Sequential Read Performance

Our first test of sequential read performance uses short bursts of 128MB, issued as 128kB operations with no queuing. The test averages performance across eight bursts for a total of 1GB of data transferred from a drive containing 16GB of data. Between each burst the drive is given enough idle time to keep the overall duty cycle at 20%.

Burst 128kB Sequential Read (Queue Depth 1)

The queue depth 1 burst sequential read performance of the WD Black SN750 is faster than its predecessor, but there's still a lot of room for improvement relative to the fastest TLC SSDs and even the Corsair MP510 that relies on the same BiCS3 NAND as the SN750.

Our test of sustained sequential reads uses queue depths from 1 to 32, with the performance and power scores computed as the average of QD1, QD2 and QD4. Each queue depth is tested for up to one minute or 32GB transferred, from a drive containing 64GB of data. This test is run twice: once with the drive prepared by sequentially writing the test data, and again after the random write test has mixed things up, causing fragmentation inside the SSD that isn't visible to the OS. These two scores represent the two extremes of how the drive would perform under real-world usage, where wear leveling and modifications to some existing data will create some internal fragmentation that degrades performance, but usually not to the extent shown here.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Read

The performance of the WD Black SN750 on the longer sequential read test is a bit better than the previous model and more in line with other drives that use the same NAND, but still much slower than the top NVMe drives on this test. The performance when reading data that was not written to the drive sequentially has regressed slightly but is still decent for this class of drive.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Read (Power Efficiency)
Power Efficiency in MB/s/W Average Power in W

Despite relatively low performance, the SN750 still manages to be tied for second place in the power efficiency ranking, scoring about 13% lower than the Toshiba XG6.

The WD Black SN750 suffers during the early stages of the sequential read test and doesn't hit its full read speed until the queue depth reaches about 16. The performance profile is very similar to last year's model save for a significant improvement at QD1. Several other drives also require fairly high queue depths to reach full speed, but most of the relevant competition has better low-QD performance than the WD Black.

Even though the WD Black starts off slow, it still is fairly power efficient throughout the sequential read test and there are only few drives that offer better performance per Watt at any speed.

Sequential Write Performance

Our test of sequential write burst performance is structured identically to the sequential read burst performance test save for the direction of the data transfer. Each burst writes 128MB as 128kB operations issued at QD1, for a total of 1GB of data written to a drive containing 16GB of data.

Burst 128kB Sequential Write (Queue Depth 1)

As with sequential reads, the QD1 burst sequential write performance of the WD Black SN750 is significantly improved over the previous model, and this time it gets relatively close to the top tier of drives.

Our test of sustained sequential writes is structured identically to our sustained sequential read test, save for the direction of the data transfers. Queue depths range from 1 to 32 and each queue depth is tested for up to one minute or 32GB, followed by up to one minute of idle time for the drive to cool off and perform garbage collection. The test is confined to a 64GB span of the drive.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Write

The SN750 also improves slightly on the longer sequential write test that adds in some higher queue depths, bringing it up to the level of the Corsair MP510 but still a bit behind the Toshiba XG6 and well behind the fastest TLC-based competition.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Write (Power Efficiency)
Power Efficiency in MB/s/W Average Power in W

The SN750 can't claim another efficiency win due to its performance that is merely average for this product segment, but the efficiency score is still pretty good.

The SN750's sequential write performance increases slightly from QD1 to QD2 and remains steady for the rest of the test. The top-performing SM2262EN sample doesn't hit full speed until QD4, at which point it is faster than the SN750 by almost 1GB/s.

Among all the drives that have run through this test, the performance and power consumption of the SN750 both appear fairly middle of the road by NVMe standards; there are some drives that save almost 1W at the same speed, and a few that are far faster at similar power levels.

Random Performance Mixed Read/Write Performance
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  • Ryan Smith - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    "Has Anandtech staff ever explained why the promised review never materialized?"

