Device Features and Characteristics

A quick overview of the internal capabilities of the storage devices is given by CrystalDiskInfo. The drive information doesn't change based on the host. This also serves to verify that S.M.A.R.T access (and despite not being mentioned explicitly, TRIM support also) is available irrespective of the port that the drives connect to.

Drive Information

CrystalDiskInfo confirms the internal SSDs being used in the WD_BLACK P50 and the SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD v2 to be the SN750E and SN730E respectively. Prior to looking at the usage characteristics of the various drives, it is helpful to compare their specifications and also take a look at the internals.

Direct-Attached Storage Characteristics
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C
Bridge / Controller ASMedia ASM2364
SanDisk 20-82-007011
ASMedia ASM2364
SanDisk 20-82-007011
Flash SanDisk BiCS 4 96L 3D TLC SanDisk BiCS 3 64L 3D TLC
Power Bus Powered Bus Powered
Physical Dimensions 57.34 mm x 110.26 mm x 10.22 mm 62 mm x 118 mm x 14 mm
IP Rating IP55 N/A
Weight 85 grams (without cable) 115 grams (without cable)
Cable USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C to Type-C
USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-A
(30cm each)
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C to Type-C
USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-A
(30cm each)
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Yes
UASP Support Yes Yes
TRIM Passthrough Yes Yes
Encryption Support Hardware (SanDisk SecureAccess App) N/A

The key difference is that our review samples have a SN750-class NVMe SSD equipped with 64L 3D TLC in the WD_BLACK P50, and 96L 3D TLC in the SanDisk Extreme PRO v2. The former doesn't have hardware encryption enabled (and even software encryption with the WD Security app is not available). The latter uses the SanDisk SecureAccess App to activate the hardware encryption.

The teardown galleries above shows the significant amount of thermal design in both drives. The presence of the ASMedia ASM2364 bridge chip in both drives is also confirmed. The SanDisk Extreme PRO has a significant chunk of aluminum directly in touch with the thermal pad / covering for the heat-generating components of the internal boards. A clasp is also seen on the Type-C port to help achieve the IP55 rating. In contrast, the WD_BLACK P50 appears over-engineered with a large number of thermal pads, a separate aluminum heat-sink, and a thermal pad on top of that heat sink. Since the underside of the P50 is plastic, a metal flap is also placed between it and the internal SSD assembly. Overall, the thermal design appears fairly effective, and its evaluation report is provided in a subsequent section.

Testbed Travails Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and CrystalDiskMark
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  • vol.2 - Monday, October 5, 2020 - link

    So wait for USB4 devices then?
  • boredsysadmin - Monday, October 5, 2020 - link

    No, USB 3.3 Rev 2 Gen 5 10.13 Final
  • vol.2 - Monday, October 5, 2020 - link

    So USB4 will be gimped to 10gb rates for USB4 devices? Regardless, what makes you say 3.3, etc?
  • magreen - Monday, October 5, 2020 - link

    He's joking. Poking fun at the ridiculous (re)naming conventions of the USB-IF
  • Guspaz - Monday, October 5, 2020 - link

    It's like they're determined to intentionally come up with the most obtuse and confusing naming conventions possible. Which is how you end up with a situation where USB 3.0 == USB 3.1 Gen 1 == USB 3.2 Gen 1x1 == SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps, because having four different names for exactly the same thing is obviously the right approach.
  • BikeDude - Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - link

    Screw you guys.

    I'm sticking with USB _Full_ Speed. That is the fastest of them all. Full speed ahead!

  • Alistair - Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - link

    it's a year later, and I'm still laughing so hard at this thread :)
  • throAU - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    This is no accident. The USB consortium is run by PC vendors who want to be able to call their crappy old widget from last year USB 3.2 without any hardware change, and hide the fact that it is old and slow in the fine print.
  • throAU - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    USB 4.1 Gen 1 will probably still be 5 gigabit
  • Huzzam - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    no way man, i'm sticking with USB 3.3. Rev 2 Gen 5 10.12 beta... so called "final" causes covid and gayness, one of which is really bad

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