THE GAME CHANGER
Samsung SSD 850 PRO
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.