WD took another SSD designed for the OEM market and repurposed it for the aftermarket. As SSDs move closer to commodity products, we'll see this this practice continue until there are no longer any true enthusiast SSDs. For the most part, all of the flash fab companies have moved in this direction. Toshiba (and with it the remains of OCZ), Micron, Intel, WD (with SanDisk) and even Samsung currently sell SSDs first designed for the large system builders and relabel a few for retail shoppers.
We've seen some good drives come to market under this practice, but for the most part, these are retail products held back by system builder requirements. For instance, the system builders want single-sided designs, but more flash packages lead to better performance and lower prices (from less die per package). That's why we see WD, a company with the ability to pump out hundreds of thousands of drives, having a difficult time bringing a product to market to compete on performance and price with MyDigitalSSD that isn't concerned with meeting the system builder template.
The industry has made great strides in putting a boot on the throat of consumer SATA SSDs. For enthusiasts, we've already declared SATA dead with the release of Micron's P1, Intel's SSD 660p, and MyDigitalSSD's BPX Pro. These drives closed the price gap between mainstream SATA and mainstream NVMe. The new WD Blue SN500 NVMe just piles on. The Blue series from WD is the very definition of mainstream when it comes to computer storage, it's the benchmark. If you needed a sign for the end of 2.5" SATA as the industry standard, you have it now.
As an upgrade, the WD Blue SN500 NVMe isn't a giant leap in performance over most existing drives. Some could be argued that even some SATA SSDs can best this model in general use workloads due to the low random read performance. That said, for a new system build the Blue NVMe is a strong low-cost choice for shoppers. It's not the best, it's not perfect, but it is a name you know from a company you can trust.
The Bottom Line
A name you know from a brand you trust. The new WD Blue SN500 NVMe is a low-cost mainstream SSD with a strong warrnty and SATA killing performance.
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