WD_Black AN1500 NVMe SSD RAID Card Review
Western Digital Goes PCIe 3.0 x8 with AN1500 AIC
PCI Express Gen 4.0 might be all the rage these days, but Western Digital is by no means giving up on the PCIe Gen3 interface that is used on millions of desktop PCs. Proof of that is the introduction of the WD_Black AN1500 NVMe SSD Add-in-Card (AIC) that is being announced today. This bootable PCIe Gen 3.0 x8 AIC features two M.2 NVMe SSDs in RAID0 for speeds of up to 6500MB/s read and 4100MB/s write. Oh, and it has customizable RGB lighting that ensures your PC also looks good while giving you those blistering speeds.
The WD_Black AN1500 RAID0 NVMe Gen3 x8 AIC is available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities. Suggested retail pricing is $299.99 on the 1TB card, $549.99 on the 2TB card and $999.99 for the largest 4TB model.
We were sent out the WD_Black AN1500 2TB model to review.
Inside the box you get the AIC and some booklets that cover the installation, 5-year warranty and where you can download the WD_Black Dashboard.
Both the sides of the WD_Black AN1500 are covered with aluminum plates that double as a large heatsink.
The heatsink on the WD_Black AN1500 is functional as this card does get pretty toasty thanks to having two NVMe drives under the hood along with a hardware RAID controller. The power consumption at idle power is 8.5 Watts and the peak read/write active power consumption tops out at 15.7 Watts.
The heatsink for the AN1500 AIC is held on by four Allen head screws and the card can be quickly disassembled.
Under the thick thermal pads we discovered that Western Digital PC SN730 NVMe SSDs are being used on the AN1500 series. This drive uses an in-house WD controller with BiCS4 96-layer TLC NAND Flash.
A Marvell 88NR2241-BWW2 NVMe switch that handles RAID0 array that WD is using on the AN1500.
No major components are on the back of the card, so after taking pictures we put it back together and tossed into our test system.
Our test system for storage drive uses an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Processor on an ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (Wi-Fi) board. There is only one slot that on this platform that is capable of running a PCIe Gen 3.0 x8 card and that would be the primary graphics slot. The bottom slot is PCIe 4.0 x16 (max at x4 mode), so we dropped our Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics card down to the x4 slot in order for the WD_Black AN1500 run in full PCIe Gen 3.0 x8 mode. You will need to figure out how your boards lanes are configured if you want to go with an add-in-card solution like the AN1500.
That said, the WD_Black AN1500 is simply stunning. It looks amazing installed!
Let’s take a look at the test system and then show you how the WD_Black AN1500 AIC performed in our test system!