Solid-state drives have become almost a must for any system. It does not matter if you have a gaming desktop, an ultra-thin laptop or a powerful workstation for video editing. In all cases, SSD improves performance and responsiveness, and often allows you to completely change the idea of the platform's capabilities. The fastest SSDs are offered in M.2 format and use PCI-Express for data transfer, but these are still quite expensive devices, because SATA versions are still very popular. Most recently, Samsung introduced new line of drives – Samsung 860 PRO and Samsung 860 EVO. Today we have on our review a model of the 860 EVO series with a volume of 1 TB.
The Samsung 850 EVO series does not need a separate presentation. Despite the considerable three-year history of SSD, the models of this line with an enviable consistency are in the top of popularity among 2.5-inch drives with SATA interface. Over the past time, the manufacturer has several times modernized the successful development, updating the flash memory, improving the firmware and reviewing the pricing policy. However, it's time to give way to new devices that will take the place of their predecessors in a very responsible mass segment.
Samsung 860 EVO
The new line of drives includes models with a capacity of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB. That is, the manufacturer not only closes the most popular and demanded capacity, but also offers higher-capacity devices.
Samsung V-NAND 4th generation flash memory with 64-layer structure is used for all Samsung 860 EVO drives. Recall that the SSD of the previous line of 850 EVO originally used 32-layer chips, then the devices were transferred to 48-layer chips, and last fall in the model of the popular series began to install even 64-layer V-NAND. Samsung continues to improve flash memory technology, in 2017 the company launched a new plant, expanding its production capacity, so it's no surprise that the new SSD consumer series uses the 64-layer flush exclusively.
|Samsung 860 EVO|
|Interface||SATA 6 Gb / s|
|Form Factor||2.5-inch, mSATA, M.2|
|Memory Type||Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC|
4 GB LPDDR4 (4 TB)
2 GB LPDDR4 (2 TB)
1 GB LPDDR4 (1 TB)
512MB LPDDR4 (250/500 GB)
| Capacity 
[2,5-дюймовый] 4 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB
[M.2] 2 TB, 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 GB
[mSATA] 1 TB, 500 GB, 250 The speed of random readingQD 32)
|Max . 98,000 IOPS / 90,000 IOPS|
|Sleep mode||2.6 mW for 1 TB (up to 8 mW for 4 TB)|
|Software||Magician Software for SSD|
|The total number of recorded terabytes TBW)||
4 TB: 2400 TB
2 TB: 1200 TB
1 TB: 600 TB
500 GB: 300 TB
250 GB: 150 TB
|Warranty||5 years or until exhaustion TBW|
For Samsung 860 EVO memory is used with a three-bit cell structure TLC (Triple Level Cell). In its official specification, the manufacturer uses a more streamlined definition of "V-NAND 3bit MLC" to designate the flash configuration, but it does not change the essence.
Samsung 860 EVO accumulators acquire a new controller of the manufacturer's own design. Now instead of the Samsung MGX / MGH uses a more productive 2-core chip Samsung MJX, operating at frequencies up to 1 GHz. The controller can handle TLC / MLC memory, and also allows the use of drives up to 8TB in total, so the SSD capacity of the manufacturer remains in reserve for future maneuver.
SSDs are also equipped with an additional cache buffer, the capacity of which depends on the volume of the drive. So for 250/500 GB models it's 512 MB, 1 TB is 1 GB, 2 TB is 2 GB and 4 TB is 4 GB. In all cases, new LPDDR4 chips are used. You can not even guess about the chips of which company are used in this case. Of course, Samsung has an advantage here. The manufacturer can afford a full cycle of production of solid-state drives.
To speed up data recording in drives based on three-bit TLC cells, additional SLC caching is often used. This technology works in the case of the Samsung 860 EVO. Thus for new SSD the advanced mechanism of the logical buffer which has received name Intelligent TurboWrite is applied. With enough free space on the SSD, a lot of space is allocated for the SLC-cache, and this volume is dynamically adjusted. So for a 250 GB drive, it's 12 GB, for 500 GB, 22 GB, 1 TB for 42 GB, while for 2/4 TB models it's up to 78 GB.
Such buffers allow the SSD to support the maximum speed with continuous recording large amounts of data. The declared value is up to 520 MB / s. If the capacity of the SLC-cache was insufficient, then further data volume is written directly to TLC without caching, and the rate is somewhat reduced. In this mode, 250/500 TB models can provide up to 300 MB / s, while the write speed on an SSD with a volume of 1/2/4 TB practically does not change – up to 500 MB / s.
What concerns the key speed characteristics, then the Samsung 860 EVO is promised a read speed of up to 550 MB / s. The performance on read operations is up to 98 000 IOPS, while recording – up to 90 000 IOPS. With a minimum query queue depth (QD1), you can expect up to 10,000 IOPS for reading and up to 42,000 IOPS for writing. According to the declared values, the drives are not much different from the predecessors of the Samsung 850 EVO series. However, given the general limitations of the SATA interface, something special was not expected here.
