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WD Black SN850 vs Samsung 980 PRO in 1TB, which is better?

Like its predecessor, Western Digital comes with a double flavor to markets and stores around the world: the WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 and the WDS100T1XHE-00AFY0, but how are they different? Well, the first of them is the version without heatsink, while the second does include it. To match the comparison we have chosen the outdoor version, since the Samsung does not include a heatsink as such.

Western Digital Black SN850 vs Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB: weapons on top

The first thing we are going to check and compare are their formats, since in both cases they carry M.2 in its 2280 version, something very typical that for now is necessary due to the technology of its NAND Flash and the chosen size of 1 TB.

In the case of the Samsung 980 PRO we obtain memories designed and manufactured by the company itself, which it calls as V-NAND 3-bit MLC, which is surprising for the latest SSD of the brand. The Western Digital Black SN850 gets a memory 96-layer BiCS4 TLC, so technically this is more advanced than its rival, but as we will see later that will not be like that.

As for the interface, both SSDs are based on PCIe Gen 4 x4, but the Samsung only works with the protocol NVMe 1.3C, while Western Digital does it with the version 1.4, so at this point again WD is ahead of Samsung. Moment to take a look at his drivers, where the Korean is gathering a Samsung The Pee, of which everything is unknown and is precisely the great secret of the company.

Western Digital on the other hand uses a custom driver as well, but it doesn’t go for Elpis, instead it gets a WD Black G2 to bring your SSD to life.

Caches are widely criticized in NVMe, do they measure up?


As good high-end NVMe SSDs that they are, companies have decided to give their best in this section, aware that when the cache is full the performance will plummet in their SSD. Therefore, Samsung has included 1 GB DDR4 SDRAM in Low Power version, entirely manufactured by them. Meanwhile, the WD Black SN850 has also managed to introduce 1GB of DDR4 nCache 4.0, but they do not specify anything beyond this, so we could give a technical draw in this section because both are Hybrid SLCs.

In consumption and durability, Samsung gives many more figures than Western Digital, but considering all the above they should not be far from it: 8.9 watts maximum and 1.5 million hours on MTBF or 600 TBW. What about performance? Well, it is really the subject of debate, since the WD achieves a whopping 7000 MB / s sequential reading and 5300 MB / s in sequential writing.

Instead, the Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB achieves 7000 MB / s and 5000 MB / s respectively with 1,000,000 IOPS in both scenarios. The SN850 achieves here 1,000,000 read and 720,000 IOPS in random writing, so, although in file transfer the Korean SSD is 300 MB / s behind it has a higher performance in IOPS, which is much more important than transfers.

Lastly, both manufacturers recommend an operating temperature of between 0 and 70 degrees and offer a full 5-year limited warranty. So which one to buy? It is really difficult to choose one of them, but you have to get wet and in this case and for very little the Samsung 980 PRO is the recommended option for gamers, while the WD BLACK SN850 is perhaps a better option for developers or video editors, since that its 300 MB / s of more can make the difference according to what environments.