Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & Accessories

WD Black P40 Game Drive Review: Fast External SSD With RGB

The storage professionals at Western Digital have launched a new external SSD in the WD_Black series, which is primarily aimed at gamers. Of course, in addition to a high speed, colorful RGB lighting should not be missing, right? Our WD Black P40 Game Drive Review clarifies what the memory has to offer and whether it’s worth buying.

Technical data

The product P40 Game Drive
Capacity 500 GB; 1 TB; 2 TB (test model)
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps, Type-C);
Max. Read/write speed (MB/s) 2.000 / 2.000
Special features
shock-resistant from a drop height of up to 2 m
Scope of delivery external SSD, USB-C to USB-C cable (0.59 m), USB-C to USB-A adapter
Dimensions 107 mm x 50.8 mm x 13 mm (W x H x D)
Weight 79 g
Warranty period 5 years
Price
€ 223.99 *

WD Black P40 Game Drive Review: Design and workmanship

  • Robust industrial design
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Comparatively large and heavy

External SSDs now come in all shapes and colors. There are compact solutions such as the Crucial X10 Pro (our test), more robust rubber housings such as the Samsung T9 (our test) or the shock-resistant jack-of-all-trades such as the Sandisk Professional Pro-G40 (our test).

The WD Black P40 Game Drive falls more into the latter category. It takes up the black design that is not only in the name, but has also characterized the storage solutions of the gaming label for years.

With dimensions of 107 mm x 50.8 mm x 13 mm and a weight of 79 grams, the P40 Game Drive is undoubtedly one of the bulkier external SSDs. And it makes this abundantly clear with its robust, screwed aluminum frame and ribbed top and bottom. On the other hand, the memory should be able to withstand drops from a height of two meters without damage.

The only connection in the form of a USB 3.2 Gen 2 x2 Type-C port is slightly recessed on the right-hand side of the housing. However, there is a special feature on the underside, as there are LED RGB light strips on the left and right under the frame. Both shine in bright colors and can also be customized in combination with the companion app.

The simple and admittedly appealing industrial design is a real eye-catcher. Not least thanks to the RGB lighting. There’s not much to complain about in terms of workmanship either. Although our test sample does look quite worn with scuffs and scratches on the underside.

In addition to a manual, the manufacturer includes a USB-C to USB-C cable with a length of 59 centimeters and a matching USB-A adapter in the handy box.

Further equipment and features

  • Wide compatibility
  • 5-year warranty
  • No hardware encryption

The WD Black P40 Game Drive is compatible with most operating systems. These include Windows and macOS, for example. However, the external SSD is also aimed at owners of game consoles.

Both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S as well as the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 are served. However, there is one restriction here. Games from the current generation of consoles cannot be launched from the external SSD. Only storage data and media can be archived here.

However, Xbox One and PS4 games can be saved and played directly from the P40. And the same naturally applies to PC games from Steam and more.

The WD Black P40 Game Drive does not offer hardware encryption. In addition, the SSD operates in a temperature range between -20°C and 65°C. The maximum operating temperature is specified between 0°C and 45°C.

The P40 Game Drive is available in three capacities of 500 GB, 1 terabyte and 2 terabytes. All models are based on the fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 x2 standard, which transfers data at up to 20 Gbps.

Incidentally, under the aluminum hood, the manufacturer installs the NVMe SSD SN560E with PCIe 3.0 x4 connection and TLC NAND, which, however, comes without DRAM. This also explains the lower price compared to the (more expensive and larger) WD Black P50 Game Drive, which has the SN750E with DRAM.

As optional accompanying software, the external SSD can be linked to the WD_Black Dashboard, which is unfortunately only available for Windows. The app provides information about the status and temperature of the storage solution, the current performance and allows you to adjust the RGB lighting in a wide variety of colors and effects.

Performance test of the WD Black P40 Game Drive

  • Very good performance values
  • Weaknesses in 4K reading

According to the manufacturer, the WD Black P40 Game Drive is capable of up to 2,000 MB/s read and write speeds. The 500 GB version is slightly lower at 1,950 MB/s for sequential writing.