But what the manufacturer really surprised is the significant increase in the amount of guaranteed recording (Total Bytes Written, TBW). Depending on the capacity of the model, this parameter is increased from 2 to 8 times compared to that for the Samsung 850 EVO. For clarity, we will present the data in tabular form.
|250 GB||500 GB||1 TB||2 TB||4 TB|
|Samsung 860 EVO||150 TB||300 TB  300 TB||300 TB||300 TB|
|Samsung 860||600 TB||1200 TB||2400 TB|
|Samsung 850 EVO||75 TB||150 TB PRO||300 TB||600 TB||1200 TB||2400 TB||4800 TB|
|Samsung 850 PRO||150 TB||300 TB||300 TB||450 TB||–|
Now even the most suspicious users who were wary of the claimed recording resources for TLC-based drives may stop worrying about a possible lack of such a tesa GOVERNMENTAL terabytes. As you can see in the table, Samsung 860 EVO drives now claimed the resource even higher than the previous-generation PRO family of SS, based on chips with two-bit V-NAND MLC cells. Although the PRO versions have their own history, the resource has also been significantly increased for new models.
To admit, the manufacturer's unexpected step. Yes, real tests for the number of rewrites show that the actual resources of flash memory chips based on TLC significantly exceed the declared ones, but it is one thing to conduct single laboratory tests, and quite another to guarantee the operation of hundreds of thousands of drives. We believe that the new 64-layer V-NAND flash memory and the technology of equalizing the cell wear allowed Samsung to officially increase the limits.
The warranty period for all Samsung 860 EVO models is 5 years or until the guaranteed recording capacity (TBW) is exhausted, depending on
From useful "trifles" we note that in the drives the manufacturer solved the issue with asynchronous TRIM, allowing to use SSD with Linux, without fear of degradation of performance or even loss of data. Similar excesses occurred with 850 EVO, but the devices of the new line correctly work out the asynchronous operations of TRIM.
In the case of the 860 EVO, the manufacturer offers drives in all convenient formats. It's not only 2.5 ", but also M.2, as well as mSATA. The latter is already outspoken, giving way to M.2, but there is a whole fleet of laptops and compact PCs equipped with only mSATA, so in this case there will also be an opportunity to upgrade the storage subsystem. Regardless of the form factor, all 860 EVOs for data transmission use a SATA channel with a capacity of 6 Gb / s. Of course, there is backward compatibility with the interfaces of previous generations.
Note that mSATA models will be offered in volumes of 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB, a line of devices in M.2 format will also include a 2 TB SSD, while the most capacious ones 4TB drives are only available in a 2.5 "form factor.
Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB (MZ-76E1T0BW)
The drive is offered in a compact box. To protect the device during transport, the SSD is packed in a plastic blister.
Only a short manual with a warranty card and a paper insert with the address for downloading firmware are included.
Evaluate SSD design is a thankless task . As a rule, this is a closed metal rectangle without excessive frills. The aluminum case of the Samsung 860 EVO is black.
The manufacturer's logo is printed on the top panel as well as a small pointer to the connector for connection.
On the reverse side is a sticker with information on the volume of the model, its name, serial number and basic requirements for the power supply. Here, there is a mention that the drive is made in Korea.
A standard SATA connector for connecting interface and power cables is located on one of the side edges.
The claimed mass of drives of the new line varies from 50 to 62 grams, depending on the volume. The thickness of the device is only 6.8 mm. Subjectively, there is a balance between the strength of the hull design and the total weight of the device. The panels do not press through, while the SSD remains light, which is important when using a drive in a laptop.
Firmware must be downloaded from the manufacturer's website. To quickly transfer the system partition to a new SSD, you can use the Samsung Data Migration utility. Here it is sufficient to specify the source for cloning and the disk to which information will be written.
The manufacturer suggests using the Samsung Magician application to configure and maintain the drive. The utility allows you to find out the amount of recorded information, check the S.M.A.R.T parameters and update the firmware with a new version. Here you can also select the area of the unused optimization space for SSD operation. If necessary, activate and configure hardware encryption settings.
The application also allows you to create a bootable USB flash drive to completely clean the drive (Secure Erase).
Samsung Magician can perform rapid testing of SSD performance. On our platform it was possible to obtain linear read / write speeds at the level of 560/530 MB / s and about 89,000/84 500 IOPS, respectively, when working with 4K blocks.
For more details of the drive capacity estimation, we used a set of popular utility utilities that allow you to determine the speed parameters of the SSD.
Based on the results of measurements in the ATTO Disk Benchmark application, you can observe that starting from 256K blocks, the read / write speed of the drive can reach the maximum 560/530 MB / c.
CrystalDis utility kMark 6.0.0 registers similar maximum transfers, which is even slightly higher than the stated rates. The speed of working with 4K units is also at a very decent level for both a device connected via SATA interface. We have 41/151 MB / c in single-threaded mode and the minimum depth of the queue. With the increase in QD, the rate increases noticeably, especially on reading operations.
