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Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review

Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review

When the enthusiast PC market began moving from performance mechanical hard drives to solid state storage it wasn’t the traditional players who saw the greatest success. The likes of Western Digital, Hitachi etc all saw memory manufacturers step in and corner the market. Samsung, Crucial, OCZ and the like were all able to quickly release and then revise their products, drawing on their experience with memory products to produce some of the best drives around. Samsung have been creating class leading SSDs for a few generations now and their now aging mainstream model, the 840 Evo, continues to do well in comparisons to this day. Samsung don’t feel the need to stand still though and following Julys launch of the 850 Pro, today we get to see the mainstream refresh in our Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review.

Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review – Packaging and Bundle


Samsung go with some white packaging on the 850 Evo and suspend the drive in a plastc tray inside. As well as the product documentation we receive a software CD. Speaking of software…

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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 is now on version 4.5. 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 and enable Rapid Mode. 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. We will look at the performance impacts on the results later in the review. The latest version of the Magician software is available from Samsung.

Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review – The Drive

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Samsung stick with the same styling for the 850 Evo as we saw on the Pro and 840 series before it. They simply tweak the colour scheme a touch. The casing used here is metal and measures 100×69.85×6.8mm with the maximum weight of 66g. A part sticker on the base shows some key information about the drive and we can also see the SATA3 data and power connectors on the left edge.


As is normal for Samsung, four capacities of 850 Evo will be available at launch, 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB. We have access to the 120GB and 1TB for this review. 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 (256MB on 120GB, 512MB on 250/500GB). Our 1TB drive has a formatted capacity of 931GB in Windows 8.1.

We saw in the 850 Pro 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 drives are rated for 540MB/s read and 520MB/s write. The IOPS ratings do vary a little, 98000 4k random read on 500gb/1TB, down to 94000 on 120GB. On Writes its 90,000 (500/1TB) vs 88,000 (250/120GB). 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 4.4w max when active, 50mW when idle and 0.2-0.4mW 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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Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review – Performance

Key Test Specifications: Intel Core i7-4790K, Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5, 4x4GB Corsair DDR3-2666, Windows 8.1 64Bit.


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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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Application Load Time Pre and Post Rapid mode:

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Samsung 850 Evo SSD Review – Conclusion

It would be fair to say we are big fans of Samsung SSDs, but that comes from experieice. We have seen their drives, or drives based on their technology, outlast the competition in both performance over time and reliability… two key aspects of any SSD. In terms of the 850 Evo, our good experiences continue.

Samsung don’t change too much between their premium 850 Pro and the Evo model. We still get the same high quality case and all Samsung components inside. In fact the 1TB version even uses the Pro controller. What don’t we get? Well the Evo drives are rated a touch lower in peak speads. The warranty is longer on the Pro, the IOPS a little higher…power use slightly higher here but thats basically it. Same features, lower price. And those features also include the impressive SSD Magician which makes monitoring and maintaining our drive easy.

In terms of performance comparisons. The 850 Evo manages to edge ahead of the 840 Evo in most cases and significantly so in others, such as working with uncompressed HD video. The comparisons with other manufacturers are also favourable with the 850 Evo offering competitive results right at the high end of the SATA3 market.

Summary: Good build quality and performance backed by a strong set of features.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

1 Comment

  1. Israel

    Why dont you make IOmeter test for 1 hour and up???
    thats how you test SSD…..

    we never work for 10 minutes on SSD, we use it more…. 🙂

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