NVMe SSDs are the premium storage format for the best gaming PC, but they also come at a cost. Western Digital’s new line of WD Green NVMe drives aims to make that premium performance a lot more affordable, making it just that bit more tempting to upgrade from a slower SATA-based SSD.
In our WD Blue SN550 review, we found it to be our favourite budget option when it comes to choosing the best SSD for gaming, but Western Digital has now released an even cheaper PCIe 3.0-based NVMe drive, called the WD Green SN350. With retail prices of $44, $54, and $99 for the 240GB, 480GB and 960GB variants respectively, this line-up handily bridges the gap between SATA and NVMe. WD’s 1TB SATA equivalent, with over four times slower read speeds, is listed at over $100 online right now.
On the surface, it looks to have pretty much the same performance as the slightly more expensive Blue SN550. Typically, WD’s Green range has consisted of SSDs and hard drives with lower power consumption and performance than its Blue range, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. In the 960GB size of the card, there’s sequential read and write speeds of 2400MB/s and 1900MB/s respectively, which is just 50MB/s behind the SN550.
There are a few differences between the SN350 and SN550 – firstly, you’re getting a 960GB card instead of 1TB. And, the TBW rating, which measures how many Terabytes you can write to the drive before it theoretically gives up the ghost, is 80TBW on the 960GB SN350 compared to a much higher 600TBW on the 1TB SN550. And, you’re getting a three year warranty instead of five years.
So despite looking similar initially, there are some key differences in drive endurance, but if you’re only planning to keep the SSD for a few years before upgrading to a PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 5.0 SSD, that lower endurance rating shouldn’t come back to bite you.
However, with WD’s 1TB Blue SN550 frequently discounted down from its $129 MSRP to around $100 / £100, it’s a no-brainer decision to pick up that more reliable, longer lasting, and slightly larger capacity card for a similar price. But, if this card also follows in the steps of its SN550 sibling, with big discounts over its original $99 price tag, this could become one of the cheapest NVMe drives we’ve seen so far.