2280 form factor, externally the drive is attached by USB via the USB-C port with an included Type-C to Type-A cable. Although somewhat bulky, the drive is a relatively lightweight 125 grams.

The drive is not rated in any special way but comes with a stand and is bus-powered. The casing does seem thick, so it should offer some protection. As the drive is limited by the USB 3.1 interface, that is 10 Gbps SuperSpeed+, it’s only rated for up to 900 MBps with regard to sequential reads and writes. The warranty is unexceptional at three years.

Software and Accessories

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The D30 arrives with a stand and a single USB Type-C to Type-A cable. Software should not be required for console use. A Type-C to Type-C cable would have been a nice inclusion for PC and Mac users, although strictly speaking it is not necessary. As mentioned above, the drive also comes with a Game Pass Ultimate code.

A Closer Look

Image 1 of 5

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 5

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 5

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 5

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 5

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The WD D30 comes in a utilitarian (but not unattractive) black and white casing. It’s likely the casing would provide some protection to the SSD inside, but it seems larger than necessary. The case has a single USB-C port and a status indicator LED. Details about the drive, such as the capacity, are written on the side. This particular color scheme is for the Xbox version that we received for testing; there’s also a pure-black model.

Image 1 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The internal structure does seem to have some ruggedness to it. There is a green PCB to facilitate the M.2 NVMe-to-USB-C conversion. The internal drive appears to be a WD SN550.

Image 1 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

WD Black D30

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A closer look at the drive confirms our expectations as we spot SanDisk’s 20-82-10023-A1 controller, which is used by the SN550 and SN570. This is a DRAM-less, 4-channel design. Besides the PMIC, we also spot the flash - SanDisk 060523, as utilized on the original SN550. This would be 96-layer BiCS4 TLC from Kioxia, with 512Gbit or 64GB dies in a 1TB package for a 16DP configuration.

The bridge chip is the ASMedia ASM2362, a popular alternative to JMicron’s JMS583 and Realtek’s RTL9210B. This bridges x2 PCIe 3.0 to USB 3.1 at 10Gbps. Most 20 Gbps portable drives utilize its faster sibling, the ASM2364. ASMedia lists the ASM2362 as USB3.1 Gen2 (USB 3.1) which is SuperSpeed+ and is equivalent to USB3.2 Gen 2x1. This has more than twice the bandwidth of SuperSpeed 5 Gbps, or USB 3.0 (USB Gen 3.2 1x1) due to improved encoding.

Basically, the chip has two lanes of PCIe 3.0 on the drive side and a 10 Gbps interface on the USB side, for a performance peak around 900 MBps in this case. The JMS583 is popular in many “DIY” enclosures but had early firmware issues, while the Realtek RTL9210B is often considered the best of the bunch. The RTL9210B, though, does have the advantage of working with SATA drives.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

Shane Downing
Shane Downing

Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.