There’s no need to compromise today, because a killer NVMe SSD with support for face-meltingly fast PCIe 4.0 speeds is available at an excellent price. Newegg is selling the 1TB WD Black SN850 for $175 with the checkout code 93XQW38. That’s a generous $55 off the MSRP of $230 and lower than competing prices we’ve seen elsewhere.
We reviewed the SN850 in late November, giving it a sterling 4.5 out of 5 stars as well as an Editors’ Choice Award. “The WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD is one of the very best consumer NVMe SSDs you can buy currently, with outstanding performance, especially on writes,” we said. We also chose the WD Black SN850 as the runner-up to the Samsung 980 as the best PCIe 4.0 SSD for 2021.
That is, of course, using the relatively new PCIe 4.0 interface, which requires a Ryzen 3000 or Ryzen 5000 CPU, or an Intel 11th-generation Core processor. You’ll also need a compatible motherboard that supports the new version of PCIe.
In our tests using the 2TB model, the SN850 hit 5,221 megabytes per second writes on PCIe 4.0, but dropped to 3,336 MB/s over PCIe 3.0. The drop was even bigger for sequential read times, starting at 6,284 MB/s on PCIe 4.0, but going down to 3,558 on PCIe 3.0.
If you’re sticking with a PCIe 3.0 rig we wouldn’t recommend this SSD, as the price is much higher than PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs with similar performance. But if you own a PCIe 4.0-compatible PC, or plan on upgrading to PCIe 4.0 in the near future, then this is an excellent time to pick-up a fantastically fast NVMe SSD.