Storage at one point was a major bottleneck for consumer PCs. Graphics cards and CPUs evolved to allow for more data to be handled with ease but storage still wasn't fast enough or large enough. Western Digital is modernizing the embedded world with two new NVMe SSDs that offer improved speed and capacity over previous options.
Western Digital's PC SN520 and SN720 are targeted towards Internet of Things devices, thin and light 2-in-1 laptops and smart city monitoring systems. Both drives are built on a new controller architecture and firmware that take advantage of the newest 3D NAND available.
The SN520 arrives in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities in M.2 2280, M.2 2242 and M.2 2230 form factors with lifetime ratings of 100 TBW, 200 TBW and 300 TBW, respectively. Opting for the more premium SN720 allows a choice of 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB, all on one side of an M.2 2280 board. Being touted as a performance drive, the SN720 offers 3,400MB/s and 2,800MB/s sequential read/write speeds and also carries a five-year warranty.
Looking at the SN520, it is clearly focused on power efficiency and fitting into smaller spaces. The 256GB SN520 has sequential read/write speeds of 1,700MB/s and 1,300MB/s. All three capacities use just 75mW of power on average and slide all the way down to 25mW in a low-power mode.
For reference, a current generation Western Digital Black M.2 SSD is only rated for 80 TBW on the 256GB model and averages approximately 135mW of power draw. Longer lasting and efficient SSDs for embedded solutions could mean less waiting time at point-of-sale terminals, gas pumps and ATMs.