WD upgraded its Black SSD with a heatsink to prevent throttling in games

Western Digital today announced a fast NVMe, competitor for the best SSDs for gaming crown, that is thicker than most, which is because it's outfitted with a chunky (and optional) aluminum heatsink designed by EKWB. The company is hoping this will appeal to gamers who worry that throttling might rear its unwanted head. It even added a new "Gaming Mode" to its accompanying SSD Dashboard software, in case there was any mistaking the target audience.

Like the previous version of this SSD, the new WD Black SN750 pairs 3D NAND flash memory with Western Digital's own controller. According to our friends at Anandtech, the only real differences are that WD tweaked its firmware for this round, and added a 2TB model to the mix. It's also being offered in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities, though the optional heatsink is not available on the 250GB variant.

Rated performance varies by model, with sequential reads topping out at up to 3,470MB/s (500GB and 1TB models) and sequential writes hitting 3,000MB/s (1TB model). Here's how they break down by capacity:

  • Black SN750 2TB: 3,400MB/s seq. read, 2,900MB/s seq. write
  • Black SN750 1TB: 3,470MB/s seq. read, 3,000MB/s seq. write
  • Black SN750 500GB: 3,470MB/s seq. read, 2,600MB/s seq. write
  • Black SN750 250GB: 3,100MB/s seq. read, 1,600MB/s seq. write 

And here's a breakdown of the 4K random read and write performance ratings:

  • Black SN750 2TB: 480,000 IOPS read, 550,000 IOPS write
  • Black SN750 1TB: 515,000 IOPS read, 560,000 IOPS write
  • Black SN750 500GB: 420,000 IOPS read, 380,000 IOPS write
  • Black SN750 250GB: 220,000 IOPS read, 180,000 IOPS write

Other specs vary as well, such as write endurance, which ranges from 200TB of drive writes per day (DWPD) on the 250GB model to 1,200TB DWPD on the 2TB model.

Overall, the Black SN750 series is slightly faster than the previous generation, at least on paper. With a bump in write performance, the specs are more in line with Samsung's 970 Pro, whereas last year's models were closer in rated speeds to the 960 Pro series.

Will gamers really benefit from having a heatsink on these drives? We plan to test this for ourselves, though according to WD, its new drives can sustain faster speeds for longer periods of time, compared to naked SSDs.

We'll also be testing the Gaming Mode option in WD's software. Enabling this setting turns off the low power mode to "keep the SSD running at peak levels for longer sustained execution."

WD has set the MSRPs at $79.99 for 250GB, $129.99 for 500GB, $249.99 for 1TB, and $499.99 for 2TB. Those price points are for the naked drive only—WD will announce pricing for the heatsink bundle closer to the retail launch in spring.