Price (RRP): $300/500/830
Manufacturer: Western Digital
I like fast, and the WD Black P50 did not disappoint. In theory, it can reach 2000MBps, but that is on the new USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 2×2 interface – not a lot of PCs have that. Even so, it was over 1000MBps on USB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 devices.
I also liked the brutal architecture of the WD Black P50 portable SSD – a thin black military container feel – a kind of a ‘take no prisoners’ approach.
WD Black P50 Game Drive SSD
It is a portable, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 2×2 lane interface with a WD Black PCIe NVMe SSD inside a metal container.
- Website here
- Price: (note we only have firm A$ pre-order prices for the 2TB)
- 500GB – US$ $150 (around A$300-350 or 70 cents per GB)
- 1TB – US$ $250 (around A$500-550 or 55 cents per GB)
- 2TB – US Price $450 – A$830-850 plus delivery (42 cents per GB)
- Warranty – 5-years
- Comes with Superspeed USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables
- Formatted exFat (no software required)
Western Digital aims this at Gamers, but it is also for creatives, digital video/still editors, and large backup.
So, what is the secret sauce that makes the WD Black P50 eat data for breakfast and come back for more?
Secret Hot Sauce
It has a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 2×2 lane 20Gbps SuperSpeed USB-C interface (you can read more here) that is backwards compatible with USB-A, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 as well. Put simply with the right future laptop/PC it can get nearly 2Gbps sequential read, and that is extremely fast.
- About the same as the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3
- Twice as fast as a Samsung T7 or the San Disk Extreme Pro
- Six times as fast as a Samsung T5 or LaCie Portable SSD
But before you rush out to buy, you need to know a few things.
Sequential read is a show pony figure – the fastest it can go under ideal conditions.
Plug it into any other USB-C 3.1 or 3.2, Gen 1 or 2, 2 lane (all current devices), and it gets about a quarter to half its potential.
So, how does it really rate (sequential read/write)
- The Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 is 2815/2097MBps
- The WD Black P50 (as tested) is 1047/1021
- The SanDisk Extreme is 914/936
- The Samsung T7 is 857/768 (the figures would be akin to the LaCie on our new HP Spectre test laptop)
- The Samsung T5 is 557/481
- The LaCie Portable is 557/467
But the good news for WD Black P50 is that its writing speeds on larger files are excellent – from two-to-six times faster than the comparisons above. WD doesn’t publish cache sizes, but I guess it must be one of the largest because read/write speeds are relatively constant and write speeds can exceed read on large files – excellent.
BTW – if you only have USB-C Gen 3.1 Gen 1 5GBps don’t fret – its plenty fast over that too so it will work with your Xbox or PS4 at around 500MBps.
There are reports of the drive losing connection to a PC. It happened to me several times with the Surface Pro 7 (USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps), and all you can do it pull the plug and the drive starts again.
It did not happen on a 2019 HP Spectre 8th Gen Core i7 Thunderbolt 3. Likely just a firmware issue WD will resolve it.
GadgetGuy’s take – The Western Digital P50 Games Drive portable SSD is the king of the mountain
But with the caveat that this is the first USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2×2 lane we have seen. In all other cases, it performs pretty much like the Samsung T7 or San Disk Extreme Pro, so if the price is an issue, then the latter are considerably less for USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2 lane performance.