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WD Blue SN580 review: a capable budget gaming SSD

Providing 1TB of storage for under $70, the WD Blue SN580 is a low price yet perfectly capable NVMe SSD, though its peak speed is basic.

The WD Blue Sn580 SSD on a laminate surface

Our Verdict

The WD Blue SN580, is a solid choice of SSD for gamers on tight budgets, and it doesn't need a heatsink either. However, it’s not ideal for regular big file transfers, and you can get a faster drive for not much more money.

Reasons to buy
  • Good sequential speeds for the cash
  • Excellent value and low cost per gigabyte
  • No need for a heatsink
Reasons to avoid
  • Much faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs only cost a little more
  • No significant benefits over previous generation
  • No 4TB option

Building a PC on a budget means cutting costs at every turn, but the benefits of super-fast SSDs should never come at the expense of cutting capacity, forcing you to constantly delete games to make space for new ones. The WD Blue SN580 is the successor to the popular and affordable SN570, offering 1TB of space for just $70. However, unlike the SN750, this is a PCIe 4.0 SSD with read speeds up to 4,150MB/sec, so you get decent performance as well as low cost per gigabyte.

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We’ve put the WD Blue SN580 through its paces in our labs to see how it stacks up against some of the best SSDs for gaming, and guess what? It’s a capable entry-level SSD that offers good value for your money, while being quicker than a PCIe 3.0 drive.

Specs

Capacities 250GB, 500GB, 1TB (tested), 2TB
Formatted capacity 931TB (1TB tested)
Heatsink option No
NAND TLC
Controller SanDisk 20-82-10082
Endurance rating 900 TBW (1TB model)
Warranty Five years

Features

As the M.2 SSD market shifts from PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 4.0 for its value baseline, there’s inevitably an uptick in terms of performance, and here the WD Blue SN580 adds 600MB/sec to the sequential read speed and nearly 900MB/sec to the write speed of the Blue SN570. Of course, you’ll need a PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot to get its rated speeds, but these are present on practically every new motherboard right now, plus plenty of older models too.

Unless you’re on a supremely tight budget, we’d suggest staying away from the 250GB model, though, as this will get swallowed up rapidly by Windows and games, plus it often only costs a couple of bucks more for the 500GB option. The 500GB model at $57 (£55) will give you much more breathing room, but does have slightly slower speeds than the 1TB option, which again doesn’t cost that much more in some instances, with it widely available for around $75 (£70).

The WD Blue SN580 seated in the motherboard

All WD Blue SN580 models use a WD in-house SanDisk 20-82-10082 controller, and our 1TB test sample had a usable capacity of 931GB once formatted. You also don’t need a heatsink for this drive, as our 1TB model never topped 70°C during our stress test.

A part of the reason why the Blue SN580 can offer such a low cost per gigabyte is its lack of a DRAM buffer. These buffers are used to help deliver peak write speeds, but here WD has instead set up the SSD to operate some of the NAND in 1-bit SLC mode, rather than the slower 3-bit TLC that makes up the rest of the drive’s storage, to help ensure speedier write operations. Once the drive gets a moment of downtime, the data is then written out to TLC for long-term storage.

The issue here is that, eventually, that SLC portion will fill up and then the SSD has no option but to write directly to TLC, which is much slower. With the WD Blue SN580, that will happen with 300-400MB files or larger, where you’ll see speeds cut by up to 75%. It’s also worth noting that the endurance rating is lower for the 2TB model at 900TBW (terabytes written) than more expensive models, which have an endurance rating of around 1,200TBW.

Sequential performance

The SN580’s CrystalDiskMark sequential speeds of 4,183MB/sec read and 4,147MB/sec write, and the AS SSD benchmark’s 3,531MB/sec read and 3,846MB/sec write figures pale in comparison to faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs which manage around 7,000MB/sec. However, that’s why those drives cost $15-20 more for a 1TB model.

By comparison, spending even more per gigabyte and opting for a PCIe 5.0 SSD such as the Crucial T705 will see those speeds tripled, but the same will also happen to the price.

Random performance

The random 4K performance of the SN580 was also a fair bit slower than the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs we’ve seen, with the Solidigm P44 Pro hitting 87MB/sec read and 343MB/sec write in CrystalDiskMark’s Q1T1 random 4K test, compared to 73MB/sec and 227MB/sec respectively for the WD Blue SN580.

Meanwhile, the WD Blue SN580’s Q32 T16 test resulted in read and write speeds of 2,539MB/sec and 3,373MB/sec, which again were noticeably slower than the 5,900MBsec for reads and 5,092MB/sec for the Solidigm P44 Pro.

Real world performance

The PCMark 10 full drive benchmark features real-world tests such as mimicking Windows and game boot times, application loading times, and performing tasks within them.

Here the WD Blue SN580’s score of 2,921 wasn’t too far away from the 3,754MB/sec recorded by the far pricier Crucial T700, which goes to show that, even though the T705 sequential speeds were three times as fast, when it comes to dealing with software, it’s certainly not performing at triple the speed of the SN580.

The SN580 SSD seated in the NVME slot in the motherboard

Verdict

If saving every dollar counts, and you won’t be throwing more than a few hundred megabytes at it on a regular basis, the WD Blue SN580 is a good choice in nearly all capacities. However, we recommend staying away from the 250GB option, given how little space it will leave you once Windows is installed.

While it’s noticeably slower in peak speed sequential tests than the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs we’ve seen, in random 4K tests and PCMark 10’s real-world drive benchmark, the SN580 can hold its own. Many PCIe 4.0 SSDs capable of 7,000MB/sec or more will be a slightly better buy given the small extra outlay, but if you’d rather put the extra 30 bucks towards a quieter CPU cooler or better case, then it’s still a solid if unremarkable SSD.

For more SSD choices, check out our best SSD for gaming guide. If you’re looking for a drive that you can plug straight into your laptop, then our best external SSD guide with our expert reviews can point you in the right direction.