Samsung 850 evo 2tb


Samsung 850 Evo 2TB Review

Pros

  • Mammoth 2TB capacity
  • Almost matches Pro drive for speed

Cons

  • Hugely expensive
  • Other SSDs have better warranties
  • More speed available elsewhere

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £600.00
  • 2TB capacity
  • 1,863GB formatted capacity
  • 7mm form factor
  • SATA 3 interface
  • 5yr RTB warranty
  • Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung leads the way at the top end of the consumer SSD market thanks to its control of every aspect of the research, design and production of its drives. This advantage was amply demonstrated by its most recent 850-series drives that offer excellent performance and value.

The 850 Evo was a more balanced version of the benchmark-busting 850 Pro, and now it’s been super-sized to become one of the largest SSDs we’ve ever seen.

SEE ALSO: The Year’s Best SSDs

Samsung 850 Evo 2TB – Design

Aside from the huge capacity, there isn’t much about the Evo’s design that’s changed. The key hardware is the 3D V-NAND, which debuted in the 850 Pro. It’s a simple manufacturing concept that’s proved effective: the individual transistors that make up the memory chips are stacked vertically as well as horizontally.

That releases Samsung from the miniaturisation pressures that previously governed SSD design, allowing for the use of larger transistors to build the chips. The end result is fewer electricity leaks and better performance, since there’s no need to squeeze tiny transistors into minuscule spaces. A look at the manufacturing process illustrates the impact of 3D V-NAND – the transistors here use a more capacious 40nm manufacturing process, while traditionally built drives rely on 20nm or smaller processes.

Samsung’s 3D V-NAND is used on its mid-range Evo drives and its high-end Pro products, but the 850 Evo’s price is kept down in comparison by its use of TLC memory chips. These chips are triple-cell – each individual cell stores three bits of data – so fewer chips are needed to produce the same capacity as the MLC cells in the 850 Pro, which store only two pieces of information in each cell.

Samsung’s MHX controller is similar to the firm’s previous chips, but it’s been bolstered with some extra memory so it can effectively handle such a high-capacity drive. Elsewhere, it’s business as usual: that controller is powered by ARM technology, and the Evo drive has 256-bit AES encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 and Rapid Mode 2.0, which uses a chunk of the PC’s memory as a cache for the SSD, so popular files can be accessed with more speed.

The 850 Evo leaves the factory with an endurance rating of 150TB. That’s the same rating as the 500GB and 1TB versions of the Evo. And it’s decent – it matches the smaller 850 Pro drives. But when stacked up against the 2TB 850 Pro, it falls short; that drive is rated for a mighty 300TB.

SEE ALSO: Our Verdict on the Best M.2 SSDs

Samsung 850 Evo 2TB – Performance

The 2TB 850 Evo didn’t let the side down in benchmarks. Its AS SSD sequential read and write speeds of 512MB/sec and 505MB/sec are barely behind and a little ahead of the 850 Pro respectively. The Evo keeps up in small file tests, too – and in a couple of those it’s actually a few megabytes faster.

Its best performance here came in the 4K 64 write benchmark, where its 319MB/sec pace was 8MB quicker than the 850 Pro. It also proved a few megabytes faster than the smaller 850 Evo we reviewed in early 2015.

There wasn’t much to choose between the drives in CrystalDiskMark, either. The 850 Evo and Pro recorded near-identical read and write results. The Evo was a little quicker when reading small files and only a couple of megabytes slower when writing.

It only fell behind a little in Atto’s file-reading tests but, even then, its top speed of 559MB/sec isn’t far off the limit of its SATA 3 port. In Atto’s file-writing tests it was just as fast as the Pro. It got up to speed quickly, too; even when working with tiny 8Kb files, its reads and writes sat at a rapid 432MB/sec and 396MB/sec.

Our final test, Iometer, evaluates performance over a longer timespan, and here the 850 Evo was impressive. Its 5,961 total IO figure was better than the 2TB Pro drive, and has been outpaced by only a handful of smaller SSDs.

