Today we are looking at the revamped Western Digital Black SN750 NVMe SSD, better known as the WD Black SN750. This SSD features the same hardware as the previous-gen model but comes with a revamped firmware, boosting performance as much as possible.
The WD Black-series, in general, has been synonymous with high-level performance for some time, with it offering those who prioritize results an easy option. While this is a revamped model, it has faced some criticism due to the fact it’s still using the previous model’s hardware.
Regardless, we put this NVMe SSD though its paces to see what it was made of and how it stacks up against other models – and we loved what we found.
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCIe 3.0 x4|
|Controller||WD NVMe Architecture|
|DRAM||SK Hynix DDR4|
|Sequential Read||3,470 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||3,000 MB/s|
For those unsure about what type of SSD this is, it is an NVMe (non-volatile memory express). This type of SSD fits into the M.2 slot on a motherboard for even faster transfer rates. Rather than using SATA, the WD Black SN750 uses four PCIe lanes, giving it eight times more bandwidth to utilize.
NVMe SSD’s can read and write at over 3GB per second, whereas SATA connected devices are limited to around 550MB per second. A fast drive such as this is perfect for applications like games, as they will load extremely fast and you will find in-game loading screens follow suit. Furthermore, if you are dealing with large data file transfers on a daily basis such as video content, a fast NVMe SSD is a significantly faster way to do things.
To squeeze extra performance out of this latest model, WD has tweaked the software. The device uses a custom controller that gives a max read speed of 3470MB/s.
The SSD sports an all-black appearance and this subtle design is something that I definitely prefer over bare chips and loud colors. There is no text or barcodes on first sight, just a logo, and if you have a tempered glass case this will fade nicely into the background helping keep the aesthetics inside clean.
Of course, WD takes things further with the version that includes the heatsink. The Heatsink has been designed by EKWB and looks superb, like something straight out of an Alien film plus has the benefits of cooling the drive too.
We tested the WD Black SN750 SSD in a number of different scenarios and ran some comparisons to the more affordable WD Blue SN550 and the Samsung 860 QVO standard SSD. The purpose of our tests wasn’t just for gaming applications, we wanted to see how long different applications took to install and open, measuring the time in seconds.
Game Save Loading
We loaded several AAA titles in areas where we carry out our benchmarks at WePC for some real-world results. We compared the results with the SN550 NVMe SSD and the Samsung QVO 860 accurately to give us a true indication of the speed you can expect at home.
Total War: Warhammer II
We started a campaign called “The Eye Of The Vortex” and skipped the intro movie, timing only the loading of the campaign. As you can see The WD SN750 1TB was 30% quicker than the SATA connected drive. As this RTS game isn’t going to be reloading campaigns over and over, the 11 seconds or so you save are likely to be a one-off.
Red Dead Redemption 2
We loaded the game save at “Saint Devils” on RDR2 as this is where we do our benchmarking on the videos. Again we see a very noticeable difference, with the SATA connected drive taking 32% longer than the NVMe. This makes the NVMe drive quite useful again, especially if you are going to be repeating the odd mission, saving you around 12 seconds on this particular load.
Assassins Creed: Odyssey, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3
These three gaming titles have been lumped together due to the surprising results. All three showed little difference when loading the levels we run for our benchmarking, showing a minimal gain in moving to an NVMe. The save loads included: Argolis for Assassins Creed, the game save “City Of The Serpent” for SOTR, and the game save in the city Novigrad for The Witcher 3.
Furthering our real-world tests, we decided to measure the time it takes for the various drives to install different applications other than games. In these tests, the time is taken from the point of pressing install (when it actually begins to install) and ends when the window changes, with the “Finish” button appearing.
We wanted to pay particular attention to the differences between larger and smaller drives and this pointed out what we already knew, SSDs with higher capacity are generally faster.
To test application load times, we used LibreOffice Calc, Libre Writer, and Gimp. The test data consisted of a 3MB spreadsheet, a 10MB word doc, and a 20MB image. It is worth pointing out that these are typically larger files than what most people would actually use in a daily task but either way, there was little to no difference.
We tried large 100MB word docs, 900MB spreadsheets, and 900MB images but it is all CPU and RAM once the application has loaded.
CDM (CrystalDiskMark) is a benchmarking tool that is simple and easy to use. CDM is an open-source tool for Windows, giving us a graphical benchmark for the performance of our SSDs.
With this test, the results appeared to show what WD claims the product can achieve. The WD Black SN750 achieved a read speed of 3,496MB/s and a write speed of 3,021MB/s. The sequential performance shows a performance boost from the previous model, with the drive now reading at over 1,980MB/s at a queue depth of 32.
ATTO is a free application that SSD manufacturers will use to assign sequential performance specifications to their products. We will be using ATTO to determine how the drive handles different file sizes.
The WD Black SN750 provided the fastest results out of the drives we tested, with almost 1GB/s faster speeds than the SN550 with file sizes between 1 and 64MB. As you can see, the SN750 NVMe drive was over five times quicker than the SATA connected Samsung QVO.
Anvil is another common tool we use to benchmark our drives, allowing us to test the speed of the drive, ensuring it is configured correctly and performs as advertised.
The WD Black SN750 features a revamped dashboard. This software has been designed specifically for the latest models, getting a new look, and now including an all-new gaming mode.
This new mode disables the low power modes through firmware hooks, reducing latency, and improving general performance. Do bear in mind though, you will have to restart your PC after enabling this.
On the WD Black SN750’s release, it was up with the very best SSDs on the market, and favored for its speed and reliability. Competition has since spiced up but going for this is still a brilliant buy for gamers.
The read and write speeds of the SN750 compete with the excellent Samsung 970 Pro, even outperforming the 970 EVO.
The new game mode feature in this revamped model is a great tool and the WD Black SN750 with the EKWB heatsink is one of the nicest aesthetically on the market. Ultimately, you simply can’t go wrong with this model but you will be paying slightly extra without gaining any performance gains, with the high performing ADATA SX8200 featuring at a lower price point. The WD Black SN750 smashed the synthetic testing and performs with the stiffest competition in the real-world scenarios, so with the choice coming down to aesthetics, if you can afford a little extra, WD Black wins our pick of the bunch hands down.