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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Not as fast as high-performance SSDs
The WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD is a great option whether you’re looking to build a new PC or expand your storage capacity. It’s quite fast and offers remarkable value for money.
Western Digital provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.
As important as processors and graphics cards are, data storage is often overlooked in the quest for greater computer performance. However, it might surprise you to learn that your hard drive or even relatively slow SSD could be a major bottleneck in your gaming rig. If this is the case, then the WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD makes for a compelling and affordable upgrade to rejuvenate your PC.
Aesthetic appeal is of minimal, potentially nonexistent importance when selecting internal computer components, but it’s still worth a mention. If you’re installing this drive in a spare slot in your laptop, or in a PC tower, then how a drive looks is meaningless.
While it might not look great, the drive feels solid and reassuringly robust.
However, many people have gaming PCs with glass sides and take pride in the internal appearance of their machines. In this case, aesthetics can be a major factor, and this is one of the few areas where the SN500 is less than excellent.
The drive is very utilitarian in appearance, and the blue color is likely to clash with the color schemes of many gaming PCs. It sticks out like a sore thumb when paired with black or grey components, though perhaps it would go well with a rig kitted out with a blue RGB lighting scheme.
It’s worth noting that while the looks might not be great, the drive feels solid and reassuringly robust. Also, an important factor to consider is the drive’s slim profile M.2 2280 form factor, which is ideal for small PCs and laptops where space is at a premium.
If you’re familiar with computer building and upgrading, there’s nothing unexpected in the installation process for the SN500. Even for novices, this isn’t a difficult task. You just need to plug it into the M.2. slot in your desktop or laptop PC and fix it in place, then power on your device and format the drive.
The SN500 performs as you’d expect from its specifications, offering 1700MBps read and 1450MBps write speeds. Read-dependent tasks are blazing fast, while write-dependent tasks aren’t quite so snappy. In general, though, this drive is quick, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it as primary storage for a new gaming rig or workstation build. I had no trouble playing games stored on it, and photo and video files stored on it loaded quickly in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Read-dependent tasks are blazing fast, while write-dependent tasks aren’t quite so snappy.
A key advantage of the SN500 is its affordable price tag. The base 250GB model is just $55, while the 500GB model I tested is even more attractive at $70. At $130, it offers plenty of capacity for the money, and even the $250 2TB model offers a ton of high-speed storage for not too much money.
A key advantage of the SN500 is its affordable price tag.
At about twice the price of the Blue SN500 for a comparable quantity of storage, the Black SN850 offers many times the performance. With the Black model, you get a crazy 7000MBps read speed and 5300MBps write speed, and its cool aesthetic will blend a lot better inside of a decked-out gaming rig. However, Blue SN500 can shave a lot of money off of a budget gaming build, or offer a cheap but meaningful upgre to an existing PC.
An SSD that offers plenty of power at a very attractive price point.
Though it’s not the most powerful SSD on the market, the WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD is a very competent option, particularly if you’re on a tight budget. There’s a lot to love about this pint-sized powerhouse, and its low price makes it a highly compelling option.
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