The 850 Evo had no real weaknesses in our benchmarks – in several tests it matched or snuck ahead of the Pro version of Samsung’s drive; it rarely fell behind. To get faster storage, you’ll have to sacrifice space for one of the smaller Pro drives, or go beyond SATA with an M.2 drive or a PCI device such as the expensive Intel SSD 750.

Other Things to Consider

This drive might cost a mighty £600, but don’t expect much in the box. There’s no 9.5mm blanker or screws included as part of the package. That, disappointingly, is the status quo in the current SSD market.

The five-year warranty is decent, and sits towards the top of what’s currently offered in the market. However, here it’s the 850 Pro that’s victorius; its coverage lasts for an impressive ten years.

Should I Buy the Samsung 850 Evo 2TB?

There’s no denying that the 850 Evo is an impressive bit of kit, with rapid performance maintained across the biggest SSD we’ve ever seen. However, there’s also no arguing that this drive is hugely expensive – and that means it is likely to remain a niche product.

That said, it’s still tempting: it offers hard disk-style space with SSD-style speed, and it’s far more enticing than PCI Express and M.2 drives that have faster speeds but smaller capacities.

The £731 Samsung 850 Pro has a better endurance rating and warranty, but the 850 Evo matches the more expensive SSD for speed. If you’re one of the few out there who needs such a huge SSD then we’d opt for the Evo.

Not convinced by the expensive 850 Evo? Take a look at our latest component reviews, or explore the mSATA and M.2 versions of this impressive drive.

Verdict

The Samsung’s 2TB version of the 850 Evo offers superb capacity and it virtually matches the 850 Pro drive for speed. If the better warranty and endurance rating of the Pro are a non-issue for you, then this is the SSD to go for.

Score in detail

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade, writing for most of the UK’s most well-known websites and magazines. During his time writing about technology he’s developed obsessio…

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850 Evo 2TB

The number of benchmark samples for this model as a percentage of all 18,018,883 SSDs tested.

SSD
850 Evo 2TBSamsung  £477Bench 116%, 3,429 samples1x
EDIT WITH CUSTOM PC BUILDER Value: 42% - Average Total price: £1,316
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Samsung 850 Evo 2TB Review

(+) Super Nova: Tons of capacity; great price per GB; good performance, endurance, and warranty; SATA is ubiquitous.(-) Black Hole: 2TB SSDs are still expensive; not as fast as PCIe solutions; SATA is limiting.

Solid-state drives are a game changer when it comes to the responsiveness of your PC, but they also tend to be relatively expensive compared to traditional hard drives. The general advice we give to most people is to use a moderate size SSD for the OS and apps, with a larger hard drive for mass data storage. These days you can find 250GB-class drives for under $100, with 500GB-class drives starting as low as $150, and that’s generally enough for most people.

But what if you’re not “most people”? What if you think good old Sol is too puny and you want to explore the vast universe, maybe setting up camp around a red super giant? For those who want to put every last document, image, movie, and game onto fast solid-state storage so that they never have to worry about waiting for files to load, never fear. Samsung has your back, with not one but two 2TB SSDs to choose from. Yes, these are still SATA drives, so you’re not going to get the unadulterated speed of a PCIe NVMe SSD, but the largest M.2 SSDs have half the capacity, and outside of a few storage intensive tasks, 6Gb/s SATA is still plenty fast.

We have a double-header going on today, with reviews of both 2TB Samsung drives—see the Samsung 850 Pro 2TB review here. Originally listed with an MSRP of $1,000, the 850 Pro 2TB has since come down to more palatable levels—not that $875 is affordable for most of us, but it’s moving in the right direction. The 850 Evo on the other hand has been the darling of the budget-minded computer enthusiast since it first launched, and even more than a year later it’s still difficult to find a better value. The launch MSRP of the 2TB 850 Evo was more than twice the price of the 1TB model, at $800, but we’ve seen prices range from $645 to $670 on Amazon.com during the past week.

