Overall and Final Verdict
The new WD Blue drive being an NVMe is exciting because it finally means that SATA based drives are going away and really drives like this also mean that the 2.5-inch format is on the way out as well when it comes to SSDs. I came into this review knowing that this was a price point drive so it wasn’t going to be the fastest drive but when ignoring the ultra-fast drives like the WD Blacks it did hold its own really well against drives like the Crucial P1 and the XPG SX6000 that can still be found for cheap. The P1’s are faster in sequential read and write speeds but when it came to IOPS and high queue depth tasks the WD Blue SN500 pulled ahead. This was especially true when it came to write performance, this drive did very well there.
Overall longevity is always a concern at this price point like with the Crucial P1 with its QLC NAND. WD went with 64 layer 3D TLC NAND in-house from SanDisk so the overall longevity will be a little better. The SN500 is rated at 150 TB for writes in the 250GB model that I tested today which isn’t all that amazing but better than the P1 which is 100 TB rated for the 500GB drive (it goes up to 200 TB for the 1TB drive and 400 TB for the 2TB drive, however). The Blue SN500 steps up to 200 TB write endurance rated for the 500GB model and that alone would make the larger capacity model worth it. Both capacities do have a 5-year warranty as well. Speaking of capacity, while the 250GB and 500GB capacities hit what a lot of people will want, a 1TB option would be nice, when building a gaming system and trying to only have one drive that is about as low as I like to go. Games take up a LOT of space.
I would have preferred the WD Blue SN500 not be a DRAM-Less design but that does help keep the costs down for WD, especially considering they don’t make DRAM in house like some of the other SSD brands. Another thing that surprised me with the SN500 was how the drive looked. Typically a budget drive is basic and might even have your old school green PCB. With how little space the actual drive took up on the drive it left them room to show off the blue branding directly on the PCB in addition to the PCB being blue as well. Drives with a high-end heatsink for example obviously look better, but for a budget drive, this isn’t going to look bad in your build if it is visible at all.
So Western Digital seemed to do a lot right with the WD Blue SN500, but none of that matters if the pricing is wrong. With the 250GB model listed for $54.99 is does fall right in the middle of the budget NVMe SSDs, of those there are a lot of no-name brands. Most though like the Kingston A1000 and the Corsair Force MP300 that are listed for less are also rated for less performance as well making the Blue SN500 still the better buy for just a few dollars more. At the 500GB capacity, things get a little more interesting. The SN500 runs $77.99 at that price point and the Crucial P1 is available in this capacity for just under $70. The P1 does have better sequential performance, but the SN500 was faster in all of the other tests. The main thing that sets the SN500 ahead at this price point, however, is the better write endurance rating. In fact, if it were me I would be looking at the SN500 at the 500GB capacity over the 250GB drive for the same reason with getting twice the capacity as just a bonus.
Live Pricing: HERE