The WD_Black AN1500 Add-in-Card is an interesting storage product that may be appealing to those looking to get the most from their available PCIe 3.0 x8 slots on their desktop board. Our 2TB AN1500 test sample managed to reach 6,539.10 MB/s read and 4,418.59 MB/s write on CrystalDiskMark 7! Impressive speeds no doubt, but that wasn’t enough to keep the WD_Black AN1500 at the top of the performance charts.
The WD_Black AN1500 2TB AIC performance excellent in some benchmarks and underwhelming in others. The sustained write performance in our custom large file test was over 1600 MB/s and it was able to read a compressed file at over 2400 MB/s. Those scores had it in either 1st or 2nd place among the over two dozen other drives that we have. Then in PCMark 10, a test that Western Digital likes, the AN1500 2TB card barely made it in top 10. We shared our results with WD days before this article was published to ensure accuracy and they never responded to our performance concerns. It is a mixed bag when it comes to performance, but it is fast.
You then need to keep in mind that this is a RAID0 array that you are dealing with. If either one of the two drives inside the WD_Black AN1500 fail then you are going to have a bad day. RAID0 is not for everyone and you must keep frequent backups. We’ve had many RAID0 arrays fail over the years, so it is something that needs to be pointed out in any review. We asked WD for guidance on endurance and they were unable to provide any TBW ratings for the AN1500 series.
Pricing for the WD_Black AN1500 RAID0 NVMe Gen3 x8 AIC is $299.99 for the 1TB card, $549.99 on the 2TB card and $999.99 for the largest 4TB model. A single Samsung SSD 980 PRO 1TB PCIe Gen 4.0 drive is priced at $229.99 and was faster in most benchmarks. The WD_Black AN1500 AIC is pretty impressive, but it came to market too late to make a significant impact. Hopefully we see WD introduce this AIC with their new SN850 PCIe Gen 4.0 drives inside really soon. That would be an impressive RAID0 array that should beat everything around.
We should also point out that the WD_Black SN850 2TB drive is priced at $479 and should delivers more performance than the WD_Black AN1500 2TB that runs $549.99. We understand that every system supports PCIe 4.0 (cough Intel), but PCIe 4.0 is the future and that makes the WD_Black AN1500 something tough to recommend at this point in time.
Legit Bottom Line: The WD_Black AN1500 AIC is fast, but PCIe Gen 4.0 drives are here and you have to deal with a RAID0 array.