UPDATED – This report has been updated as, during our first report of the WD_Black P50, we had observed very low and inconsistent data transfer patterns in our true data testing. As a result of that first report, Western Digital sent new firmware and stated that new products would be shipped with the new firmware and product owners would be able to upgrade their present P50 Game drives if they experienced a similar problem. This report has been amended to include the new firmware.
Just about a week ago, we posted a review on the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD. The Extreme Pro is one of very few on the market today that takes advantage of the newest USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) interface and reaches read and write speeds of 2GB/s. Looking back just about a year or so ago, USB 3.2 Gen 2 was touted as the ‘new industry standard’, and while the 10Gbps version has caught on, the more powerful 20Gbps seems to have been left behind with little to no support from storage manufacturers. Western Digital/SanDisk is changing that with both the SanDisk Extreme Pro that we reviewed previously, and the WD_Black P50 Game Drive SSD that we are looking at today.
The WD Black P50 Game Drive Portable SSD is available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities and is built specifically for gamers, however buyer beware, this is not compatible with the just released PS5. It has a Type-C port and uses USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) to reach read and write performance up to 2GB/s. It is fully compatible with Windows 8.1 and up, macOS 10.11 and up, as well as PS4 Pro and up and it also comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The WD_Black P50 comes with the P50 itself, manuals and both Type-A to Type-C and Type-C to Type-C adapters. It is important to note that, in order to attain 2GB/s speeds or PC must be compatible for USB 3.2 2×2 (20Gbps) which is not the norm. We have 4PCs and 5 laptops, all fairly new, in our office, none of which will allow the full speed of this device. Although 10Gbps speeds work with USB 3.2 gen 2 (10Gbps), we had to obtain a separate card to review both of the drives mentioned. It can be found here. This is the trick to USB 3.2 Gen 2; one needs to that there are two speeds available as well as whether their system is compatible with such. For many media professionals, this card to increase transfer speeds to 2Gbps is a lifesaver.
WE will be the first to say that the exterior build and appearance of the WD_Black P50 is stunning. The exterior shell is of a flat black aluminum with an addition aluminum plate inside that dissipates heat away from the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD.
The SN750 is a single sided SSD that uses a proprietary SanDisk controller along with their 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory and a SKHynix DRAM buffer. The ASMedia ASM2364 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps) to NVMe bridge controller provides for data transfer through the Type-C port to the system.
The base of the P50 has four rubber pads that couple with 5 vents that allow heat to dissipate. Checking Amazon, we can see pricing of the WD_Black P50 Game Drive Portable SSD at $119.91 (500GB), $178.83 (1TB) and $389.99 (2TB). If you are looking for the Orico USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) Add-in Card, it is priced at $49.99 with a $20 off coupon at the time of this report.