WD Black 512GB PCIE NVMe SSD Review

We are influencers and brand affiliates.  This post contains affiliate links, most which go to Amazon and are Geo-Affiliate links to nearest Amazon store.

Disclaimer:  Western Digital provided us with the WD Black 512GB PCIE SSD to do a thorough and accurate review.  All opinions are 100% authors and authors alone.

If you have a PC, Mac or even a Tablet there is almost a 100% chance you have some sort of storage.  That storage can come in the form of a Hard Drive, Removable Storage (SD Card, microSD, memory Stick, DVD/BluRay or even floppy) and if you are lucky a Solid-State Disk, also known as SSD.  Moving over from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD for your OS drive is almost a night and day different which leads me to what I am reviewing today, the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD model number SSDWDS512G1X0C-00ENX0.

Unlike standard SSD’s that are 2.5 inches, or some that are actually 3.5 inches this does not connect to a SATA Port, actually this connects a PCI-e slot of sorts.  I will get into all of this a little later, but before I continue, let’s get to some of the specifications and features of this drive.

  • Capacity: 500GB
  • Interface: PCI Gen3
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Firmware: B35500WD
  • Controller: Marvell 88SS1093
  • Flash Memory Type: SanDisk 15nm TLC NAND
  • Sequential read: up to 2,050 MB/s
  • Sequential Write: up to 800MB/s
  • Random Read IOP’s: up to 170K
  • Random Write IOP’s: up to 134K
  • Meantime to Failure (MTTF): 1.75Million hours
  • Endurance Rating 160TBW (Terabytes written)
  • WD FIT Lab Certification for compatibility across a wide range of laptops and desktops
  • Free downloadable WD SSD Dashboard to monitor the status of the drive and Acronis True Image WD Edition backup utility
  • 5 Year limited warranty

OK, enough talk, let’s take a look at the unboxing.

Very simple packaging, almost nonexistent really but for something this tiny, the packaging was actually too much.  This minimalist packaging is always a good thing because it helps keep costs down, because you would end up paying for those frills.

This is the drive itself, simple tiny little thing, well relatively simple at least.

In this review, I will of course benchmark the drive, but I will also show you more detailed shots of the drive itself, how to install the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD, configure it within the BIOS and then finally how to install Windows 10 Professional onto it.  So let’s check out the drive in a little more detail.

Continue on to: WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD close up

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Here’s a closer shot of the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD.  First off, you will find the label that has the capacity of the drive, a very nice 512GB.  Then we have the model WD Black 512GB PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe SSD and below the  entire model number WDS512G1X0C-00ENX0 and the date of when it was manufactured.  Some bar codes for the model number, serial number, power specifications of 3.3VDC and 2.5A then again, the model number.

It looks like a chip is exposed, let’s take a close look.

We can see that this chip is a SanDisk chip, but is there anything additional under the label,… let’s find out.

OK, now the drive is fully exposed, let’s take a close look.

On the far right of the PCB, we find a SanDisk 05506 256G 15nm TLC NAND flash module, this is 256GB’s of the drives 512GB, where’d the rest go?  It is common for Hard Drive/SSD manufactures to buy chips from other manufactures but in this case, SanDisk is part of Western Digital.  SanDisk was acquired by Western Digital back in May 12th 2016 in an effort to strengthen their lead and presence in storage technology globally.  There are a few more chips here, so let’s move on to the left.

Here we find Marvell’s 88SS1093 controller.  The controller allows for enhancements in reliability, endurance, low power management design and NVMe 1.1 support.

In between the controller and the final chip, we find a Hynix memory module H5TC2G63GFR.  This is a 2Gb low power Double Data Rate III (DDR3L) Synchronous DRAM module suited for main memory applications that require large memory density, high bandwidth and low power operations at 1.35V.  On the far left of the PCB, we find the last module.

This is the 2nd piece of the missing 256Gig, it looks like another SanDisk 05506 256G 15nm TLC NAND flash module, we found it… we really found it.  256GB plus 256GB add up to 512GB, I love it when a plan comes together.  This drive utilizes 2 x 256GB modules to give you 1 large drive.

On the back.

On the back, we can find the rear traces that join everything together, ahhh technology.

