Sam­sung SSD 850 PRO

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by Kenny Yeo

The Sam­sung SSD 850 PRO is a break­through be­cause un­like other SSDs in the mar­ket, it is the first to make use of a com­pletely brand new type of NAND mem­ory called 3D Ver­ti­cal NAND, which was in­vented by Sam­sung and aims to over­come the lim­i­ta­tions of ex­ist­ing flash tech­nol­ogy.

Presently, flash man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­creas­ing mem­ory den­sity of NAND chips ei­ther by max­i­miz­ing the num­ber of cells per die by us­ing smaller process nodes or by in­creas­ing the num­ber of bits that can be stored per cell. Both meth­ods have been ef­fec­tive for the past cou­ple of years, but cells are now packed so closely to­gether that we have now come to a point where fur­ther re­duc­tion will im­pact per­for­mance, en­durance and re­li­a­bil­ity.

Sam­sung’s so­lu­tion to this is 3D Ver­ti­cal NAND and it takes these cells and stacks them on top of each other. This not only means that there can be more cells per die, but there is also in­creased space be­tween these cells, such that Sam­sung can use a larger process node to im­prove per­for­mance and en­durance. In fact, Sam­sung is so con­fi­dent about the en­durance of its new mem­ory that it says that they are good for 150TB of writes and is of­fer­ing a whop­ping a ten-year war­ranty on all of its new SSD 850 PRO drives.

Pow­er­ing the SSD 850 PRO is also Sam­sung’s tried-and-tested triple-core MEX con­troller, the same used in the very pop­u­lar SSD 840 EVO. And like the rest of Sam­sung’s other SSDs, the SSD 850 PRO will of­fer full disk 256-bit AES en­cryp­tion for se­cu­rity. The SSD 850 PRO will also sup­port Sam­sung’s sec­ond gen­er­a­tion RAPID mode, which can now use up to 2GB of your sys­tem’s mem­ory for caching to im­prove per­for­mance. As for in­ter­face, the drive uses SATA 6Gbps, which is un­for­tu­nate be­cause it now be­comes a bot­tle­neck for SSDs of this cal­iber.

At $329 for the 256GB vari­ant, the SSD 850 PRO might be pricey, but it is also the fastest drive we have ever tested and hand­ily beats other high-end SSDs such as the OCZ Vec­tor 150, SanDisk Ex­treme II and Plex­tor M5 Pro Xtreme. It shines in all bench­marks with only the ag­ing SATA 6Gbps in­ter­face hold­ing it back. For those who can wait, Sam­sung has said that M.2 and PCIe vari­ants are ex­pected to be avail­able later this year.

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