- Moderately priced for a PCIe 4.0 drive
- Matched its rated sequential read and write speeds in our testing
- Strong performance in overall storage and some trace tests
- No 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption
- No heat dissipation hardware included
WD Black SN770 NVMe SSD, the latest PCI Express 4.0 internal solid-state drive from Western Digital, with a strong performance at a low cost (we tested 129.99 for a 1TB drive, models starting at $ 59.99 for 256GB). This DRAM-less M.2 SSD has set a new high on our testing storage benchmarks and has performed well in tasks such as copying files while loading programs. While it rarely falls for free on our budget internal SSD champ, ADATA XPG Atom 50, WD Black SN770, it deserves consideration by gamers involved in cash.
A cheap but capable M.2 player
The SN770 is a PCIe 4×4 drive that makes up every M.2 Type-2280 (80mm long) “gum stick” printed circuit board. It employs the NVMe 1.4 protocol on PCIe 4.0 buses. The drive combines 112-level TLC NAND flash with a native WD controller.
The controller avoids the DRAM cache used by some expensive drives, instead of listing your PC’s main memory as a host memory buffer (HMB). This makes the SN770 one of the most recent M.2 drives for deploying DRAM-less architecture; Others include XPG Atom 50 and WD Blue SN570. Although dropping DRAM helps reduce the cost of a drive, it can potentially ruin performance, but there was very little evidence of this when we benchmarked the SN770 using our testbed system.
Power-efficient drives (according to WD, it consumes 20% less power than the previous WD Black SN750) rely on WD’s heat management technology, it lacks a heat sink or spreader. And your PC’s motherboard and other thermal hardware. This should be fine for general use, although we prefer at least an optional snap-on heat spreader for extra protection, which can only add a little to the thickness of an SSD.
Available in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB, the SN770 offers good quality on a PCI Express 4.0 solid-state drive. Our tested 1TB drive costs 13 cents per gigabyte, which is just one penny per 1GB more than the 1TB XPG Atom 50, the only capacity currently available (although ADATA says a 2TB version later this year). The 2TB WD Black SN770 based on the 1TB model saves no cost (per gigabyte), also coming at 13 cents per gig.
WD Black SN770 SSD Configuration
WD BLACK SN770 NVME SSD SPECS
|Internal or External||Internal|
|Interface (Computer Side)||M.2 Type-2280|
|Internal Form Factor||M.2 Type-2280|
|Capacity (Tested)||1 TB|
|Controller Maker||Western Digital|
|Bus Type||PCI Express 4.0|
|Rated Maximum Sequential Read||5150 MBps|
|Rated Maximum Sequential Write||4900 MBps|
|Terabytes Written (TBW) Rating||600 TBW|
|Warranty Length||5 years|
The stability rating of the WD Black SN770, as measured in terabytes (TBW), is typical for TLC-based drives. The WD Black SN850, Crucial P5 Plus, and Samsung SSD 980 Pro match 600TBW for 1TB models and 1,200TBW for 2TB, while Kingston KC3000 has slightly higher ratings of 1TB and 800TBW for 1TB01TB. The XPG Atom 50 is priced at 650 TBW for 1TB.
Some PCIe 4.0 drives offer much higher stability ratings – 1,800TBW for the Corsair Force Series MP600 and Silicon Power US70 1TB, and 3,600TBW for the 2TB. In contrast, QLC-based drives, such as the Mushkin Delta and Sobrant Rocket Q4, are rated less durable, rated at 200TBW for 1TB, 400TBW for 2TB, and 800TBW for 4TB.
The “terabyte written” spec is a manufacturer’s estimate of how much data can be written to a drive before some cells fail and exit the service. (Including the TBW scale 1: 1 power as the drive quoted here.) WD’s warranty extends to the SN770 for five years or until you hit the data-rated TBW figure, which comes first.
The SN770’s gradual speed rating of 5,150MBps read and 4,900MBps right puts it in the middle range of the PCI Express 4.0 internal SSD. Comparatively rated speed drives include the ADATA XPG Atom 50 (5,000MBps Read / 4,500MBps Right), Corsair MP600 (4,950MBps Read / 4,250MBps Right), and MSI Spatium M470 (5,000MBps Read / 4,40MBps).
Testing WD SN770: Great for workday tasks
We put the WD Black SN770 through 10 storage and our internal solid-state drive benchmark with Crystal DiskMark 6.0. Sequential speed tests of crystal disks provide a traditional measure of drive throughput, mimicking the best-case, straight-line transfer of large files.
In the Crystal Discmark test, the SN770 slightly surpassed its 5,150MBps read and 4,900MBps read rating. Its 4K read and write scores have effectively tied the best scores on our comparable drives.
The WD Black SN770 NVMe SSD does not have the searing throughput of some Blue-chip PCI Express 4.0 drives, but it survives our test with its rated speed and comes at a lower price than most. It has worked excellent on our benchmarks in general, set the speed in PCMark 10 comprehensive testing, and surpassed many drives with the fastest rated speed in trace testing.
The choice of SN770 editors goes well with the award-winning ADATA XPG Atom 50. Its PCMark 10 overall score was good, although Atom beat it in terms of loading Windows and launching Adobe programs and games. Both drives are budget-friendly, though the SN770 sells at a slightly higher price. TSN60HOS Admirable Dashboard Drive Management Software, Boot T Atom 50 Lux Decorate 256-bit Today Encryption. It also lacks the hardware to dissipate heat, be it a heat sink or a less expensive heat spreader. But while the Atom 50 remains our top pick among budget internal SSDs, the SN770 is a highly capable option that runs right on its heels. We will both be happy.