A while back Western Digital sent me a new WD_Black P50 2TB Game Drive. The new WD_Black range is made for gamers in mind and offers high-performance speed, a load of storage space, some cool gaming incentives all wrapped into stylish new storage devices. Some models in the WD_Black Range include the P10 which is a 2.5-inch 2TB, 3TB and 5TB storage device. There’s also the Western Digital WD_Black D10 Game Drive that offers crazy 18TB and 12TB of storage and includes some USB ports to charge your controllers while you are at it.
A Western Digital WD_Black P50 review is better to watch. We show some gameplay loading comparisons. Watch it below
But the creme de la creme of the range is the P50. These little beasts include an NVMe SSD of 512GB, 1TB and 2TB options. Yes, they are pricey. The 2TB model sets you back R11,000, the 1TB sits at R8,000 and the 512GB is close to R4,000. However, price aside, the P50 is one of the best storage solutions on the market for gamers and well, anyone really. It does not mean the device is a game drive that it can’t be used for other stuff.
Best of all, they are also future proof with the latest USB Type-C configuration. The WD_Black P50 Game Drive packs USB 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2 and USB 3.2×2 support which is also known as SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps. Now, let’s make this clear because it sounds like rocket science. USB 3.2 Gen 1 promises between 530-550MB/s and is the oldest USB configuration. Gen 2 promises 1000MB/s which is the mainstream port right now. Lastly, we have the newest USB 3.2×2 configuration which promises to max out this drive at 2000MB/s.
This means the device delivers nearly 2GBps transfers. However, you will need a compatible USB port to make this magic happen. Chances are you don’t have one of those yet but sooner or later more devices with USB 3.2×2 will become the norm.
The Western Digital WD_Black P50 is the highlight of the experience here so in the box there’s very little going on. The outside of the packaging is black, includes some important specs and a cool glossy artwork. Inside, you will find the drive which features a sort of ammo box, shipping container vibe going on. It fits the overall design approach quite well. The metal means cooling is ideal and there are some open vents at the bottom to help keep things cool. The WD_Black P50 drive is tiny. This is thanks to the NVMe SSD inside of it. It is only 11cm long, 6cm wide and 1.5cm thick. That is less than half an inch thick. It also weighs next to nothing at 113grams.
You also get a startup guide and two cables. One is a USB Type-C to USB Type-C and the other a USB Type-C to USB Type-A. Both of these cables mean users are able to connect this drive to their hardware no matter the port. Of course, the true speed comes from a device with Type-C but we test that all out later on.
At first glance, the drive is impressive. To think there’s 2TB of storage in it and it packs those speeds is quite an exquisite design feat. But how does it perform? Well, it is a mixed bag most of the time mainly due to the other end of the transfer cable. For one, to make use of the true 2000MB/s speed you need to have the right equipment for it. This means your device needs to pack USB 3.2×2 compatible. These devices are hard to come by. Even some of the latest notebooks don’t include them. However, don’t be afraid they are coming and I am sure next-gen consoles will include them too.
So the best thing to do when testing a drive like this is to put it into a real-world scenario. Chances are, you don’t have one of these new fancy ports on your laptop or PC and that is okay. The WD_Black P50 Game Drive is built for the future and any current test I performed showed just how much potential the device has.
Benchmarks first. I used multiple speed test apps to get some idea on just how fast this drive is for the average users with a standard USB Type-C port. First, on my notebook which is an Acer Predator Helios 500, it packs a USB Type-C Gen 2 port. No, it is not a fancy 2×2 connector but it is a port most people have nowadays. Testing out the transfer rate using the AJA software resulted in exactly 900MB/sec on write and 950MB/s on read.
I performed multiple tests on this software and every time the results were one or two MB/s less or more. Seems that the WD_Black P50 Game Drive does max out the current generation Type-C port at 900MB/s write speed and 950MB/s read speed. We won’t get more than 1000MB/s on this configuration so this is pretty damn close to maxing it out. Swapping out the USB Type-C Gen 2 cable for the standard Type-A cable halved the speeds in half. This sort of gives you an idea of what speeds you can obtain when making use of older USB ports. This especially covers consoles which we test later on.
Another test using AS SSD benchmark showed the same results. 430-450MB/s for read and 440MB/s for write using USB Type-A. Switching to USB Type-C Gen 2, resulted in the same over 900MB/s speed for both read and write. If this proves anything, it is that this SSD means business and never let me down during tests. The same can be said for normal daily use. Copying files, playing games off the SSD and just generally using it as an external drive made a huge difference when it came to productivity and speed.
So what about console gaming? Well, the Western Digital WD_Black P50 Game Drive is a godsend when it comes to PS4 and Xbox One. I already used a standard 2TB external drive for both consoles so I know just how slow these drives can be. If there was one game that could do with a boost in speed it is Destiny 2. Gosh, it is slow on PS4 and everything about it is a chore. Opening a menu lags out, loading into areas takes minutes and even changing a weapon through your menu is a nightmare. I knew that if there was a game that would see a boost in performance thanks to the P50, it was this.
Setting up the drive on the PS4 is simple. Sure, I had to reformat it but I wanted it to be a long-term solution. I copied my games to the drive and launched Destiny 2. The PS4 Pro does not have any specific stats to read when it comes to data transfer but the boost was felt straight away. Destiny 2 booted in half the time it usually took to load the game up. The character menu loaded faster too, and flying into a destination was noticeably faster. Not to mention the smaller details. Usually, I can’t view a weapon while flying into a destination. With the WD_Black P50 I was able to see the weapon and apply shaders onto it while navigating through the menus with ease.
Really, the difference is night and day here. We also need to take into consideration that the PS4 Pro only has a USB 3 port which is probably capping at 450MB/s for read and write. Just imagine if the console had a USB Type-C port. The experience would be even better.
Other than Destiny 2, other games also saw a massive speed increase when it came to loading. Games booted up faster, loaded into levels quicker and menus were snappier than ever. It was nothing short of impressive.
So do I recommend the WD_Black P50? Hell yes. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. You won’t see the true capabilities of this drive unless you have a USB Gen 2×2 port but that does not matter. The Gen 1 and Gen 2 speed speak for themselves as the results are fantastic. The P50 has greatly improved my gaming and general use. Sure, the 2TB may be a little overkill in size but when Western Digital reached out to me for this campaign, I knew I wanted to test a drive that would be ready for the PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year. It is one of the most stylish and powerful storage devices I have ever used and to think I only got to see half of what it can truly do.
You also need to keep in mind that the starting prices are quite high for the P50 range. If you are never going to upgrade to a USB 2×2 port device then it may be a waste. You can get the same Gen 1 and Gen 2 performance from a device without the 2000MB/s rating. However, Western Digital does offer a 5-year warranty on this drive which means they have future-proofed it for years to come. If you want the best, this is it but just don’t expect it to deliver above 1000MB/s unless you have the ports. This drive is just a big investment for the future of storage and speed.
This Western Digital WD_Black P50 review is based on a device given to us as part of a trade exchange agreement with Western Digital. Find out more about the device here.