Then we have the M.2 socket, the connector where you insert WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD M.2 card onto the board.  WD Black PCIe SSDs are certified by the WD F.I.T. lab for compatibility on a wide range of PC configurations.  Western Digital actually has a Compatibility Sheet that shows the devices it has been tested on.  My EVGA Z270 FTW K motherboard was not on this document, but chances are it would work (I wrote this article with this installed, so it worked ;) ).  You can check out this document here: Compatibility Sheet

This is one of the M.2 slots on the EVGA Z270 FTW K board.

Just a different angle, kind of like a run way, waiting for an M.2 SSD to land.  Well, this WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD will be landing here in a second, I will be showing you how to install it on the next page.  I will not only show you how to install in onto this motherboard, but I will show you to configure it in the BIOS and how to install Microsoft Windows 10 Professional on to it.  The bad thing about M.2 drives on this board, and it’s not Western Digital’s fault on this is that when you enable the M.2 feature in the BIOS, it disables 2 SATA ports, so I hope you don’t have them all filled up when you buy one.

Continue on to: How to install and configure the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD

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While it is relatively easy to install, if you have never installed one before, you may be a little nervous.  Well fear not, I will show you how to install the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD onto the EVGA Z270 FTW K motherboard.  You may not have this board, but the process should be similar across boards.

How to install the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD

Pretty easy right, well now that you have it installed, what do you do with it?  Well you can use it as a secondary storage to start your games up super quick or you could use it to install an OS onto and use it for blazing fast boot times and super-fast loading of programs installed on it.

In this video, I will show you how to install Windows 10 Professional onto it.  I go a little further and show you how to configure it within the BIOS so that you can get to install windows on to.

OK, now that we have it installed and windows installed on it, let’s check out some performance.

Continue on to: Benchmarking the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD

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So here we will check to see how this baby performs.  So that you can compare, here is my build list.


Now you have seen how it looks like and how to install it, but how does it perform?

In this section I will show you the speeds of the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD.  We will be checking out the performance using “ATTO”, CrystalMark’s “Crystal Disk Mark” and FutureMark’s “PCMark”.  We may receive the same readings for many of these tests since they basically read the same information, but this is to give you a general idea of the performance you can expect.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk benchmark measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes to and from the disk and in this particular test we are measuring under Overlapped I/O.  We can see here, the write speed actually surpassed its 800MB/s speeds coming in at a max of 817,692 under a 512KB test, which is 817MB/s.  Read speeds came in very slightly under the advertised speeds at 1,742,718 under 12MB.  Mind you the read/write speeds were not under identical transfer sizes but it is good information to get an idea of what you can expect.

Next up is CrystalDiskMark.


CrystalDiskMark performs the following tests:

  • Seq: Sequential Read/Write Test (Block Size = 1024KB)
    • Sequential write/read is a disk access pattern where large contiguous blocks of data are written or written to or from adjacent locations on the disk
  • 4K: Random Read/Write Test (Block Size = 4KB)
    • 4K Random Read/Write are disk access patterns where small blocks (4K) of data are read or written from random locations on the drive.
  • 4K Q32T1: Read/Write 4KB Test (Block Size = 128KB) multi Queues & Threads
  • Seq Q32T1: Sequential Read/Write (Block Size=128KB) with multi Queues & Threads

Here we are seeing improved sequential read speeds to ATTO, at 1,869 MB/s though slightly lower write speeds at 787.5 MB/s though still the write speeds are almost on par with the rated write speeds.  Still falling under its rated read speeds though.

So these are all just benchmarks that really don’t provide any real world metrics, the higher or lower the better right… numbers don’t always paint a picture.  To provide something a little more substantial, let’s check out PCMark 8.

PCMark 8 Storage Test 2.0

In FutureMarks PCMark 8, we can see the Storage test overall score was 5032, though I was not able to compare being that the Sapphire Pulse RX550 I am currently reviewing has not yet been entered into FutureMarks database.  Still though, we can break the score down.

The storage bandwidth was 359.62MB/s, it in itself of meaning less, unless we have something to compare it to, and we will in a bit.

I will get back with the comparison between this drive and the WD Blue shortly, but I will leave you with these scores for now.

Next up is another important test, Bootime. For this, we use BootRacer which tests how long it takes from start to finish booting into Windows, then how long it takes to reach a stable and idle desktop in Windows.


That is impressive, 7 seconds to get to windows and then in Windows 13 seconds to reach an idle state.  The idle state is also important to note, depends on the number of programs you have launching when windows start, for this test I only had “Radeon Settings” that gets installed when you install AMD drivers.

