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Monday | July 13, 2020
Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review

Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review

Since entering the SSD market Samsung have created some very impressive drives. In the early drives, when other manufacturers were struggling for reliability, they were seen as being industry leading on that front. In more recent times we have seen them offer top notch performance in their Pro series drives while offering more value orientated products in the Evo range. The most recent version, the 850 Evo, offered a good balance of price, features and performance which is always a winning combo. Today they bring that series to two new interfaces, this is our Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review.

Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review – Packaging and Drive


Samsung use packaging very similar to the standard 850 Evo on their M.2 and mSATA variants. There is a decent image of the drive on the front and inside we find the products suspended in protective plastic trays and bundled with product documentation.

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Starting with the mSATA model we have a full length PCB which has a capacity of 1TB (931GB formatted). The M.2 model, in this configuration, keeps all of its components on one side of the 2280 form factor PCB and our review sample is the 500GB version (465GB formatted). Other than the obvious form factor changes the drives are essentially very similar in features to the standard SATA models, so here is what we had to say about them…with corrected performance figures.

“Each features Samsungs new 32 Layer 3D V-NAND. This new NAND delivers up to 2x the performance and density of traditional 20nm chips as by changing to a 32-layer cylindrical cell structure more cells can be stacked vertically for that smaller footprint and higher density. The 120-500GB drives use a Samsung MGX controller and sitting beside our NAND on the 1TB drive is Samsungs latest generation 3-Core MEX controller and that has access to 1GB of LPDDR2 (512MB LPDDR3 on 120GB, 250/500GB).

We saw previously in the 850 Pro/Evo series that one of the key improvements was the lower capacity drives enhanced write performance meaning the 120GB variant was almost as fast as the higher capacity models. That continues here with all of the mSATA drives are rated for 540MB/s read and 520MB/s write (M.2 is 540/500MB/s). The IOPS ratings do vary a little, 97000 4k random read on 500gb/1TB, down to 95000 on 120GB (mSATA). On Writes its 88,000IOPS (mSATA). The M.2 drive sits at 97000/89000 IOPS read/write This performance is then maintained by data sanitize features and TRIM in operating systems such as Windows 7 and 8 and the drive fully supports Secure Erase. Samsung offer enhanced security through AES 256-bit full disk hardware based encryption as well as supporting TCG/Opal 2.0.

Power use is rated for 4.3w max on mSATA and 3.5w on m.2 when active, 50mW when idle and 2mW when at sleep. Endurance is 75 TBW (120-250gb) and 150 Tera Bytes Written on the 500GB/1TB with the warranty on offer here 5- years.”

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Also available for Samsung SSD users are two pieces of software. The first is a data migration tool which helps us to move our existing Operating System to the 850 Evo. The second is Samsung Magician which will support the new models as of version 4.6. Samsung Magician allows us to monitor our drive, upgrade firmware, secure erase and optimise our SSD while also allowing us to set over provisioning to our needs. We first saw Rapid Mode on the last generation of SSD from Samsung and it has been enhanced to offer even higher performance by using our system memory as a high speed cache. The latest version of the Magician software is available from Samsung.


Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review – Performance

Key Test Specifications: Intel Core i7-4790K, Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5, 4x4GB DDR3-2666, Windows 8.1 64Bit. (mSATA testing via riser card, all drives use the highest capacity model available to us.)


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BlackMagic HD Video Benchmark:

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File Copy Tests:

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Windows Load Time:

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Battlefield 4 Map Load:

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Samsung 850 Evo mSATA M.2 Review – Conclusion

We know from our 850 Evo review (and previous generations) that Samsung offered a high level of build quality on their SSDs and that continues here with the use of the same components as the desktop drives. That means Samsung controller, cache and their latest NAND. Experience with their existing drives tells us that the software solution provided by Samsung is top notch. Both allowing us to migrate our existing OS and then manage/maintain the drive over time.

As far as performance goes, the levels achieved by the M.2 and mSATA variants are very close to the standard model. There are a few minor changes however not at any level which will be noticeable in real world use thanks to TurboWrite, a high speed write buffer in the SSD. Being competitive with the standard 2.5″ 850 Evo SSD also means that the new revisions perform at the higher end of the market as a whole and that users need not be concerned about the smaller form factor impacting them.

Summary: High quality mSATA and m.2 drives which offer the full performance of the 2.5″ models to a new group of consumers.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson


  1. Good products. But i have to say I am glad they are not even close to my Samsung in terms of speed. 🙂

  2. LesserHellspawn

    A bit disappointing. Samsung have already shown that they can also do 1 GB and close to 1 MB/s on the m.2 slot. For mobile devices these new ones are ok, in a desktop they are useless. Cases and mainboards these days have way more bays/ports than you typically need.

  3. Jonathan Gillespie

    Just bought a new Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD but now find out it is only supported by Magician 4.6 and that is not available to download from Samsung support site??? Anyone know where I can get a copy?

    • Hi Jonathan, it should be available any day now. The drive will work fine without it and there are no firmware updates available to apply yet (that I am aware of).

  4. I don’t really understand why they haven’t developed a pci-ex m2 or msata that uses the sata express/nvme.

    Everything still is straight up SATA still which is limited to the 6gbps speeds and of course ahci’s archaic system.

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