HD Tune is a Hard Disk Utility with many functions from error checking, health testing (S.M.A.R.T.), and of course benchmarking. To build upon our real world write test we also looked to see where the write speeds leveled off to by using HD Tune Pro. If SLC caching is being utilized, this test will typically show it.
Finally, to end our bombardment of testing, we put the WD Black PCIe through HDTune’s write test. The results show that after the SLC buffer is full, speeds drop to about 350MB/s on average with some dips along the way.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
As we have demonstrated in testing today, the WD Black was able to achieve its performance ratings. It hit 2,050MB/s in sequential read and 800MB/s in sequential write. During our testing with HDTune, however, we could see that its 800MB/s performance can degrade to about 350MB/s due to WD’s utilization of TLC NAND and SLC caching algorithms rather than MLC NAND. 4K random performance was just about in line with the 170K/134K IOPS ratings and at QD1 it achieved very respectable numbers at just about 50MB/s read and 170MB/s write.
In PCMark 8 the WD Black PCIe achieved an average bandwidth of 357MB/s, which is better than any SATA SSD we have tested yet but is down on the low end of the scale for a PCIe SSD option. In PCMark 8’s extended test, we can see that there is a clear distinction between the MLC and TLC NVMe PCIe SSDs such as this one, except in the case of the Samsung 960 EVO. Samsung always seems to be sprinkling magic into their 3D TLC…
Finally, during our real-world file transfer, we saw that the WD Black PCIe’s TLC NAND and SLC caching wasn’t enough for our 30GB of test files. It ranked low on our charts and proved to be inefficient during writes. It did, however, beat most of the other SSDs when comparing idle power consumption.
Overall, it outperforms the Intel 600P, but not by much. With the WD Black PCIe at its current prices of $109.99 (256GB) and $199.99 (512GB), the Intel may be a better buy for someone looking to get the cheapest NVMe SSD they can get their hands on or if they are looking for something in a 1TB flavor. Just as well, looking at drives priced the same or similarly to the WD Black, it is hard to ignore the MyDigitalSSD BPX. It is a much better buy.
This is not to say the WD Black PCIe is a bad SSD, because it is not. It has decent performance and has a few pros, such as a single-sided PCB design, which means it is compatible with more laptops/portable devices. WD also allows you to use Acronis True Image WD Edition Software for cloning and backup, download their WD SSD Dashboard to monitor the SSD, and it comes with a 5-year warranty, which you just can’t go wrong with.
We just feel the WD Black PCIe SSD does not quite live up to its lineage. It has an identity crisis. Yes, it is their fastest drive and it is much faster than any SATA SSD out, but it is not quite the best they could do, nor is it competitive with the many other high-end PCIe SSDs. Sure, WD said it wasn’t meant to compete in the high-end segment, but the WD Black line has traditionally contained some of the fastest mainstream HDDs over the years. Selling a Black labeled NVMe PCIe SSD with TLC NAND as an entry level NVMe PCIe option in the market seems absurd! We would go as far as to say that this SSD should have been labeled as a WD Blue PCIe. Then, later, release a WD Black PCIe with MLC NAND. The PCB is even blue! They totally missed out on developing a true WD Black PCIe SSD with a blacked-out PCB and top ranking performance with MLC NAND! But I digress, that is beside the point. Let’s get back on track.
Would we recommend this SSD? Yes. For the reasons mentioned above, it is not the best SSD out, but it will be more than adequate for its intended audience. Thus, we are awarding the WD Black PCIe our Recommended Award! If the WD Black PCIe catches your eye and you are ready to buy, be sure to…