Western Digital SSDs are back in black

Solid-state drives employing the cutting-edge NVMe protocol don't come cheap. People who can make use of the performance increase over traditional SATA SSDs are starting to get more budget-friendly options, however. Western Digital is putting its WD Black PCIe SSD out into the market, and its aggressive pricing might make more than a few shoppers look twice.

The Black PCIe is an M.2 NVMe drive available in 256GB and 512GB capacities. Like similar SSDs, it's a single-sided M.2 2280 gumstick that's equally at home in thin laptops and full-sized desktops.

The 512GB WD Black is capable of sequential read speeds up to 2,050 MB/s and sequential writes up to 800 MB/s. In random reads, the drive can hit 170K IOPS, and 134K IOPS doing random writes. The 256GB WD Black trails the larger capacity model by a little. It can reach sequential reads speeds up to 2,050 MB/s and do sequential writes at up to 700 MB/s. In random reads, the smaller model is capable of 170K IOPS, and can go up to 130K IOPS doing random writes.

While those numbers aren't quite as high as those advertised for Samsung's 960 EVO M.2 SSD, Western Digital is pricing these drives lower than Samsung's direct competitor. The 256GB model will sell for $110, and the 512GB model should set you back $200. The WD Black drives are available for preorder now through Western Digital's website. The company expects to ship preorders on Valentine's Day, and backs the drives with a five-year warranty.

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