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WD Black SN850X vs Samsung 990 Pro: Which one to choose?

    In 2022, there were numerous new releases in the Gen 4 NVMe market. But, two of the most discussed ones are WD Black SN850X and Samsung 990 Pro. So, which one should you go for in 2023?

    WD Black SN850X is called the updated version of the older SN850. However, the 990 Pro is the successor to the 980 Pro.

    Both of these are equipped with the TLC NAND Flash.

    There are various other similarities but some differences between the both. So, if you are confused and want to choose one of these, I am here to help you. Let’s start our comparison right away.

    SpecificationWD Black SN850XSamsung 990 Pro
    Storage Variants1TB, 2TB, 4TB1TB, 2TB, 4TB
    Theoretical Read Speed (Seq)Up to 7,300 MB/sUp to 7,450 MB/s
    Theoretical Write Speed (Seq)Up to 6,300 MB/sUp to 6,900 MB/s
    Random Read SpeedUp to 1,200K IOPSUp to 1,400K IOPS
    Random Write SpeedUp to 1,100K IOPSUp to 1,550K IOPS
    Warranty5 Years5 Years
    Heatsink OptionAvailableAvailable
    EncryptionNot AvailableAvailable

    Both sequential and random read/write speeds are higher with the Samsung 990 Pro. But, the differences are not that huge. So, it is going to be interesting to see how the benchmark scores turn out. The main drawback of the SN850X is that it comes with no encryption.

    The Test-Bench Specifications are:

    CPU: Intel Core i5 12600K

    RAM: DDR5 4800 MHz (8x2GB)

    Motherboard: MSI Pro Z690-A

    OS: Windows 11 Pro

    All the tests are done on the 2TB variants of both drives. They are 0% filled during the benchmark tests.

    Sequential read/write speed bar graph (990 Pro vs SN850X)

    There is a very minimal difference in the sequential read/write performance of both these drives. However, the Samsung 990 Pro is winning the game by small numbers.

    Random read/write speed bar graph (990 Pro vs SN850X)

    Again, the Samsung 990 Pro is winning the game in random read performance. But, the random write performance is better with the KC3000.

    This test specifically tests the drives for their performance in-game loading, game saving, and overall gaming performance.

    3DMark Gamers test scores bar graph comparison

    Both the SSDs come with dedicated game modes which don’t seem to have any major impact on the gaming performance at all. However, the overall performance is almost similar with both SSDs.

    In the PCMark 10 Full System Drive benchmark, the software writes 204 GB data over a period of time. This test covers different types of tasks including Adobe applications, MS Office, File Transfer, etc. Also, the startup time of some games including Battlefield V, Overwatch, and Battlefield are calculated.

    PCMark 10 Full Drive Benchmark
    Anvil Score Comparison Bar Graph (990 Pro vs SN850X)
    AS SSD Benchmark Scores Comparison

    The results are clear. Samsung 990 Pro is the winner in terms of gaming, productivity, sequential read/write, and random read/write performance. In other words, it will be capable of offering you a better performance in the real-world than the SN850X.

    But, keep in mind that the SN850X is also a pretty powerful SSD than other competitors. So, you should not take it off your list. Its cheaper price can make a big difference for some buyers.

    ParameterWD Black SN850XSamsung 990 Pro
    TBW1TB: 600 TBW
    2TB: 1,200 TBW
    4TB: 2,400 TBW
    1TB: 600 TBW
    2TB: 1,200 TBW
    Warranty5-Years Limited Warranty5-Years Limited Warranty
    MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)1.80 Million Hours1.50 Million Hours

    There are no differences in both when it comes to endurance (TBW). But, the MTBF is higher in the SN850X. So, theoretically, it can last longer than the 990 Pro.

    Technical SpecificationWD Black SN850XSamsung 990 Pro
    NAND Flash TypeSandisk’s TLCSamsung’s TLC
    NAND Flash Layers112176
    ControllerWD ProprietarySamsung Pablo Controller
    Controller ConfigurationsTri-Core, 4-ChannelsNot Specified
    DRAMDDR4 DRAMDDR4 SDRAM
    Heatsink OptionAvailableAvailable
    T.R.I.M.AvailableAvailable
    S.M.A.R.T.AvailableAvailable
    EncryptionNot AvailableAvailable
    DetailsDatasheetDatasheet

    By the time I am writing this article, the Samsung 990 Pro is around 30$ more expensive than the SN850X. So, if you want to save some money on this purchase without compromising a lot on the performance, I would recommend going for the SN850X.

    On the other hand, if you are looking for the best performance possible, Samsung 990 Pro is made for you. It also has the feature of encryption with a better controller. The write cache is better with the 990 Pro. So, clearly, Samsung 990 Pro is the winner of this game.

    Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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    TLC NAND
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