In total, it took 20.125 seconds to boot from the BIOS into a fully loaded Windows, that’s very nice.  Notice, there is no password timeout.  If you want to test this way to compare, click the Start button in Windows 10 and enter the following


And when in the “User Accounts” window, uncheck the box that reads “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.”.  When you uncheck it, Windows will prompt you to enter your current password to disable this.  Then click Apply and OK and you are off to the races.

Ok, now the fun and more meaningful part, the comparison.  On this next page, we will compare the 500 Gig WD Blue drive to the WD Black 512GB PCIe NVMe drive.  If you do check out the previous review for the WD Blue, you will notice the scores are different from what I posted here, but only slightly.  Check out the review here: CLICK ME

The review for the WD Blue was performed on a different chipset previously, so I had to redo all of the tests on this chipset.

Continue on to: Drive Comparison

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So that you have it for reference, here are the results of the 500 Gig WD Blue drive, I reviewed previously, you can click here to check out the review.  The drive by itself is a pretty decent drive, not the fastest, but comparatively on price, it is a great option.  Comparing it to an NVMe drive,… well that might be a different story.

I will not go into detail of the 500 Gig WD Blue drives results as I did in this review, but I will compare them.  Let’s start off with ATTO.

To keep a good comparison, I tried to pull the parts of the benchmark that had the best results for everything, and well,… the WD Blue 500GB shows that in fact it is not an NVMe drive, but we all knew that.  I stated that to show you that an NVMe drive brings so much more to the table in performance.

On 256KB read, the NVMe drive performed 68.03% better, more than double the performance.  On 256 Write, the NVMe had a performance increase of 34.54%.  512KB read, again the NVMe trumps the Blue by 68.20% and on 512KB again it performs higher at 34.47%.

Kicking it up a notch, we come to 48MB.  At 48MB Read, the performance again is in favor of the NVMe drive, performing 68.88% better.  At write, the NVMe comes ahead by 31.78%.

At 64MB read, the NVMe towers above the Blue by 68.57% and on write by 30.16%.  It kind of feels like when a 6th grader picks a play fight with a kindergartner.  The 6th grader is of course much taller and stronger and does not want to fight the kindergartner and pulls out his hand and puts it over the smaller foes head while the little guy swings with all his might, not landing a single punch, but he did try hard.  The comparison is very similar.

The NVMe drive is a better class drive and has so much more performance, but the WD Blue SSD keeps pushing ahead no matter what.

OK, enough with all of the bullying, we do not tolerate it but let’s move on to CrystalDiskMark performance differences.

Again, pasting the WD Blue results here for reference.

The results are clear as day here, everything is in favor of the Black NVMe drive.  On Sequential Q32T1 Read we find a 69.94 % increase in performance over the WD Blue, that’s more than double the performance, that is incredible.

In Sequential Write however things slow down a bit, though still higher than the Blue drive, it is only a 32% increase.  On 4K Q32T1 Read, there is a healthy 43.18% improvement in performance on the Black versus the Blue and on Write a smaller yet valiant 38.49% increase.

Sequential read, we can see the NVMe Black drive continues to power on at a more than double the performance of the Blue at 53.15%.  The write again lags a little behind but still above at 35.35%.

And finally, the 4K read again is in favor of the NVMe Black drive coming in at a tiny 15.73% and the write, trying to pick up the slack comes in again ahead on the black at 11.13%.

The NVMe Black, once again completely wins the board here in performance, though you can see in a few spots where the WD Blue was the little train that could and tried its hardest and came very close to equaling the performance of the black.

Now let’s get into a little more real world performance with PCMark 8.

Like you have seen previously, for reference, here are the results from a run on the WD Blue 500GB.

And now let’s compare.

This one is a little harder to spot the differences, but I will point them out.  On the overall score, on the NVMe Black drive we receive a score of 5032, and on the Blue we get a 4978, so the Black drive performed only 1.073% better.  Digging into the scores above we can see why.

On the Storage Bandwidth test, another basic overall score, the Black outperformed the Blue by a decent 25.48%.

For gaming, The World of Warcraft test showed that it loaded 0.66866 second/s faster on the Black drive versus the Blue drive.  On Battlefield 3 loaded 1.13334 seconds faster on the Black drive again.  While 1.1 loading on a game, is not a huge improvement, it does help but I am a bit surprised.  Let’s see the improvement on the Adobe Suite.

