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WD and Sandisk Introduce High End NVMe SSDs


Over the past week, WD (and it’s daughter company Sandisk) introduced several new, fast NVMe based SSDs.  According to early reviews, these drives seem to be able to compete with the leading offerings by Samsung and give system builders (and in our case photo and video professionals) some of the fastest consumer storage solutions on the market at the moment.

The two families of NVMe SSDs that were introduced are the WD Black NVMe SSD and the SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe SSD. The naming can be a bit confusing since WD already has an M.2 SSD on the market for a while (called WD BLACK PCIE SSD), however, it performs significantly slower than the new generation.

NVMe based drives are significantly faster than the mainstream SATA based SSDs (typically 3-4 times as fast depending on the drive, the system configuration, and the specific test). There are however more expensive and come in a form factor which is more akin to a computer memory than a conventional 2.5″ drive (that is called M.2 and it needs to physically connected to the motherboard, although there are some external units connected through Thunderbolt 3 cables).

According to early testing done by the good people at Anandtech (who are known for their in-depth storage reviews for many years), both the new WD and the new SanDisk (which are similar but apparently not exactly identical in real-world performance), are doing very well, with performance being very close to that of Samsung’s 960 EVO series and in some cases even outperforming the top of the line Samsung 960 PRO (which is more expensive).

The new drives use a new in-house controller which apparently works very well (instead of the Marvell controller used by many other brands in the industry) and come in capacities of 500GB/1TB (the WD also has a 256GB version which the SanDisk currently lacks).

As for speeds – here are the official ones (these are for both the WD and the SanDisk drives):

Sequential Read/Write

1TB

  • Up to 3,400 MB/s Read
  • Up to 2,800 MB/s Write

500GB

  • Up to 3,400 MB/s Read
  • Up to 2,500 MB/s Write

250GB

  • Up to 3,000 MB/s Read
  • Up to 1,600 MB/s Write

Random Read/Write

1TB

  • Up to 500,000 IOPS Read
  • Up to 400,000 IOPS Write

500GB

  • Up to 410,000 IOPS Read
  • Up to 330,000 IOPS Write

250GB

  • Up to 220,000 IOPS Read
  • Up to 170,000 IOPS Write

As for prices, the WD drives which should be available very soon will cost $120 (250GB), $230 (500gb), $450 (1TB) with SanDisk prices similar or identical (see WD prices on Amazon here).

We are currently testing several WD and SanDisk SSDs and we are hoping to look into these new ultra-fast NVMes ourselves as well later on this year.

If you don’t want to miss any new photography related product be sure to check out our product photography section on our photo gear channel. You can also check out more storage-related news and reviews here on LensVid – here.

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