I can also confirm these values in the test on a suitable USB-C port. In CrystalDiskMark 8, the P40 even achieves 2,147.10 MB/s read and 2,004.10 MB/s write, leaving both the Crucial X10 Pro and the Samsung T9 behind.

The WD_Black SSD is also ahead in sequential reading with 128 kB files and 32 queues (SEQ128KQ32T1), and the same applies to random 4K reading and writing with 32 queues and 16 threads (RND4K Q32T16). Here, the P40 achieves almost twice as high values as its Samsung counterpart.

The situation is similar in the AS SSD benchmark. Here I achieve 1,948.05 MB/s reading and 1,879.70 MB/s writing.

WD Black P40 Game Drive

The WD Black P40 Game Drive scores particularly well in the 4K-64Thrd performance and access times, although there are slight weaknesses in 4K reading, where the external SSD falls behind Samsung’s T9. Nevertheless, 1,827 points is a strong overall result. A top value.

Practice, gaming and warmth

  • Power loss under continuous load
  • High temperatures under load

However, it turns out that the WD Black P40 Game Drive cannot quite maintain this performance under continuous load. Over a span of 32 gigabytes, the write performance drops noticeably (1,342.97 MB/s in CrystalDiskMark, 753.78 MB/s in AS SSD).

This is not surprising and quite normal because the SLC cache fills up quickly. At the same time, the external SSD heats up significantly under load, which CrystalDiskInfo shows very well.

After starting at 20°C, the storage solution reached a temperature of a whopping 60°C when copying a Steam folder with a size of around 150 GB, and you can clearly feel this on the aluminum housing. The P40 Game Drive is undoubtedly a hothead,

When copying the folder in question, the performance drops significantly relatively quickly, but then recovers. The speed stabilizes at around 527 MB/s.

In the DirectStorageBenchmark (Avocados), which is interesting for gaming applications, the WD_Black once again clearly beats the Samsung T9. In the end, a storage bandwidth of 5.29 GB/s is provided.

The T9 achieves 4.21 GB/s here, while the Crucial X10 Pro achieves 6.32 GB/s. For comparison: My internally installed NVMe SSD Samsung 990 Pro provides a bandwidth of 26.31 GB per second.

WD Black P40 Game Drive
The WD Black P40 Game Drive delivers a very good result in the DirectStorage benchmark

The test uses Microsoft’s DirectStorage API to load data from mass storage (in this case the external SSD) directly to the graphics card bypassing the CPU. This should reduce loading times.

WD Black P40 Game Drive Test: Conclusion

The RGB lighting alone means that the WD Black P40 Game Drive is primarily aimed at gamers. And they are undoubtedly well served by the external SSD. The storage solution scores with high speeds and broad compatibility.

The 4K-64 performance, which is important in games, is particularly impressive. When copying large amounts of data, however, the performance drops very quickly, which is naturally annoying. The above-average heat development under load is also to be criticized.

Finally, there is the price, which is a little too high, at least at the manufacturer’s RRP. In the meantime, however, it has come closer to the competition, but is still somewhat higher than the market prices of the Samsung T9 or Crucial X10 Pro.

These, on the other hand, score points with hardware encryption and a much more manageable design, but are slightly inferior in terms of performance. All in all, the WD Black P40 Game Drive is a recommendable external SSD with unique RGB lighting.

WD Black P40 Game Drive Test: Silver Award

WD Black P40 Game Drive

Access times
Transfer rate (read)
Transfer rate (write)
Value for money

88/100

High-quality and robust external SSD with convincing speeds, but which gets very warm under load and loses performance.

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The storage professionals at Western Digital have launched a new external SSD in the WD_Black series, which is primarily aimed at gamers. Of course, in addition to a high speed, colorful RGB lighting should not be missing, right? Our WD Black P40 Game Drive Review clarifies what the memory has to offer and whether it’s worth buying. Technical data The product P40 Game Drive Capacity 500 GB; 1 TB; 2 TB (test model) Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps, Type-C); Max. Read/write speed (MB/s) 2.000 / 2.000 Special features shock-resistant from a drop height of up to 2 m Scope … (Weiterlesen...)

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