    Honestly, we're busy and despite our best efforts, sometimes bite off more than we can chew. Especially as we have imperfect vision about what products may show up on our doorsteps tomorrow.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, January 21, 2019 - link

    It's weird to review minor products and not review something major like the GTX 960.

    It may be explainable without conspiracy but it's still weird, in terms of priorities.
    Reply
  • Alistair - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Can't wait to read the SX8200 Pro review. I've bought a few, and I believe they are the best performing drives for the money right now. Excellent. I stopped buying Samsung after they started denying warranties in Canada (and they don't seem to want to fix that). Anyways the Samsung drives cost almost twice the SX8200 pro and perform exactly the same pretty much. Maybe the SX8200 Pro is even faster than the 970 EVO honestly. Reply
  • gglaw - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    A few from decent reviewers are already up for this and the HP EX950 which are small upgrades over the incredibly well-rounded drives they replaced. The SX8200 (non-pro) and EX920 go on so many massive sales it is hard to beat them until the newer drives start dropping in price. The average home user would never know whether they had a 970 Pro, SX8200, SX8200 Pro, or EX950 running so major price differences would make the decision for me. After my initial experiences with the SX8200/EX920, these have been all I've stocked for close to a year. Made me almost regret my 970 Pro. They regularly go on sale for ~$75 for 500GB, and $135 for 1TB versions so my SSD adventures have become rather boring with no close 2nd place I would even consider buying.

    I'm likely going to get a SX8200 Pro just because I can't help myself with new versions of my favorite drives, but I'm already 99% positive I'll be in the same boat of not being able to tell any difference with the small upgrade. Then I'll have buyer's remorse again like the 970 Pro, knowing the 1TB version of the cheaper drive is barely more than the new 500GB one (SX8200 1TB $135, Pro 500GB $115).
    Reply
  • ajp_anton - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    What's wrong with WD's idle power consumption, and am I right assuming that that makes it unsuitable for laptops (mobile ones, not gaming)? Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    We test SSDs on a desktop, and that means we need to jump through some hoops to get PCIe power management enabled. I've never encountered a desktop motherboard that even has PCIe ASPM enabled by default, and when you are lucky enough to get a BIOS option to turn it on, you can't trust that to take care of everything. Even with the OS set to override the motherboard's settings, not all drives are able to enter their deepest sleep state on our testbed.

    I view this situation as being similar to DEVSLEEP for SATA drives. It's pretty likely that a laptop which was designed to use M.2 PCIe storage will have all the right firmware bits enabled to use the deepest power saving modes, but they're normally not used (or usable) on a desktop and I don't currently have equipment that can work around that.
    Reply
  • hnlog - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    WD Black NVMe has problem on Linux with default parameter.
    Is it fixed on the new model?
    https://community.wd.com/t/linux-support-for-wd-bl...

    I think WD should test before shipping the former model.
    Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Monday, January 21, 2019 - link

    Basically every NVMe SSD vendor has shipped something that turned out to have serious power management bugs, most often with APST and only on certain host systems. It's pretty clear that no vendors (SSD or motherboard) are thoroughly testing those features before shipping, and instead just make sure that it works with a small handful of Windows configurations. But even the Windows NVMe driver is a moving target and new builds have caused problems.

    It would probably help if the UNH-IOL NVMe Integrator's List testing included APST, but their current test plan only checks whether the drive can handle manually setting power states. And even if they were more thorough, only a few vendors put consumer drives through that certification.
    Reply
  • FXi - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - link

    I wonder when we'll see the upper end of sizes in consumer drives jump to 4TB. Durability seems to be ready. Perhaps consumer need isn't quite there. But if controllers can handle it and layers exist for it to be built to that size in the M2 format, you'd think that's where they would go next since prices have come out of the stratosphere. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - link

    Is it just me, or do these comparisons make the HP 920 look quite good? Not in terms of top performance, but in performance/price. Has anybody here had any experiences with 920 drives? Reply

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