WD Black SN770M 2TB SSD Review - Fastest of the Tiny Drives

Tiny SSDs like the WD Black SN770M are all the rage thanks to handheld gaming devices. We examine what we believe is the fastest of the tiny SSDs.

Published
Updated
Manufacturer: Western Digital (WDBDNH0020BBK-WRSN)
6 minutes & 25 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 93%
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The Bottom Line

It's easily the best 2230 SSD we've tested to date.

Pros

  • + 2230
  • + Best-In-Class performance
  • + Single sided

Cons

  • - None

Should you buy it?

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Introduction & Drive Details

Devices like ROG Ally and Steam Deck bring PC gaming right into your hands. These handheld devices are extremely popular because they deliver something avid PC gamers have always yearned for - real PC gaming on the go. Now, as any gaming enthusiast knows, internal storage capacity makes all the difference in the world. Ideally, we want as large of an onboard gaming library as is practically possible. External SSDs just don't cut it, as they are slower and make for an overall less portable gaming experience.

With this in mind, it's easy to understand why there has been a flood of single-sided 2230 SSDs coming into circulation. These tiniest of SSDs are the ultimate upgrade for your Steam Deck or similar handheld gaming device. With capacities of up to 2TB, it's an easy upgrade that significantly increases overall user experience.

Today's test subject will be the third such SSD we've reviewed to date. First, we reviewed Sabrent's 1TB Rocket 2230, and just recently TeamGroup's 2TB MP44S. We reference both of these SSDs as links to their respective reviews, as we don't keep 2230 SSDs on our running chart because they are a niche product. Hit the links if you want to compare them by the numbers.

The WD Black SN770M 2TB we have on the bench today is by far the fastest SSD of the three tiny drives we've tested to date. Our test subject doesn't land at the bottom of our performance hierarchy as is the case for those we've previously tested; in fact, this tiny drive dishes out more real-world performance than many 7,000 MB/s capable SSDs can deliver.

As shocking as this sounds, it really comes to us as no surprise, as we've previously tested the original WD Black SN770 2TB 2280 version and the SN770M features identical hardware just with a reduced footprint. Its physically larger predecessor did the very same thing, as it too easily outperformed a whole host of contemporary 7,000 MB/s capable SSDs.

We consider 2TB the current sweet spot capacity point for gaming duties, so if you want the best of the best for your Steam Deck or ROG Ally, the WD Black SN770M 2TB is indeed the ultimate upgrade.

Drive Details

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Jon's Test System Specifications

Intel Test System

AMD Test System

Because we at TweakTown like to be first at everything whenever we can, we will present our storage performance results for the test subject on both 14th Gen Intel and 7000 Series AMD platforms going forward for the foreseeable future. Because Intel still delivers the best real-world storage performance, (Look Here), our running chart will continue to be Intel-based until AMD can deliver better real-world storage performance than its rival.

Buy at Amazon

WD Black SN770M 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
Buy at Newegg
$209.10$214.00$209.70
$209.12$209.10$209.99
* Prices last scanned on 4/24/2024 at 1:23 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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We employ CDM as our standard measurement for both sequential throughput and Q1T1 random read. In terms of sequential throughput, we find our test subject fully capable of meeting and exceeding quoted up to specifications. Q1T1 random read speed is the lowest on our chart, but still exactly equal with the older 2280 model, which indicates that as it was then, so is it now, that in this rare case this synthetic number is not a good indicator of real-world performance.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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A reading score of just over 9,000 is again what its older full-sized sibling scores exactly. So, we are getting the same performance from our 2230 tiny version, which is quite different from what we've seen from the Phison tiny drives, where the 2230 models are significantly lower performing than their 2280 equivalents.

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We employ Anvil's random read test as our standard for measuring max random read IOPS. This test is very accurate as it at its core is Iometer skinned over. We test at QD128. 620K IOPS is lower than its factory spec of 650K, but the result is still 30% higher than we saw from the MP44S 2TB 2230 SSD.

ATTO

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ATTO gives us a clear picture of what transfer sizes a particular SSD favors in terms of QD4 sequential throughput. We chart 128K transfers. At a queue depth of four, the SN770M 2TB favors sequential transfers of 512K or larger when serving data to the host (reading) and 64K or larger when programming (writing) data.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage

Transfer Rates

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Our 100GB data transfer test is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix composed of more than 62K files. Write performance, random or sequential, is an infrequent operation, and as such, we do not consider it to be an important performance metric in the consumer space. An example being how many times is a game installed vs. how many times it's played. By far the highest transfer rate for any 2230 SSD we've tested to date. Impressive.

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Unlike programming (writing) data, serving data to the host (reading) is always an important performance metric as it relates to the consumer space. Best-in-class read transfer performance. Excellent.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing. In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSD's gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to most DIY consumers, especially for the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. Now we've reached the point where results start to matter as they are a direct reflection of user experience. A score of 3,791 here is again best-in-class.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them. The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

This test writes 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data, which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

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A score of 3,500 is at minimum 14% better than any competing 2230 SSD has to offer. Outstanding.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test.

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This is performance that matters as it is highly reflective of normal consumer data patterns. Here, we see the SN770M really come into its own. Not only does it easily outperform any 7,000 MB/s capable E18-controlled SSD ever made, but it is also, at minimum, 12% faster than anything else in its class.

Final Thoughts

Being the only 2230 SSD in our test pool, we might expect to see our tiny contender land at the bottom of our chart, where we've become accustomed to its direct competition landing. Not this drive, though. It's an absolute beast for what it is, even more powerful than any E18-controlled SSD ever made.

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We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage and 3DMark gaming storage tests. Currently, we consider a user experience score of 15K or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. Although not reflected on this chart, the SN770M is at least 13% more performant than any other 2230 SSD we've ever tested.

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It's the best of its kind by far. Editor's Choice.

Photo of product for sale

Performance

95%

Quality

90%

Features

90%

Value

95%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

It's easily the best 2230 SSD we've tested to date.

TweakTown award
93%

WD Black SN770M 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
Buy at Newegg
$209.10$214.00$209.70
$209.12$209.10$209.99
* Prices last scanned on 4/24/2024 at 1:23 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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