September, 2021

WD Blue SN550 SSD Performance Reportedly Cut In Half When SLC Runs Out

SSD Drive Recovery WD

Western Digital was recently caught swapping out the NAND flash on its entry-level M.2 SSDs, specifically, its WD Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD. The product data sheet was quietly updated to reflect the change but the company didn’t communicate this information to consumers.

This issue came up lately when Chinese tech site Experview compared an WD Blue SN550 SSD made on July 28, 2021 with an earlier model and discovered that the flash memory identifier and firmware number were differed. The problem is that the WD Blue SN550 SSD with the new components has a write speed of 390MB/s once the cache was used up, and that's only about half the old configuration.

Expreview's TxBENCH benchmark results revealed that both revisions of the WD Blue SN550 deliver similar write performance as long as the SLC cache isn't filled up. The average write performance for the WD Blue SN550 was 2,160 MBps. Once the SLC cache runs out and the SSD starts writing without it, the speed drops from 610 megabytes per second on the old drive to just 390 megabytes per second on the new one.

The NAND flash downgrade may not affect the average consumer because it's unlikely that the user will constantly fill the 12GB SLC cache. But you'll certainly notice the lower performance if you move huge files a lot, for example, 4K video files or big compressed archives. Although this issue only becomes noticeable if you happen to move large files very often, even so this doesn't excuse the lack of communication on the part of Western Digital.

Western Digital admitted changes had been made to the SN500 with minimal notice, and proposed a way to be more transparent with its customers. The company says that in the future, it will also introduce a new model number when making any hardware changes to its products that impact performance.

The WD Blue SN550 are very popular budget SSDs that have regularly shown up on various sites on the best SSD lists, but they are also vulnerable to logical and physical failures, making critical users files inaccessible. This problem can only be solved with a help of a professional data recovery services provider like ACE Data Recovery. ACEs successfully recover data from all types of storage media and are ready to help the WD Blue SN550 SSD owners with their data recovery needs.