Let’s put that into perspective. The least expensive SSD we can find right now, in terms of price per GB, is Crucial’s new BX200 (review forthcoming). The 480GB model goes for $132 online while the 960GB model costs $300, giving a final cost of $0.274 to $0.3125 per GB. [Spoiler alert!] The problem is that the BX200 is very much a budget offering, with performance that is at times underwhelming. It’s much faster than a hard drive for random accesses, but it can’t touch the Samsung 850 Evo when it comes to performance. Even with the better performance, however, the 850 Evo 2TB costs just $0.335 per GB—a mere seven percent increase compared with the 960GB BX200.

Your Digital Bag of Holding

It’s not just about performance and value, however. Samsung is the 800-pound gorilla of the consumer SSD industry, and the only drives currently competing with Samsung’s offerings are both more expensive and more limiting in terms of use cases. Intel’s SSD 750 line is the overall performance leader, but you can’t put one of those in a laptop, and even in a desktop you’re stuck with at most 1.2TB of storage. If you want 2TB of NAND in a single drive, outside of the enterprise market, you’re limited to Samsung.

How much of a market is there for 2TB SSDs that cost well over half a grand? That’s a more difficult question to answer—how much of a need is there for interstellar travel? We have to start somewhere, and if you’re the type of enthusiast that likes dream-level hardware like the i7-5960X and GTX Titan X or GTX 980 Ti, you should have no problem considering the merits of 2TB SSDs. Even with 30 modern games installed on the drive, plus the OS and a collection of applications we regularly use, and topped off with some videos and music…we still haven’t even passed the 50 percent full mark. It’s a nice change of pace, not having to think about where to install new games like Fallout 4 or Rainbow Six Siege: everything goes on the monster 2TB drive right now—for testing, naturally.

And if you’re thinking 2TB is an insane amount of NAND—or in this case, V-NAND—Samsung is working on 4TB models for release some time in the next year. It’s like a virtual bag of holding for all of your data, and outside of large movie collections or raw video footage, there’s plenty of room. The only potential concern is that if anything ever goes wrong, you could lose a lifetime’s worth of files, so make sure you don’t neglect your backup strategy.

Samsung 850 Evo/Pro 2TB ComparisonDriveCapacityDRAM CacheInterfaceForm FactorControllerMemory TypeMax MB/s Read/WriteMax IOPS Read/WriteEnduranceActive Power Read/WriteWarrantyPrice
850 Pro850 Evo
2,048GB2,000GB
2GB2GB
SATA 6Gb/sSATA 6Gb/s
2.5-inch2.5-inch
Samsung MHXSamsung MHX
Samsung MLC V-NANDSamsung TLC V-NAND
550/520540/520
100,000/90,00098,000/90,000
300TB150TB
3.3W/3.0W4.4W/4.0W
Ten yearsFive years
$875$645–$669

If there’s one potential drawback, other than the price, it’s the aging SATA interface. With a single drive, real-world throughput over SATA generally tops out at 550MB/s. That’s way faster than a hard drive, but when you look at the 850 Pro and 850 Evo specs above, you have to wonder how much faster the NAND and controller could run without the SATA bottleneck. This is actually a good thing for the Evo, however, as it means despite the price difference, it can still hang with its big brother. It might be 10 percent slower under heavy workloads, but for many activities there’s no discernable difference. This is basically as good as SATA gets, and since SATA is practically everywhere (except for laptops that eschew 2.5-inch SATA drives in favor of M.2 or mSATA), any desktop or laptop made in the past five or even ten years can upgrade to an SSD.

