Introduction & Drive Details
When something from Western Digital is designated WD Black, it tells you the product is held to WD's highest performance standards. On our bench today, we have the newest member of the WD Black family, the WD Black D30. This is a portable SSD capable of delivering up to 900 MB/s sequential throughput.
The device has at its heart a WD SN550E NVMe SSD. The SN550E is a DRAMless PCIE Gen 4 SSD with a four-channel NVMe controller in front of a BiCS 4 TLC flash array. The drive is capable of over 2000 MB/s throughput but is, of course, throughput limited by its USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface to roughly 900 MB/s, again depending upon host device capabilities.
The WD Black D30 portable SSD is available in two options. One is a standard PC portable device, and the other is an XBOX-themed version of the same. The XBOX version is what we have to show you today. It is differentiated from the standard PC version by its color scheme and its Included 1-month membership of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, with access to 100+ games on consoles and PC, plus online console multiplayer.
The WD Black D30 1TB XBOX edition is retailing for around $170 or $20 more than the 1TB PC variant, meaning that that "free pass" is actually costing you $20.
As you can see from the box, it comes with a stand to hold it vertical if that is your desire. The enclosure itself is all plastic and features a single USB Type-C port. Included with the D30 is a USB Type-C to A cable.
Jon's Test System Specifications - Intel NUC 11 Pro
Note: For USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 SSDs, we test on our Z590 system set to match our Intel NUC 11 specs (4.8GHz, 8-threads, DDR4 3200, balanced power plan).
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic
Our CDM testing confirms WD's stated throughput of up to 900 MB/s. Sequential writes are fairly stout, as is QD1 random performance. Not bad at all, considering this is USB Type-A limited.
The D30 1TB is serving up exactly what we are looking for when we run ATTO. Full speed at 128KB transfers and a good consistent pattern that doesn't show any hiccups along the way. Excellent.
Blackmagic shows the D30 to be a capable device up to 2160p 30 fps if you should choose to employ it for video production duties.
Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 & Transfer Rates
PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark
PCMark 10 provides real-world type performance data that closely simulates actual user experience. The D30 delivers as expected for a DRAMless solution.
We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and is composed of more than 62K files. This test exposes the weakness of DRAMless SSDs when dealing with a huge chunk of data. The P50 has onboard DRAM, and the D30 is DRAMless. However, we don't really see this as much of a problem if the D30 is used for game storage, as waiting an extra few minutes for a large transfer is typically an infrequent occurrence.
Read performance is something that we do care about all the time, and the D30 delivers quite respectably here. This is where we want it, and this is where the D30 steps up to the plate. Nice.
The WD Black D30 1TB has, in our opinion, shown itself to be a competent performer. The design of the drive is attractive in appearance, although a bit on the thick side. The D30 is perfectly suited for its role as a portable gaming drive due to its excellent read performance, which exceeds that of your XBOX USB throughput. The 1TB WD Black D30 performs well enough to earn a coveted TweakTown Award.
- Sequential Speeds
- 3-year warranty
- Oversized Plastic Enclosure
The Bottom Line
XBOX themed storage expansion and a 30 day game pass are just what the console doctor ordered.