In the Anvil's Storage Utilities application, Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB accumulates 5511 total points, but here we are more interested in IOPS peak values when working with small blocks . As you can see, even in QD16 conditions the model provides 98 460 IOPS during reading and 87,780 IOPS when writing data. With the minimum queue of queries (QD1) for 4K units, we have 11,100 IOPS at 10,000 claimed by the manufacturer, but in the recording operations it almost falls short of 31,000 IOPS. Linear transfers for the transfer of blocks of 4 MB of the utility measured slightly less than previous applications.
AS SSD Benchmark also records similar indicators.
The flat lines on the graphs in the compression impact test show that such methods are not needed to speed up data transfer.
We also tested the Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB capabilities in a complex test from the PCMark 8 package, which emulates drive behavior under realistic loads typical for some applications. For comparison, the results obtained earlier during testing of the previous generation drive – Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB – were used. In addition, the diagrams show the performance of Intel 600p 256 GB, the primary class drive M.2 PCI-E. But the benchmark of the maximum capabilities of the current SSD NVMe will be the results of the Samsung 960 PRO 1 TB – one of the fastest M.2 models on the market.
The minimal difference in the final rating of SSDs confirms the uselessness of the general index of PCMark 8. Developers from Futuremark obviously need to rethink the method of counting the final score in their next complex test.
But the total bandwidth far better reflects the situation. Samsung EVO 860 1 TB here has a 6% advantage over 850 EVO 500 GB, although, of course, for a more correct estimate, we should compare the results of models of the same volume.
As you can see, Intel 600p 256 GB here competes on equal terms with the best SATA models, but of course, you expect more from the M.2 device, which uses PCI Express and NVMe for data transfer. This is a clear example of the fact that switching to M.2 at any cost is not a panacea. The components and strapping used for the SSD controller, flash memory, cache, and firmware are also important here.
Samsung 960 PRO 1 TB in this case is out of categories, but allows you to assess the current state of affairs when comparing the best in its class SATA models and the most productive drives of the M.2 format (PCI-E, NVMe).
However, now we are still more interested in the correlation of the forces of classmates of different generations. In most cases, the Samsung 860 EVO has a slight advantage or the performance of both drives is almost equal. At the same time, there were some exceptions. So Samsung 850 EVO was quicker on the World of Warcraft, as well as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. But in these cases, the difference was less than 10%.
In general, in terms of performance, the novelty differs little from the previous model. Some radical changes should not be counted, because on the one hand 850 EVO already provided very good performance in its class, on the other – the limitations of the data transfer interface, as well as the features of the AHCI protocol, which was originally developed for hard disks. For a qualitative jump, we need to move on to the top-of-the-line M.2 PCI-E NVMe models, but that's another story.
After completing the synthetic tests, we were also curious to evaluate the work of the Intelligent TurboWrite SLC caching mechanism. Recall that in the case of a 1 TB drive, the capacity of the dynamic buffer can be up to 42 GB. Theoretically, within this volume, with sequential continuous recording, we should observe the maximum performance (520 MB / s). Then, the write speed is reduced to values that can directly provide the chips with TLC cells. For a drive with a capacity of 1 TB or more, even the claimed reduction is minimal – up to 500 MB / s, but models with 250 GB and 500 GB after depletion of the buffer will be able to record data at a speed of about 300 MB / s.
In our case, during the successive write test in the AIDA64 utility, the graph of the indicators was practically an ideal straight line at the level of 485 MB / s. Slightly less than the declared value, but there are no transients when the SLC-cache ends. As you can see, it took 40 minutes for sequential recording of the entire drive volume. Of course, in real use such loads are unlikely. Moreover, for sure, even for the lower-end models, SSD will have enough resources to allocate Intelligent TurboWrite as a buffer, so as not to see a slowdown in sequential recording. Do you often have to copy from one SSD to another file larger than 12/22 GB for example?
40-minute execution with continuous recording is a good opportunity to evaluate the temperature mode of the drive. SSD with SATA interface as a rule there are no big problems with controller overheating – widespread PCI Express E-drives drive. The Samsung 860 EVO has 1 TB in this regard, everything is in order. During the load, the processor temperature did not exceed 50 ° C. Quite comfortable mode. After an exhausting test, the drive body in the interface area remained barely warm to the touch – 37-38 C.
Note that after the intensive load the controller cools very quickly. Literally in 10-15 seconds the temperature decreased already to 35C, and less than a minute returned to the typical values at rest – 25-26C. Вот бы такие же значения иметь и для скоростных M.2-накопителей. Увы, увы.
Розничная цена Samsung 860 EVO 1 ТБ в Украине составляет 10 299 грн. (~$365). Практически по такой же цене сейчас продаются и предшественники из линейки предыдущего поколения. Учитывая характеристики накопителей и общую ситуацию в сегменте SSD, стоимость можно назвать умеренной.
Конечно, хотелось бы, чтобы с анонсом новой линейки Samsung запустила волну снижения цен на SATA-накопители, но стоимость определяет рынок, а повышенный спрос на чипы флеш и ОЗУ пока не позволяют рассчитывать на заметные подвижки в этом вопросе.