Looking at the raw specs for Samsung’s 2TB SSDs, the only real difference is going to be in peak performance and warranty/endurance. This is largely due to the use of TLC (Triple-Level Cell, three bits per cell) NAND as opposed to MLC (Multi-Level Cell, two bits per cell), which means each NAND cell has to track eight stored voltage states compared to four stored voltage states. Just like the move from SLC (Single-Level Cell, one bit per cell) to MLC was inevitable, we’re seeing more and more manufacturers working on TLC drives. So far, however, no other TLC drive has come close to dethroning the 850 Evo.

As we noted in the 850 Pro review, the 500GB/1TB/2TB drives all have the same endurance rating, which is a bit odd since technically with two or four times the NAND, the larger drives should be able to write two or four times as much data before running out of program/erase cycles. The reality is that you would need to be running an enterprise-class workload to burn through all the P/E cycles in five years on the 500GB Evo (about 82GB written per day for five years!), in which case you should be looking at enterprise-grade SSDs.

I’m a Rocket Man

Raw specs don’t tell the whole story, however, so let’s find out how the drives actually perform in our SSD test suite. We’re using a Skylake test bed, outline below, and we’ve highlighted the two 2TB Samsung drives in the charts. The other drives provide a reference point for some of the fastest and slowest modern SSDs.

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The 850 Evo 2TB isn’t designed to be a nimble star fighter, but instead it’s a large freighter lugging your data around the known universe. That might not seem particularly exciting, but remember that it’s running on a hyper-drive V-NAND engine that makes HDD airplane engines look archaic. Looking at the charts, a few things should be obvious. First, the fastest SATA drives are all hitting the limits of that interface. Even a merely “okay” PCIe SSD like the Kingston HyperX Predator is able to beat the fastest SATA SSDs in many of our tests. Second and perhaps more importantly, while the 850 Pro is faster than the 850 Evo, at best it’s a 20 percent gap, and at worst it’s a tie. Saving $200 for nearly the same performance is an easy call to make.

The only question that remains is whether your PC adventures need copious quantities of NAND. If not, there’s no need to splurge on a 2TB drive—1TB and even 500GB models are readily available. But if you’re a data packrat like me, there’s no such thing as having too much NAND.

Recently, I got tired of managing my inventory in Fallout 4 and used a cheat code to boost my maximum carry weight. (100,000 pounds of carry weight? Yes, please, thank you!) A 2TB SSD is like a real-world cheat code that lets you never go back to spinning platters, unless you want to. Granted, you have to pay for this particular “cheat,” but considering the price per GB on SSDs keeps dropping while capacities continue to increase, the days of the hard drive are quickly coming to an end. With higher density V-NAND in the works, not to mention Intel and Micron’s 3D XPoint Technology, that end can’t come soon enough.

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Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2TB Review | StorageReview.com

Today Samsung has released the latest addition to its 850 EVO SSD line, the 850 EVO SSD 2TB. The 850 EVO SSD line is designed more for everyday computing. Like its PRO counterpart, the EVO use Samsung’s 32-layer 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC/3bit MLC. Unlike the PRO, the EVO is aimed more at mainstream computer users and less at enthusiasts. Samsung states that its 3D V-NAND gives it up to two times the density and write speed performance of other drives. The drive has 2GB of LPDDR2DRAM cache memory, SATA 6Gb/s interface, and comes with a 5-year warranty.

Data is continuing to grow and users are looking for ways to expand their capacities without sacrificing performance. SSDs provide that best performance but all the consumer versions topped out at 1TB, until now. Samsung’s 850 EVO 2TB aims to retain all the great features the line has already shown (great performance, low power consumption, and full disk encryption) plus it now has double the capacity. The 850 EVO has been sitting near the top of our leaderboard for sometime, assuming it can maintain or exceed the performance of the smaller capacity drives.

Like the other drives in the line, the 850 EVO 2TB comes with a 5-year warranty and retail price of $799.99.

