The WD Black P50 SSD: A Review

SOLID State Drives are almost the standard external storage devices at this point, especially if you’re using them for anything with regular access (such as games or video or movie files you play a lot).

Western Digital have a range of gaming-focussed products – WD Black – which I’ve been impressed with previously, so I was happy to see another addition to the range land on my desk for review recently.

The P50 is a Solid State Drive available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes – I reviewed the 1TB size.

From a size and build quality, the P50 is great – it measures 11.8cm x 6.2cm x 1.4cm,  is ruggedly built, solid, easy to slip into a pocket, and features the same ‘Military Equipment’ aesthetic found on other products in the WD Black range.

The WD Black P50 comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes and sports the same rugged design and aesthetic as the other products in the range.

Sadly, the actual read/write performance of the P50 unit I reviewed was not great over a USB-A connection (such as the one you’d use with a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One X).

 Running Crystal Disk Mark 7, the best results I got were a read speed of 462MB/second and a write speed of 458MB/second – not even remotely close to the “up to 2000 MB/s” the box promises.

The Crystal Disk Mark test results – in this case, for a USB-C connection to an Alienware M15 gaming laptop – were not stellar, at least in comparison to the potential speeds on the packaging.

Using a USB-C cable connection to an Alienware M15 gaming laptop, things were markedly improved, with a read speed of 1037MB/s and a write speed of 1004 MB/s, but these figures are still a long way from what the unit is supposed to be capable of.

For an SSD with a price tag of more than $330 for the 500GB model, this isn’t an attractive offering, especially considering the competition from tried and proven products like the Samsung S5 or S7 Touch SSDs.

Based on the performance and the price, I simply can’t recommend this – which is a shame, because the WD Black range has otherwise been superb in my experience with it.

At a lower price point or with better USB-A performance this could be a contender, but for now I think there’s still a way to go before this becomes a must-buy peripheral for gamers.

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