Western Digital is rolling out a pair of solid state drives that take aim at both the Internet of Things (IoT) and "Fast Data" applications markets. The company's new PC SN720 and PC SN520. The new drives feature three-dimensional (3D) NAND flash memory underneath the hood and "groundbreaking" new firmware and controller architecture purpose built to leverage those chips. They're also incredibly fast.
Starting with the PC SN720, Western Digital plans to ship the drive in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities on a single-sided M.2 2280 form factor, which means it's one of those fancy gum stick-sized SSDs that plug directly into a compatible motherboard with an M.2 slot. Built for speed, the company claims these drives can deliver up to 3,400MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 2,800MB/s of sequential write performance.
Those metrics are far and away superior to what even the fastest SATA-based SSDs can achieve. The advantage of NVMe is that it shuttles data through the much faster PCIe bus. Consumers are not likely to see a difference in speed versus SATA and NVMe in everyday use, but once the heavy file lifting begins, that's when the latter separates itself from the former with a noticeably speed bump.
The PC SN520 is not quite as performance oriented as the PC SN720, but still fast overall. It comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities and ships in different size options, including single-sided M.2 2280, 2242, and 2230 form factors. Those size options give the PC SN520 added flexibility in terms of what types of products it can fit into, including smaller IoT gadgets.
As for speed, all three capacities are rated to deliver up to 1,700MB/s of sequential read performance. Sequential writes top out at 1,400MB/s for the 512GB model, 1,300MB/s for the 256GB model, and 800MB/s for the 128GB model.
"With this new vertically integrated SSD platform, we are able to optimize the architecture to our NAND for low latency and power efficiency, and most important, for the growing range of applications benefiting from NVMe," said Eyal Bek, Senior Director of Client SSD, Devices Business Unit, Western Digital. "The scalable architecture supports a range of capacity and performance points, while streamlining system qualification to improve time-to-market for our customers."
Both drive series are currently shipping to select customers. Western Digital did not say when they will be widely available or how much they will cost.