Samsung 850 EVO Specifications (2TB)

  • Capacities: 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 100 x 69.85 x 6.8 (mm)
  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and SATA 1.5Gb/s)
  • Form Factor: 2.5 inch
  • Controller: Samsung MHX controller
  • NAND Flash Memory: Samsung 3D V-NAND 3bit MLC
  • DRAM Cache Memory: 2GB
  • Performance    
    • Sequential Read: Max. 540 MB/s
    • Sequential Write:  Max. 520 MB/s
    • 4KB Random Read (QD1):  Max. 40,000 IOPS
    • 4KB Random Write(QD1): Max. 98,000 IOPS
    • 4KB Random Read(QD32):  Max. 90,000 IOPS 2TB
    • 4KB Random Write(QD32): Max. 90,000 IOPS(120GB/250GB)
  • Data Security: AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption (FDE) TCG/Opal V2.0, Encrypted Drive(IEEE1667)
  • Weight: Max. 66g
  • Reliability: MTBF: 1.5 million hours
  • TBW:  150 TBW
  • Power Consumption:
    • Active Read/Write (Average): Max. 3.7W(2TB) / Max. 4.7W(2TB)
    • Idle: Max. 60mW
    • Device Sleep:  5mW(2TB)
  • Supporting features: TRIM(Required  OS support), Garbage Collection, S.M.A.R.T
  • Temperature    
    • Operating: 0°C to 70°C
    • Non-Operating: -40°C to 85°C
  • Humidity: 5% to 95%, non-condensing
  • Vibration:
    • Non-Operating:  20~2000Hz, 20G
  • Shock:  
    • Non-Operating: 1500G, duration  0.5m sec, 3 axis
  • Warranty: 5 years limited

Design and build

The Samsung SSD 850 EVO 2TB model looks identical to its smaller capacities with its minimalistic, slim black chassis/light grey font design comprised of a flat black top with Samsung branding and a simple “Solid State Drive” text. It is of 7mm z-Height form factor, allowing it support a variety of applications such as notebooks, desktops, and ultrabooks.

When flipping the drive over shows a sticker with all the key information about the drive. The side profiles are equipped with four screw holes to allow seamless mounting of the 850 EVO.

When looking under the hood, you will see the highly vertically integrated components, including the Samsung DRAM, Samsung V-NAND and Samsung SSD controller.  The 2TB model uses the Samsung MHX controller (compared to the 1TB’s Samsung MEX) and supports a SATA 6Gb/s interface, though it is also compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and SATA 1.5Gb/s. Looking further inside the 2TB 850 EVO will show 8x 128GB 32-layer 3D NAND packages and 2GB of LPDDR3 memory.

Consumer Synthetic Benchmarks

All consumer SSD benchmarks are conducted with the StorageReview client testing platform. The comparables used for this review include:

  • Samsung 850 EVO 1TB (SATA, 6Gb/s, Samsung MEX controller) 
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB (SATA, 6Gb/s, Samsung MGX controller) 
  • Corsair Neutron XT 1TB (SATA, 6Gb/s, Phison PS3110-S10 controller)
  • Crucial BX100 1TB (SATA, 6Gb/s, Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller)
  • Patriot Ignite 480GB (SATA, 6Gb/s, Phison S10 Series)

All IOMeter figures are represented as binary figures for MB/s speeds.

Our first test measures 2MB sequential performance. In this scenario, the 2TB Samsung EVO boasted an impressive 493.54MB/s read and 468.10MB/s write, which placed it just behind the Crucial BX100 in reads at the top of our leaderboards. These results were also slightly better than the 1TB and 250TB models.

Moving to our 2MB random transfer performance tests, the 850 EVO ranked at the top of our leaderboard with read and writes of 483.45MB/s and 467.22MB/s, respectively. The 2TB drive had the best reads, though trailed the Patriot and Neutron drives in the write column. In addition, it also offered a slight gain in performance over the smaller capacity EVO drives.

In IOMeter’s random 4K read and write test the SSD 850 EVO drive measured in at 40.18MB/s read and 116.20MB/s write, which was good enough for top spot in both categories. In comparison to the previous capacities, the 250GB model reached 38.44MB/s read/115.67MB/s write while the 1TB model recorded 36.84MB/s read/112.57MB/s write.

