WD SN750 M.2 NVMe 500GB SSD Review: Goodbye, long load times

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Let me give you the reason you clicked on this review up front: this drive pumps up storage performance to very impressive levels, it’s worth the money being asked, it removes performance bottlenecks in everything from boot times to application and game level load times, and is exactly the right upgrade if you’re tired of waiting for anything to load.

Stop reading and just go buy it already, it’s genuinely that good. I’m a cheapskate journo, and I’d spend my own money gladly on this bad boy, I like it so much.

Do it for the load times

I say this because my time with this drive was an absolute pleasure. I was playing Fallout 4 on PC when it arrived for review (with the huge high-resolution patch that kills performance installed, of course), and I was tearing out my hair waiting 2+ minutes to load into levels, since all of my data storage and gaming drives at the time were mechanical (read: slow).

As a result, Fallout’s savegame load times were very slow, and fast-travelling was anything but fast. I was beyond frustrated and frankly quite annoyed as most of my components are, shall we say, not exactly entry-level.

Once the drive was in, however, and I moved Fallout 4 there, all of that was a thing of the past. My saves went from loading in 2 minutes and 13 seconds to 16 seconds flat. Fast travelling from Sanctuary to the Brotherhood of Steel blimp went from 2 minutes and 26 seconds to 12.5 seconds. That’s twelve point five seconds from almost two and a half minutes!

In short, the difference the drive made to my loading times was nothing short of astounding.

Sure, Fallout 4 is a Bethesda Game Studios game and thus it’s buggy as hell and poorly-programmed (hallmarks of that studio’s output, sadly), but the fact remains this SSD managed to speed up even a badly-coded game. That’s pretty impressive right there.

NVMe ftw

This is thanks to the fact that it’s a PCIe 3.0 x4 drive, connected to my system via an M.2 slot on my motherboard. The maximum transfer speed of PCIe 3.0 x4 is 3940MB per second, and my tests showed the SN750 coming very close to that.

Testing in my system with CrystalDiskMark 5 showed the drive reaching a peak read speed of 3493.1MB/s – a far cry from the maximum read speed of a regular SATA SSD of around 550MB/s, and streaks ahead of mechanical hard drives that top out around the 100B/s mark. Writes hit a hugely impressive 2575.7MB/s, another brilliant feat.

It’s that read and write throughput that is responsible for Fallout’s amazing load-time improvement, and the reason this drive is 100% worth the cash.

Add to that the fact that it’s a WD Black drive (WD’s “performance” brand), and that WD gave it a very sexy heatsink so that it stays cool even when being hammered, and the SN750 is literally everything you need an M.2 SSD to be.

Some things to keep in mind

So, with all of that good stuff out of the way, there are a few other things to mention about this drive. First, it uses TLC NAND, or triple-level cell NAND memory, which is among the cheaper types available today. That’s good because it keeps the price down, but it does mean the drive has a lower TBW (Terabytes Written) rating than pricier drives.

This is a bit of a technicality, however, because while the drive’s TBW rating is lower than other more expensive drives, at 300 TBW it’s still pretty robust. And WD throws in a 5-year warranty so they’re clearly confident it’ll survive quite easily in most, if not all, usage scenarios.

300 TBW means that the drive might start throwing out errors once 300 terabytes – that’s three hundred thousand gigabytes – have been written to it.

But to put that into perspective, you could write 40GB to the drive every single day for a year, and you’d only write just over 14.6TB to it in total in 365 days.

Times that by five, and you’re not even at 75TB written after the warranty period expires, so really, the drive is more than robust enough for the use it’ll be put to, which is most likely gaming since gamers are who it’s aimed at.

NVMe M.2 Slot Required

The other thing to consider is that you will need a motherboard with an available M.2 slot, and these can be expensive. Not only that, but the way consumer-level chipsets are designed, you will lose access to at least two SATA ports to take full advantage of the drive as that’s needed to provide the bandwidth for the drive to perform at its peak.

It’s annoying, to be sure, especially if you have a lot of hard drives, but it’s a sacrifice worth making.

Bang for buck

With that out of the way, let’s talk money. At the time of writing, you could pick one of these babies up for a paltry R1999 from Takealot, albeit without a heatsink – it’s R2617 with the heatsink which is still not bad at all for a 500GB SSD that’s this fast.

And I have to say, having half a terabyte of this super-fast storage sure feels like a luxury, so either way it’s money well spent.

Absolutely, positively, yes

So do I recommend WD’s SN750 500GB NVMe drive? Absolutely, positively, yes. It looks good, performs like a beast, is attractively-priced, and provides the performance boost expected from a PCIe 3.0 x4 drive.

Plus, it’ll easily last through its generous warranty period even under heavy use, so you have nothing to worry about in terms of durability or longevity.

Grab one today, I can promise you won’t be disappointed when you’re waiting less and playing more.

Get it from Takealot (no affiliation):

With heatsink for R2617
Without heatsink for R1999

The WD SN750 M.2 NVMe 500GB SSD was sent to Hypertext for review purposes by WD’s local PR firm. The product will be returned to WD.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.