We’ve been waiting for the moment when Western Digital was going to leverage their relationship with SanDisk to fill out the higher-end. The WD Blue SSD was a good start and now they’re near to releasing the WD Black PCIe-based SSD line.

WD Black SSD

WD Black will come in 256GB and 512GB varieties

They haven’t released the full specificaitons, though we do know that initially the Black Series SSDs will be available in those two capacities. It most definitely makes use of the NVMe 1.2 protocol though they’ve been mum about the controller and the type of NAND included. Performance is said to be around 2050MB/s for sequential reads and 800MB/s for writes. Those do not sound like top-tier results, however, considering that some PCIe controlled SSDs are capable of much more. In fact, that’s quite low for this generation using PCIe 3.0 x4.

Western Digital has a partnership with ASUS, it seems, to ensure that their motherboards are fully compatible with the Black series upon release.

“ASUS is dedicated to advancing technologies and leading innovation. WD and ASUS worked closely together to ensure that the WD Black PCIe SSD delivers performance that our customers expect with hassle-free installation and use. With the latest ASUS motherboards and WD Black PCIe SSDs, gamers can focus on winning rather than the distraction of waiting for games or levels to load,” said Joe Hsieh, corporate vice president and general manager, Motherboard Business Unit and New Product Planning Division, ASUS.

These drives will be available for $109 and $199 for the 256GB and 512GB drives respectively along with a five year warranty. They’ll be available in the first half of 2017.