One of our former best gaming SSD picks, the WD Blue SN550, is down to just £140 on Amazon for a massive 2TB model. That's a historic low price by around £15 and a good £40 what it cost just a few weeks ago, making this a very good time to pick up a high performance NVMe SSD on the cheap.
The SN550 is quite special because it's one of the first NVMe SSDs to be sold even cheaper than a 2TB SATA drive, despite being significantly faster than a SATA drive in most instances. That's down to the fact that the SN550 lacks a DRAM cache, a relatively expensive component that boosts performance - especially for reading and writing small files - and also increases drive longevity. However, modern designs have found a way to go without these DRAM caches, pushing the cost of the drive down without hurting performance in a way that's noticeable in most use cases. So for an OS drive, or for content creation, a DRAM cache probably makes sense - but for game storage, I'd argue it's not particularly necessary.
Despite its DRAM-less philosophy, the SN550 is still plenty fast. As an NVMe SSD, it's not limited to the 550MB/s reads and writes that SATA drives are, instead hitting up to 2400MB/s reads and 1800MB/s writes - around four times faster. Random speeds are not as good as fancier PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 drives with DRAM, but they're not bad either - and they're way faster than a hard drive that you would have had to buy to get this kind of capacity at a reasonable price just a few years ago. The SN550 also surprisingly long-lasting, with a 900 TBW (terabytes written) endurance rating and a five-year warranty.
So: pretty good deal, right? I think so - but there is something you should be aware of. WD was recently put under fire for silently changing the composition of the SN550, with some newer drives coming with slower QLC NAND instead of the previous TLC. Peak speeds are fine - in fact, they're marginally better with the new components - but sustained speeds after the drive's SLC cache have been exhausted are around half the speed of the old model. It's not clear from the description which drive you'll get here, but it's worth checking if you'll be using the drive as your OS drive. For gaming, it's unlikely you'll notice the difference, so the recommendation stands.
With that, we come to the end of this particular deals post. Thanks for joining me and stay tuned for one final deal for this week - this time on the other side of the Atlantic. Cheers!