For Creativity, The Adobe Photoshop light 2.0 loads 3.21233 seconds faster on the NVMe Black, so there is a bigger benefit it seems for production.  On Adobe Photoshop heavy 2.0, we see that the NVMe Black loads 3.57266 seconds faster than the Blue drive, for professional’s time is money, so it’s looking good.  For Adobe InDesign 2.0, while there is an improvement we only see it loading 1.189 seconds faster.  Adobe After Effects 2.0 actually loads 0.54967 seconds slower on the NVMe Black, faster in favor of the Blue drive.  Lastly, on the Creative Suite we have Adobe Illustrator, here there is an increase on the NVMe Black drive of a measly 0.53466, it’s not much but there is an improvement.

On to the Productivity with Microsoft Office.  One Word, we can see the NVMe Black drive actually loads 0.11334 seconds slower than the Blue drive.  Just as I was losing hope, the Black comes back on loading Excel, 0.13333 seconds faster and in PowerPoint 0.161 faster than the Blue.

On PCMark, while still synthetic, is a little more realistic in its approach using applications we would use daily to show how the performance is from drive to drive.  PCMark does show there is a performance improvement, but maybe I am thinking the improvement should be more, what do you think?

Another indication of performance is boot time, so let’s do some comparison with BootRacer.


Here are the results from the WD Blue for comparison.

The Blue itself had decent results, but how do they compare to the Black NVMe drive?

Impressive, the Black NVMe drive performed best across the board.  On boot, from POST to Windows, the Black drive performs 46.15% faster than the Blue drive coming in at 7 seconds over the Blue Drives 13 seconds.  From boot, to an idle state in Windows, the Black drive had a 13.33% improvement from the Blue drives 15 seconds to the Black drives 15 seconds.  In total time, the Black booted up 30.19% faster than the Blue drive from 28.828 seconds on the Blue to the Blacks 20.125 seconds.

Boot times for all are incredibly important as no one wants to watch the Windows boot screen and no one wants to wait to be able to start using Windows once in windows with a ton of lag.

Aside from performance, Western Digital goes a little further from providing a drive alone, they include WD SSD Dash Board and Acronis True Image.  They do not come in the package, you need to download them separately.  Let’s check out both real quick though.

The WD SSD Dash board provides you with many tools and performance monitoring links to let you know how they are running.  They omitted something from this one that was in present in the version for the Blue drive and we will discuss that in a bit.

Status: The “Status” tab lets you know the capacity of your drive, how the volume looks like, remaining life, temperature, Interface Speed, Model #, Firmware version, Drive health, Notifications and security if being used.

Performance: Let’s you know in real time how the drive is performing and also gives you a shortcut to the Windows Performance Monitor.  One big this missing is the Optimization, “TRIM” support section that was in the Blue drive.  Since I have both connected, if I switch to the Blue drive, the feature is there

This feature allows you to enable TRIM on the drive, then also schedule the TRIM task.  You can check TRIM though within Windows by right clicking on the start button in Windows 10, and clicking on the “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” icon, or if you are not in the Creative Edition of Windows 10, you would click “Command Prompt (Admin)”

Within the PowerShell or Command Prompt, enter the following line of text and press enter

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

If you receive a “NTFS DisableDeleteNotify = 0” message then everythign is working and you are running with TRIM supoprt enabled.

If you receive a 1, then you need to enable TRIM, and you can do that by entering the following in PowerShell or the Command Prompt

Fsutil behavior set DeisableDeleteNotify 0

That will enable TRIM for you.

The TRIM feature also had a so that you can “Run TRIM Now” allowing you to free up space used by files that have been deleted.  You can run Defrag in Windows 10 which performs TRIM as well.

Not sure why that option is not there though, I will find out and update the review.

Tools:  Under the “Tools” tab and “Firmware Update” allows you to check to see if there is a newer verison of the firmware or update if you have received a firmware from an alternative source.

S.M.A.R.T:  The S.M.A.R.T tab allows you see diagnostic information of the drive, in case you feel something might be going on.  It not only lets you see the diagnostic information, but allows you to run diagnostic tests.

Drive Details: Allows you to see the details of your drive, including Serial Number, Model number, Firmware and more.

System Details: Allows you to see overall system information.

Settings: The Settings tab provides some software settings for the application.  Application Update allows you to check for updates to the WD SSD Dashboard.

