WD Blue SN570 Review – PCMag

An SSD to drive your budget blues away
The WD Blue SN570, the third iteration of Western Digital's popular budget SSD, is faster than ever and proved a solid performer in our benchmark tests.
Western Digital’s latest budget-priced internal solid-state drive, the WD Blue SN570 (starts at $53.99 for 250GB; $109.99 for 1TB as tested), is a solid performer among affordable NVMe SSDs, even though it sticks to the PCI Express 3.0 rather than the newer 4.0 interface. It’s faster than its predecessor, the WD Blue SN550, and delivered above-average results in most of our benchmark tests, in a few cases even beating the Editors’ Choice award-winning Samsung SSD 980. Consider it a solid pick for a terabyte M.2 stick on a budget.
Western Digital offers a range of color-coded storage solutions—WD Green products are eco-friendly, WD Red drives are for network-attached storage, and WD Gold products for data-center and enterprise use, for instance. The two we cover most frequently are WD Black—high-performance drives aimed at professionals and gamers, such as the WD Black D50 Game Dock NVMe SSD and WD Black P50 Game Drive SSD—and WD Blue, a line of budget-friendly, consumer-oriented drives such as the SN550 and its SN570 successor reviewed here.
The SN570 is a four-lane PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 TLC NAND-based SSD. It’s a single-sided drive in the M.2 Type-2280 (80mm long) “gumstick” form factor. The WD Blue SN570 employs the NVMe protocol over its PCI Express bus. (For a primer or refresher on solid-state lingo, check out our SSD dejargonizer.)
One notable feature is that the WD Blue SN570, like the SN550 and SN500 before it, lacks dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which is found in nearly all SSDs. Eliminating it saves money, and WD compensated for any potential performance hit by adding a small amount of faster static random access memory (SRAM) to its homegrown controller, which in effect serves as a liaison to the rest of the computer. For more on DRAM-less drives, see our review of the WD Blue SN550.
With sequential read and write rated speeds of 3,500MBps and 3,000MBps respectively, the 1TB drive we tested fares well against other PCI Express 3.0 drives. It matches the ratings of the Editors’ Choice-winning Samsung SSD 980. The WD Blue SN570 is also faster than its SN550 predecessor, whose rated speeds for the 1TB version are 2,400MBps read and 1,950MBps write. The 1TB Lexar NM620 is rated at 3,300MBps read and 3,000MBps write.
The SN570’s durability ratings, as measured in terabytes written (TBW), match those of the SN550 but are considerably lower than what we expect from a TLC-based drive. (The Lexar NM610 and NM620 are among the few TLC-based drives we’ve seen with lower durability ratings—250TBW for the 512GB version, and 500TBW for 1TB.) The WD Blue’s ratings are closer to those we expect from drives based on less-durable QLC memory. 
Terabytes written is an estimate, provided by the manufacturer, of how much data can be written to a drive before some cells begin to fail and get taken out of service. (TBW tends to scale 1:1 with capacity, as it does here.) The SN570’s warranty is good for five years or until you hit the rated TBW figure in writes, whichever comes first. Unless you plan on doing an unusual amount of writing to disk, you’ll probably get your full five years out of the drive.
Modestly priced at 11 cents per gigabyte (at current retail rates), the SN570 is competitive with other budget-oriented internal SSDs. It’s slightly cheaper than the Samsung SSD 980.
We test all of our PCI Express 3.0 and Serial ATA (SATA) SSDs using PC Labs’ main storage testbed, which is built on an Asus Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard with an Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition CPU. The system has 16GB of DDR4 Corsair Dominator RAM clocked to 3,600MHz and employs an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card. (See more about how we test SSDs.)
We subjected the WD Blue SN570 to our usual suite of internal solid-state drive benchmarks, comprising Crystal DiskMark 6.0, PCMark 10 Storage, and AS-SSD. Crystal DiskMark’s sequential speed tests provide a traditional measure of drive throughput, simulating best-case, straight-line transfers of large files.
The overall PCMark 10 Storage test, which runs the full storage suite, measures an SSD’s readiness for a wide variety of everyday tasks. It’s the sanctioned score presented by UL’s software at the end of each run. PCMark 10 also provides some more granular measures, derived from the benchmark’s background “traces.” These assess a drive’s speed in launching particular programs such as games and Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, as well as booting Windows 10 and copying large (ISO) and small (JPG) files.
Finally, the AS-SSD benchmarking utility initiates a series of file and folder transfers. This trio of tests involves copying large files or folders from one location on the test drive to another.
The SN570’s PCMark 10 Overall Storage score of 2,068 is a bit above par among our group of comparison drives, which include mostly PCI Express 3.0 SSDs with a few PCIe 4.0 drives thrown into the mix. In the PCMark 10 trace tests, its scores were generally a little bit faster than average, although the opposite was true for the ISO and file copying tests.
In Crystal DiskMark, the SN570’s sequential read and write scores of 3,263MBps and 2,823MBps respectively fell a bit short of its rated 3,500MBps and 3,000MBps, but not by much. Internal SSD sequential scores, which we think of as raw speed or maximum throughput, are typically not too far off their manufacturer ratings. While the Blue’s 4K write score was about average, its 4K read score was second-best.
The WD Blue SN570’s scores in the AS-SSD benchmark were a decidedly mixed bag. While the drive stumbled in the Program Speed test, with the lowest score of the group, it turned the tables with ISO Speed, easily notching the best score. Its Game Speed score was in the middle.
With a decent warranty and generally strong benchmark scores—including faster sequential read and write scores than its predecessor—the competitively priced WD Blue SN570 offers good value in a PCIe 3.0 internal SSD. It fell flat in the AS-SSD Program Speed benchmark and its durability rating is relatively low, but its strengths outweigh these minor shortcomings. If you buy the SN570, we suspect you’ll be singing its praises rather than the blues.
The WD Blue SN570, the third iteration of Western Digital's popular budget SSD, is faster than ever and proved a solid performer in our benchmark tests.
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As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, Tony has written articles on digital photography and reviews of digital cameras, PCs, and iPhone apps Prior to joining the PCMag team, Tony worked for 17 years in magazine and journal production at Springer-Verlag New York. As a freelance writer, he’s written articles for Grolier’s Encylopedia, Health, Equities, and other publications. He won an award from the American Astronomical Society for an article he co-wrote for Sky & Telescope. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York and is a regular columnist for the club’s newsletter, Eyepiece. He is an active observer and astrophotographer, and a participant in online astronomy projects such as hunting for comets in images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Tony’s work as an amateur photographer has appeared on various Web sites. He specializes in landscapes (natural and manmade).
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