Our random 4k test pushes hard on the drives when looking at throughput. Here, the 850 EVO a very impressive 10,287.13 IOPS read and 29,748.15 IOPS write, taking the top spot among the leaders and handedly beating out the Crucial, Patriot and Corsair drives. As for the small EVO capacities, though they measured less than the 2TB model, they still remained among the leaders.

Comparing write latency, the 850 EVO posted the best average latency with just 0.0333ms while its maximum readings fell behind (including the 1TB EVO model) with 3.94ms. The top performer here was the Patriot Ignite.

In our next 4K test, we move to a workload with 100% write activity, which scales from 1QD to 64QD.  In the aligned write setting, the 850 EVO posted impressive results, with 29,654.66 IOPS in burst and 84,543.81 IOPS in the terminal. Though it fell behind the Corsair and Patriot drives, the margin between them was almost negligible. The 2TB and 1TB EVOs only had a difference of roughly 100 IOPS in the terminal.

Moving on to our aligned read benchmark, all three Samsung EVO capacities took top honors on the leader board (by a noticeable margin in some cases); however, the small capacities beat out its 2TB brother, who scored 97,534.21 IOPS in the 64QD.

Our final consumer synthetic benchmarks compare the drives in a series of mixed server workloads with a queue depth from 1 to 128. Each server profile has a strong bias towards read activity, ranging from 67% read with the database profile to 100% read in the web server profile.

The database profile features a 67% read and 33% write workload focusing on transfers around 8K in size. In this scenario, the 2TB EVO boasted top-in-class results, with an impressive range of 9,405.72 IOPS to 43,203.49 IOPS in the terminal. This was a huge gain in performance over its small capacity brethren and almost 6,000 IOPS better than the 2nd place Crucial drive.

Our next benchmark is the web server profile is read-only with transfer sizes ranging from 512B to 512KB. Here, the 2TB EVO performed very well, with 30,325.97 IOPS by the end of the test; however, the 1TB model posted slightly better results with 31,259.11 IOPS in the terminal.

The file server profile has 80% read and 20% write workload spread out over multiple transfer sizes ranging from 512-byte to 64KB. The 2TB EVO again recorded class-leading results, with a whopping 39,343.42 IOPS at QD64 (9,405.71 IOPS in burst) easily taking first place among the other consumer drives (7.000 IOPS over the 2nd place 250GB EVO). The 1TB model was neck-and-neck with its 2TB brother; however, it took a huge dip in performance at the 32nd queue depth.

The last profile looks at workstation activity, with a 20% write and 80% read mixture using 8K transfers. Here, the 2TB Samsung 850 EVO recorded an impressive (and best of class) burst speed of 10,899.05 IOPS; however, it fell just a tad short in the terminal, posting 39,343.42 IOPS. The 250GB 850 EVO took the honors here with 40,055.64 IOPS.

 Consumer Real-World Benchmarks

While the results of synthetic benchmarks are important to identify the key strengths and weaknesses of a drive, performance in these tests does not always translate directly into real-world situations. To get a better idea how the 2TB Samsung SSD 850 EVO will handle itself in the field we will chart StorageMark 2010 HTPC, Productivity, and Gaming traces against comparable drives. Higher IOPS and MB/s rates with lower latency times are preferred.

The first traced is based on use as a Home Theater PC (HTPC). The test includes playing one 720P HD movie in Media Player Classic, one 480P SD movie playing in VLC, three movies downloading simultaneously through iTunes, and one 1080i HDTV stream being recorded through Windows Media Center over a 15 minute period.

In our HTPC profile, the 2TB 850 EVO SSD slowed down quite a bit, with only 8,193 IOPS, 379.82MB/s and 0.949ms in average latency. The top overall performer here was the 1TB EVO with 8,923.36 IOPS, 413.44MB/s and 0.822ms in average latency.

