Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD Linux Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Storage on 30 November 2020 at 11:36 AM EST.

This month Western Digital introduced the WD_BLACK SN850 as the latest PCI Express 4.0 solid-state drive hitting the market. The WD_BLACK SN850 is a surprisingly strong performer if looking to upgrade to PCIe 4.0 solid-state storage, competing with the fastest of the consumer drives currently available.

The WD_BLACK SN850 makes use of Western Digital's G2 controller and 96L TLC NAND flash memory. The 1TB drive being tested today is rated for 7,000 MB/s sequential reads and 5,300 MB/s sequential writes and 1 million IOPS for random reads and 720k IOPS for random writes.

At least on paper the WD_BLACK SN850 is a very strong offering for gamers and enthusiasts. The 1TB model currently retails for about $229 USD and is backed by Western Digital with a five year warranty and is rated for an endurance level of 600 TBW.

For those curious about the performance of the WD_BLACK SN850 1TB on Linux, I benchmarked it against the 1TB Samsung 980 PRO, 1TB Sabrent Rocket 4.0, 1TB Corsair Force MP600, and a 280GB Intel Optane 900p SSD. The 1TB drives are all current-generation PCIe 4.0 NVMe solid-state drives. Also for reference is a lower-end Crucial P2 500GB NVMe SSD.

WD_BLACK SN850 Linux NVMe SSD Benchmarks

Each NVMe solid-state drive was freshly formatted and using an EXT4 file-system with the default mount options. Ubuntu 20.10 was running on the Ryzen 7 5800X system with the Linux 5.8 kernel. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a wide range of storage benchmarks were carried out.

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