Discussion WD Black 500GB NVMe - performance tanks suddenly


I wanted to see if others have had similar experience with the WD Black NVMe. The drive was a little under a year old.

About two month ago, my drive's performance tanked. I had just installed RDR2 for the second time (stupid R* beta updates killing game performance) and noticed some random sluggishness. I didn't think anything of it at first but then when I ran some benchmarks my jaw hit the floor. Drive performance was now a fraction of what it used to be! I opened up WD SSD dashboard and the program reported nothing wrong - I was still at 100% drive life remaining and all the drive tests (SMART) reported everything as optimal.
The only two things I can think of is that either the drive is defective or I hit some hidden 'high water' mark on drive usage (maybe TBW?). With two full installs of RDR2, among other things, I probably went through 350-400GBs over the course of 5 days or so and the drive did get up to 75% full at its most full point. I know that these drives have some complex algorithms at work to make the drive last as long as possible, but I never thought they could cause this much of a performance degradation.
Luckily, I had a good experience with WD support. After detailing my case (I had plenty of before and after statistics) they replaced my drive under warranty, without issues.

Drive performance before it tanked (and now with new drive) -

Drive performance when tanked even though SSD dashboard showed drive was still in excellent condition -

Personally, I think the drive was faulty. I plan to use this new drive similarly so we'll see if it holds up. Has anyone else had a similar experience with the WD Black NVMe?