The next trace simulates disk activity in an office workstation or productivity scenario. This test includes three hours of operation in an office productivity environment with 32-bit Windows Vista running Outlook 2007 connected to an Exchange server, web browsing using Chrome and IE8, editing files within Office 2007, viewing PDFs in Adobe Reader, an hour of local music playback, and two hours of streaming music via Pandora.

In our Productivity trace, the 2TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD picked up in performance, but still fell short when compared to its 1TB brethren. Here, it posted 12,875.79 IOPS, 379.28MB/s, and 0.601ms in average latency.

The final consumer real-life benchmark simulates disk activity during gaming. This simulation taxes the drive’s read performance, with 6% write operations and 94% read operations. The test consists of a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit system pre-configured with Steam, with Grand Theft Auto 4, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mass Effect 2 already downloaded and installed. The trace captures the heavy read activity of each game loading from the start, as well as textures as the game progresses.

In this gaming profile, the 2TB EVO sustained its performance from the last test, though it still couldn’t surpass its lesser capacity brothers; however, the difference in performance was negligible.

Conclusion

The Samsung 850 EVO is a 2.5” SSD with the highest capacity currently available on the commercial market at 2TB. The current capacity doubles the previous maximum from the 850 EVO line, which as stayed near the top of our leaderboard since it was first introduced. The drive claims pretty impressive performance in part thanks to its TurboWrite technology, not to mention low power consumption, and advanced encryption functions. The drive has a SATA 6Gb/s interface and comes with a 5-year warranty.

Looking at performance, the 2TB Samsung 850 EVO posted both best-in-class, bar-setting numbers and results that were less than that of its smaller capacities brothers. As such, the 2TB model showed off its muscle during our synthetic tests, posting an impressive 493.53MB/s read and 468.10MB/s write in our 2MB sequential transfers while random performance of the same file size showed read and writes of 483.45MB/s and 467.22MB/s, respectively. These results placed the 2TB EVO at the top of the leaderboard and offered a slight gain in performance over the 250GB and 1TB EVO drives. When we moved on to our series of mixed server workloads, the Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD boasted bar-setting performance, which was highlighted by the database and file server profiles. Here, it posted huge gains over the smaller capacities, easily taking top spot by a significant margin. Our real-world consumer tests, however, slowed down the 2TB EVO as it was outshone by the 1TB and 250GB models in all three of our tests. Though there was only a small margin between the results of the 2TB and 1TB/250GB capacities, it would have been nice to see the larger model come out on top.

That being said, 2TB model is a very impressive release by Samsung. With the release of the highest capacity consumer SSD, in addition to the bar-setting performance, they have certainly reaffirmed that they are arguably the market leaders of consumer-grade flash technology.

Pros

  • Doubles the capacity of the previous highest model
  • Impressive overall performance highlighted by its best-of-class results in our mixed server workloads
  • Samsung pedigree with a 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Out-performed by its smaller capacity brothers in our real-world benchmarks
  • Significantly more expensive that a 2TB HDD

Bottom Line

The Samsung 850 EVO 2TB drive is a fantastic addition to the company’s line of consumer SSDs, offering the best of both worlds: market leading capacity and best-of-class performance.

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Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD review

Samsung is upping the ante, releasing the Samsung 850 EVO SSD in large capacity sizes. We review the 2TB version of this stunning series that offers enthusiast class speed but is competitive in pricing. Armed with truckloads of performance and that attractive pricing, Samsung will once again set the tone.

As you guys know, we've been testing NAND Flash based storage ever since the very beginning, and it is surprising to see where we have gotten. The SSD market is fierce and crowded though. While stability and safety of your data have become a number one priority for the manufacturers, the technology keeps advancing at a fast pace as it does, the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply breathtaking! You get between 450 MB/s to 500 MB/sec on SATA3 which is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Next to that, over the past year, NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become much cheaper as well. