WD slims down SSD to squeeze into little Black drive range

Consumer NVMe card treated like internal PC disk transplant

Weightlifting, photo via Shutterstock

WD has added an SSD card to its previously all-disk Black range.

The Black PCIe SSD comes in 256GB asnd 512GB capacities and features an M.2 2280 format with an NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 host connection. It is WD's third flash product using branding previously reserved for disk drives, joining the Blue and Green 2.5-inch SARA SSDs.

It's classed as a consumer SSD but this doesn't mean it's simple to install.

WD says Black PCIe SSDs are "perfect for building high-end gaming systems or high-performance tower desktops and laptops with support for an M-type connector". The word "building" indicates the level of installation complexity.

You need to get inside your PC or notebook to install it and may well need a somewhat specialised allen key-type screwdriver to fasten the locking nut that holds the end of the card once it is plugged into its socket.


The device uses, we understand, TLC (3bits/cell) flash built on a 15nm process.

Intel also has a consumer-class M.2 drive, the 600p which uses 3D TLC flash, and its capacity range is 128BGB to 1TB.

The WD Black's performance, compared to the Intel 600p product, looks like this:

Random Read Random Write Sequential Read Sequential Write
WD Black PCIe SSD 170,000 to 134,000 to 2.05GBps to 800MBps
Intel 600p 35,000-155,000 to 128,000 to 1.8GBps to 560MBps

The Black PCIe SSD is faster than Intel's 600p.

Both drives gave a five-year warranty and nearly identical MTBF (mean time before failure) ratings; 1.75 million hours for the Black SSD and 1.6 million hours for the Intel one.

The Black's endurance is 80TB written for the 256GB model and 160TB written for the 512GB unit. Intel's 600p has a 72TB written rating, and this is a hard limit with write locking imposed. While the Intel product features AS 256-bit encryption, the Black PCIe SSD has no encryption option.

WD product information doesn't mention an NVMe driver for the Black SSD but we would be surprised if one was not supplied.

WD supplies Acronis True Image software drive cloning to aid the Black PCIe SSD drive upgrade process.

The prices are $109 (£104) for a 256GB product and $199.99 (£189) for the 512GB one. Apart from its lack of encryption, the Black PCIe SSD looks to be a better price/performance option than Intel's 600p. ®

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