Two minutes of review
You can add RGB lighting to pretty much everything in your PC case – from power cables to RAM modules to fans, nothing is left behind. So it was only a matter of time before your hard drive was equipped with RGB lighting, and that’s exactly what the WD Black AN1500 SSD brings to the table.
In addition to a very seductive RGB lighting strip on top, the WD Black AN1500 SSD offers some breakneck read / write speeds, largely thanks to its PCIe interface instead of a regular SATA connection. But with great speeds come a couple of limitations. You first need to make sure that your PC motherboard has a free PCIe slot. Once it’s plugged in, you’ll also need to set up some sort of backup routine to really keep your data safe.
It’s also very, very expensive for what’s on offer, and while the exceptional speeds will be appreciated, for most of the players this product is geared towards, any other offering from WD will be just as good and at a much cheaper price Label.
Price and availability
The WD Black AN1500 SSD starts at 1 TB for $ 299.99 (about £ 235; AU $ 430; AED 1,100). Our review unit was the 2TB version, which is priced at $ 549.99 (about £ 430; AU $ 785; AED 2,019). If you need even more space there is also 4TB.
That’s a lot of money to keep in store, even when it comes with incredible read / write speeds. While the AN1500 is aimed at gamers and professionals alike, asking someone to pay the equivalent of a graphics card for a storage device is an exception. Even WD’s own SN850 NVMe SSD would be just as sufficient for a slightly cheaper price.
The AN1500 is sure to be a business even if it is hidden in the depths of your PC. The sturdy heat sink encompasses the entire device, and an RGB strip is located on the top and back of the device.
Under the heat sink itself there are two NVMe SSDs arranged in a RAID 0 array. Essentially, this means that the AN1500 will distribute data across both drives and treat the two drives as one large storage pool. The disadvantage here is of course that if one of the drives fails, the entire RAID collapses and you cannot access your data. There is absolutely no way to change this setup. So if you are concerned about losing your data, you need to set up a backup routine for this drive.
The chance of the raid failing is slim, and WD has promised a 5-year limited warranty on the drive to keep users calm.
Installation is extremely easy: just plug the drive into a PCIe 3.0×8 slot, start Windows, and format the drive as usual. You’ll also need to download and install the WD Dashboard app to tweak the drive’s RGB settings, as well as keep an eye on temperatures and drive usage.
Here’s how the WD Black AN1500 SSD performed in our series of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark: 6.284 Mbps (read); 4,228 MBit / s (write)
Atto: 6,382 MBit / s (read, 256 MB); 4,317 MBit / s (write, 256 MB)
AS SSD:5,890 Mbit / s (seq read); 4.091 Mbit / s (seq write)
For such an expensive ride, expect phenomenal performance. WD rates the AN1500 at read speeds of up to 6,500MB / s, which is more than enough to launch any type of game or even do extensive video editing of the 4k gameplay.
In practice we have seen this type of reading speed when dealing with large chunks of video material. The read speeds averaged 6,350 MB / s, while the write speeds were 4,000 MB / s. These speeds tend to fluctuate as you start copying across smaller files or folders with files of different sizes. When you are transferring a large amount of video or want to start a specific game, your read / write speeds will be very fast. If you add different file sizes to the mix, the AN1500 won’t work as well as a regular SSD.
That’s not necessarily a huge problem – both content creators and gamers will likely use this drive to either do large-scale video edits or to store games on it. Both activities benefit from the fast response times of the AN1500. So, if you are really looking for the fastest storage you can get your hands on, this may be it.
The compatibility of the motherboard needs to be checked if you want to use this as a boot drive. Our test system could not seem to boot from the drive no matter what we tried, although it recognized it in the BIOS. However, it worked like a normal drive when we booted from another drive. We therefore recommend using the AN1500 as a storage / working drive and not for booting.
The temperature is something that we need to record on the AN1500. While the heat sink is excellent at conducting heat away from the internal drives, its overall temperature was a toasty 50 ° C. This is because only Windows starts up and is idle for 10 minutes. Even in a PC with an integrated VGA instead of a secondary GPU, the temperatures stayed at 50-52 ° C.
During normal workloads of running games and editing footage off the drive, temperatures stayed around 55 to 57 ° C, and our stress tests brought the drive close to 60 ° C. We strongly recommend that you install this drive as close to some of your case fans as possible so that it is well ventilated at all times.
Should I buy the WD Black AN1500 SSD?
Buy it when …
You want the fastest drives money can buy
If you’re a content creator or just a gamer who doesn’t want any delays in loading a game, this drive is more than suitable for your needs.
You love RGB
The RGB lighting of the AN1500 is really, really nice. It fits snugly in any RGB rig and you will spend hours tinkering with it to make it look just right.
Don’t buy it if …
You have little money
This drive is expensive and out of the reach of most gamers who are likely to want to spend that type of money on other components like a new GPU or CPU instead.
Your suitcase is not properly ventilated
The AN1500 can be quite roasted even when idling. So unless you have a properly ventilated system, this drive will experience consistently high operating temperatures.
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