Samsung SSD 850 EVO – A Quick Review

It’s been only a few short months since Samsung’s 850 Pro delivered the company’s long-lasting 32-bit 3D NAND to the high-end/corporate market. Now it’s available to mainstream consumers in the form of the 850 EVO. The EVO is cheaper, and its warranty is only half that of the Pro’s, but that’s still a hefty five years—what most vendors provide only for their premium drives.

The 850 EVO, announced today, is a mainstream client SSD that is designed for superior performance and reliability during everyday computing. Samsung has really been hitting it out of the park with their storage devices these past few years, so we are always excited to see what their new SSDs are capable of with each iteration. If the 840 EVO is any indication of how well its successor will perform, Samsung’s new SSD has a ton of potential to be relevant for a very long time. We have added this drive also to our fastest ssd 2015 list for the great features and performance it offers which you will recognize if you continue reading.

Samsung 850 Evo SSD

Under the hood lays 3D V‐NAND technology with TurboWrite for improved performance and Samsung’s in-house controllers. This will allow the 850 EVO to offer a better user experience than 840 EVO as well as up to 1.9x faster random write speeds for the 120GB and 250 GB models, says Samsung. The architecture of the 850 EVO actually blends technology from both the EVO and Pro lines. On the NAND side, the TLC evolution of V-NAND picks up from the PRO series which has been using V-NAND for half a year. On the controller side, Samsung actually uses two in this line, a lower power 2-core MGX for the smaller capacities and the standard 3-core MEX for the 1TB SSD that was also used in the 850 Pro.

The combination of hardware and firmware tuning gives the SSD 850 EVO pretty impressive sequential read and write speeds across all capacities, with 540MB/s and 520MB/s respectively. In addition, the 850 EVO offers a 5-year warranty and impressive endurance numbers. The SSD 850 EVO supports Total Bytes Written (TBW) of 75TBW for the 120/250GB drives and 150TBW for the 500GB/1TB capacities. This is up from 44TBW in the 840 EVO, a direct benefit of the move to 3D V‐NAND Flash which allows for greater endurance.

Samsung’s new 850 EVO also comes equipped with various power‐saving functionality, with the company claiming that the driver actually saves up to 30% more on power than the 840 EVO during write operations. This is in part due to its use of the above mentioned 3D V‐NAND, which consumes half the power of Planar 2D NAND-based SSDs. In addition, the 850 EVO features support for Device Sleep at 2mW (for the 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB models), allowing for longer battery life in supported systems.

The 850 EVO offers the same security features as the Pro version. It’s self-encrypting and offers support for both OPAL 2.0 and Microsoft’s eDrive (Bitlocker Encrypted Drive) specifications. Samsung also plays up the drive’s low power consumption, claiming that V-NAND uses 20 percent less juice than similar 2D NAND.

Samsung’s Magician software is bundled with the 850 EVO and used to enable the drive’s RAPID mode—basically a fancy DRAM cache using the system’s main memory. As always, I must warn you that caching data before it hits the disk can be hazardous. Should something go awry before data leaves the cache, it could be lost, or worst case—render your operating system unbootable. SSDs are so fast already, I always turn off Windows’ own caching.

Magician also lets you tweak Windows for SSD use (write caching, buffer flushing, file indexing, etc.), TRIM the drive, change the over-provisioning (storage set aside to replace worn-out and bad cells, etc.), and secure-erase the drive and enable the advanced encryption features. If your SSD is frozen by the BIOS in a non-erasable state, it will even create a boot USB drive or CD that you can use to erase the drive outside of Windows.


Best SSD October 2015Overall this SSD shines at many factors and on all levels really, IOPS performance is very good. This SSD writes and reads serious amounts of tiny files in a very fast fashion. As stated before, IOPS is not something you as a consumer should worry about too much unless you are doing a lot of database related work or create similar workloads on your PC, but this SSD certainly ranks high within this aspect. Trace testing – we think by far the best test in the entire benchmark suite is PCMark Vantage 64-bit. This is a trace test and can emulate what you guys do on your PC but then multiplied by factor 100, this test puts more focus on read performance opposed to writing though. The outcome of the results with the Samsung EVO are nuts, exceptionally good. Sustained read / write performance, again excellent. Read performance in particular leads and is top ranking. Overall the 850 EVO series is impressive. Zoom in at both IOPS and trace performance and you’ll notice that the SSD can manage serious workloads without breaking so much as a drop of sweat. So whether you write lots of small files, copy big MKV movies or do it all together, the 850 EVO remains a top dog on all fronts. For that we have included this drive to be in the best SSD of September 2015 list.


Best SSD September 2015Performance overall is very good but no huge improvements over the 840 EVO and certainly not one that users will be able to perceive. In terms of published specifications, the 540MB/s reads and 520MB/s writes are unchanged from the 840 EVO but the IOPS performance does get some improvements with 7K more on low queue depth writes and up to 53K more on high queue depth writes for the 120GB and 250GB drives. Write performance is bolstered by TurboWrite which really solidifies writes using an SLC cache to buffer the data. It’s supposedly enhanced this time around but what those enhancements are weren’t communicated to us. That doesn’t factor in the performance improvements offered by RAPID mode which is difficult to measure objectively with benchmarks because it causes a wide range of unpredictable results because it’s not designed to support those kinds of operations. As far as we can tell with virtually no inside info from Samsung, the MGX controller appears to be essentially a MEX controller with some minor updates unless you grab the 1TB drive which has the MEX controller. However, there’s speculation that it only has two ARM processor cores, not three. For support, the warranty has been bumped up to 5-years which is becoming the new norm and does support AES 256‐bit hardware‐based encryption as well as TCG Opal and IEEE 1667.

Of course, the 3D V-NAND is the big difference for this drive which allows for less NAND packages and therefore requires less juice to run it. Low power consumption is a key feature of both the 840 and 850 EVO drives and the latter supports DEVSLP using a miniscule 2mW for all but the 1TB drive which doubles up to 4mW.

The 840 EVO is still a good choice with minimally less performance but no support for DEVSLP. The 850 Pro will be the choice for those more performance oriented, especially as the pricing for the 850 EVO hovers around MSRP a bit after launch.

This drive is an appealing choice for laptop and notebook computers and honestly we prefer it on Samsung 850 Pro for that specific purpose. Moreover, regular/mainstream gamers can find their match in this drive and we cannot recommend any better for them. [Check our best gaming SSD list of 2015]

According to StorageReview’s consumer real-world benchmarks, the 850 EVO really ran away from the pack. In the productivity profile, the 1TB 850 Pro drive boasted incredible performance, taking first spot by a large margin in speed, throughput and latency, with 399.77MB/s, 13,585 IOPS, and 0.574ms respectively. The HTPC profile told a similar story, but this time the 250GB model was right up there with the 1TB capacity, both of which took the top two spots in all three tests. When looking at our gaming benchmark, the 250GB 850 EVO model set a new bar for client SSDs, though most of the drives performed very similar.

Overall, the Samsung 850 EVO is an incredibly impressive drive with bar-setting performance, a solid design, and Samsung reliability. The 850 EVO is so good in fact, it even topped the 850 PRO in many areas and we can’t wait to see what Samsung does with the 860 Pro (or whatever naming convention they decide to go with). Given the performance and the price profile that will quickly resemble that of the 840 EVO in retail, we really can’t recommend this drive enough for those who want the best combination of performance, endurance and cost. Samsung has impressed yet again, topping themselves with an excellent drive on nearly all fronts.

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