Sam­sung 860 Evo 1TB and 860 Pro 1TB SATA SSD

The best just got bet­ter

PCPOWERPLAY - - Tech // Reviews - PRICE $ 469 ( EVO), $ 659 ( PRO) www.sam­ CHRIS SZEWCZYK

ground break­ing in terms of re­li­a­bil­ity and will likely sur­vive many years of heavy duty oper­a­tion

It­seems like it’s been for­ever since the leg­endary Sam­sung 850 Pro and Evo SSDs launched. Al­most un­be­liev­ably, we have to go all the way back to 2014 since we saw the first it­er­a­tions of the 850 se­ries. The com­pe­ti­tion never re­ally man­aged to catch up and when you’re the top dog in the mar­ket, there’s lit­tle com­mer­cial rea­son to shake things up. The 850 Evo in par­tic­u­lar is prob­a­bly the best con­sumer SATA SSD ever made due to its un­ri­valled com­bi­na­tion of value, per­for­mance, re­li­a­bil­ity and brand recog­ni­tion. The 850 Pro has been the long time per­for­mance leader which makes it equally im­por­tant. Now we’re well into 2018 though; the com­pe­ti­tion has fi­nally caught up and a be­he­moth like Sam­sung is not known for al­low­ing any chal­lenge to its mar­ket dom­i­nance. En­ter the Sam­sung 860 se­ries.


Both 860 mod­els are equipped with the lat­est Sam­sung 64-layer 3D V-NAND. The com­pany claims its 64-layer NAND is 30% more en­ergy ef­fi­cient com­pared to its pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion 48-layer NAND. Im­pres­sive! The 860 Evo con­tains 3-bit TLC mem­ory, while the Pro ver­sion uses 2-bit MLC. In sim­pli­fied terms TLC is cheaper to man­u­fac­ture and is bet­ter suited to con­sumer drives (like the 860 Evo) while the MLC found in the Pro ver­sion has bet­ter per­for­mance and dura­bil­ity. Sam­sung has also up­dated the con­troller. The new MJX con­troller sup­ports low power DDR4 cache and op­er­ates at 1GHz, al­most dou­ble the speed of its pre­de­ces­sor.

The drives have some im­pres­sive per­for­mance rat­ings. The 860 Pro is rated for up to 560/530 MB/s read and write speeds while the 860 Evo isn’t far be­hind with 550/520 MB/s. Most de­cent SATA SSDs are ca­pa­ble of se­quen­tial trans­fers around these lev­els though. The In/Out op­er­a­tions per sec­ond are rated at 100K/90K ran­dom read and write speeds for the 860 Pro while the Evo is ca­pa­ble of 98K/90K. These are ex­cel­lent num­bers.

The life­time en­durance rat­ing of both drives has been mas­sively im­proved. The 860 Evo 1TB is rated for 600 Ter­abytes writ­ten, while the 860 Pro 1TB is rated for 1200 Ter­abytes writ­ten. Num­bers like these are ground break­ing in terms of re­li­a­bil­ity ex­pec­ta­tions for con­sumer drives and will likely sur­vive many years of heavy duty oper­a­tion. Both the Pro and Evo come with five year war­ranties, but with these en­durance rat­ings, there’s no rea­son not to ex­pect the drives to work for a lot longer than five years.

Sup­port for the 860 se­ries is in­cluded with lat­est ver­sion of the Sam­sung Ma­gi­cian soft­ware. There’s bench­mark, se­cure erase and mon­i­tor­ing tools along with an over-pro­vi­sion­ing ap­pli­ca­tion. Over-pro­vi­sion­ing (to cre­ate more re­serve blocks) is prob­a­bly not needed when you have a drive with a crazy high ex­pected life span though. Of course both drives comes with AES en­cryp­tion sup­port.


As ex­pected, the per­for­mance of both drives is very strong, Se­quen­tial tests show lit­tle dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween them though ob­vi­ously they are bot­tle­necked by the SATA 6GB/s lim­i­ta­tion. Crys­tal Disk Mark re­sults are more or less right at SATA ceil­ing of 560 MB/s read speeds while writes are at about 530 MB/s - right where Sam­sung claims they are. Ran­dom 4K reads and writes are a lit­tle more in­ter­est­ing. We

ex­pected the 860 Pro to have a good sized lead here, but the mar­gin is quite close. Per­haps firmware up­grades will wring out the fi­nal few per­cent of per­for­mance there.

Our sec­ond bench­mark is Anvil’s Stor­age Util­i­ties that as­signs a score based on the over­all per­for­mance of the drive across a range of work­loads. Both 860 drives are atop the SATA SSD rank­ings. The 860 pro in par­tic­u­lar shows off its prow­ess in the In/Out op­er­a­tions sub tests.

Fi­nally we have AS-SSD. This is a de­mand­ing test that pro­vides very re­li­able over­all drive mea­sure­ments. Again the Sam­sung drives pull clear of the al­ready ex­cel­lent per­for­mance of the Cru­cial MX500.

Sam­sung has re­gained the per­for­mance crown. Both the Pro and Evo per­form some­what sim­i­larly on the sur­face, but dig­ging deeper re­veals the Pro has a de­cent lead when un­der heavy load with lots of IOPS. This is ex­actly what we ex­pect. The Evo is suited for con­sumers, while the Pro is bet­ter suited to a work­sta­tion or even en­ter­prise en­vi­ron­ment. The cost cer­tainly re­flects this. CAN WE EX­PECT ANY­THING MORE FROM SATA? The SATA 6GB/s stan­dard has been a ma­jor bot­tle­neck for SSDs for years, which leads to the ques­tion: Are we get­ting any re­al­is­tic per­for­mance im­prove­ment be­tween SSD gen­er­a­tions? Out­side of bench­marks, the an­swer is no. NVMe is the fu­ture of stor­age per­for­mance. So, when per­for­mance be­comes a sec­ondary prod­uct dif­fer­en­tia­tor, we’re left with value as the pri­mary pur­chase fac­tor. This is where the 860 se­ries hits a wall. Com­peti­tors like the Cru­cial MX500 and Western Dig­i­tal 3D Blue are also push­ing the lim­its of the SATA stan­dard, yet cost sig­nif­i­cantly less. The 860 Pro is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent as it’s not re­ally po­si­tioned as a con­sumer drive, though it too is very ex­pen­sive putting it well into the fir­ing line of premium NVMe SSDs. The 860 Pro has some unique fea­tures though par­tic­u­larly re­lat­ing to its NAS and RAID ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The Sam­sung 860 Evo is an ex­cel­lent SSD, but as it stands now, it is sim­ply too ex­pen­sive to rec­om­mend when there are strong com­peti­tors like the Cru­cial MX500 that are sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper. All it takes is a price cut though, some­thing Sam­sung will very likely do if the 860 se­ries life­cy­cle is any­where near as long as the 850 se­ries. For now, the MX500 re­mains our top pick, though if the price drops, The 860 Evo would prob­a­bly be­come our top choice again.

The 860 Pro is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Its pric­ing is very high in­deed. The 1TB model is priced higher than the much faster NVMe 960 Evo which makes the choice a no-brainer for many users. Hav­ing said that, if you need the fastest SATA SSD avail­able, then you will be very im­pressed and you may well end up own­ing the fastest SATA SSD that will ever be made.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.