The Options tab, allows you to start the SSD Dashboard with Windows start up and then also to start it minimized once windows is loaded then you can also select your language.

The Email Alerts subtab, allows you to send alerts to your email if something occurs, if you like leaving your PC on all the time.  A pretty handy feature.

Help:  Provides various ways of getting help with your drive and or dashboard, be it the support page, user forums, user manual, Ask a Question or register your product.

If you do contact support, you will need to provide a report on the drive, the “Generate Report” sub tab can help you there by saving a report file.

About SSD Dashboard, well,… its pretty useless, but it needs to be there I guess.  Provides legal disclaimers, third party notices and the privacy statement.

On the top of the program, you will find a “Select drive” drop down where if you have various WD drives you can change to point to the other drive and run similar scans and feature sets.

The program hides in your notification area if you want it to

If you hover your mouse over it, it will let you know your selected drivers health and let you know if you have any notifications.

Also, on the right hand corner, you have shortcuts to “Windows Disk Management”, “Windows System Properties” and “Windows Device Manager”.

That’s about it for WD SSD Dashboard, but you can also download “Acronis True Image WD Edition” which is free since you own this drive.

On the “Backup” tab, you can backup your entire PC and then select the destination.

The “Archive”, “Dashboard” and “Sync” tabs will get you to this screen.

And if you click the “Get Now” tab, you will be greeted with this screen where you can buy the full version for only $30 dollars, I don’t really backup my machine, but if you do this would be great for you.

The “Tools” tab provides you with some nice features.  “Clone Disk, allows you to clone your Operating system disk to another disk, or any disk to any disk, this feature is included in this build.

The “Add New Disk” is pretty useful.  It lets you partition your new drive to use it in Windows

The “Rescue Media Builder” allows you to create a bootable rescue disk and WinPE fucntions for better compatibility.  While the Acronis bootable rescue media function is enabled in this version, the WinPE based media is not.

Acronis Universal Restore that allows you to recover your media to a different type of machine (different HAL) with a different type of CPU (AMD vs Intel) but this feature is not available in this free version.

More Tools throws you out to File Explorer where you can fine shortcuts to all of the tools.

Help, well helps you use all of this software if you don’t know how to.

Very simple software and very useful in my opinion, I would not use the backup portion of it but the clone feature is nice for me at least.

Well that is about it, I hope I covered everything you can think of here, I covered everything I could think of.  What’s left now?  Well, it’s time to see what I thought about this drive and of course, if you can tell me what you thought, that would be awesome.  Click on over to the last page.

Continue on to: Final Thoughts and Conclusions

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This is Western Digital’s first foray into the PCIe SSD NVMe based segment, and I think they did a great job.  That was not the conclusion of the review though, while they did do a great job, the drive is not perfect, and here’s why I feel that way, the goods and the bads.


  • No drivers needed
  • Affordable Drive
  • Very fast
  • Software allows you to search for firmware updates with one click
  • Includes Acronis True Image, even though it’s not the full version, it has nice features
  • Nice warranty, 5 years


  • Does not meet its rated speed specs.
    • Write Speeds are lacking
    • Read Speeds on par

A bunch of pros and one con, it is a pretty big one but being that the price is much lower than drives at its rate/not rated speeds and capacity, its amazingly affordable comparatively.  This is the first NVMe PCIe SSD I have reviewed/used and I am impressed, once I get more in I will compare these speeds and give you a much better way to compare them.  Compare it with your own drives and let me know what you think?

One other thing I do have to mention, you may purchase this drive and actually get better performance from it, it all depends on your setup.  There have been no tweaks made on this drive, these are all with default windows settings, on a fresh install of Windows 10 Professional.

So with that, the price counter acting the slightly reduced speeds, I wanted to give it a 5 because of the price and performance, but if you say it should perform one way, it should perform that way.  I give this drive a 4.5 out of 5.  If this drive was more expensive, I would have given it a 4 out of 5.

For a limited time, if you order this drive from their site, you get 25% off (5 star with that coupon), but only when you order from their site, you can check it out here: https://goo.gl/9eapRg and use Coupon Code SPEEDBOOST

Disclaimer:  Western Digital provided us with the WD Black 512GB PCIE SSD to do a thorough and accurate review.  All opinions are 100% authors and authors alone.

Back to: Intro

We are influencers and brand affiliates.  This post contains affiliate links, most which go to Amazon and are Geo-Affiliate links to nearest Amazon store.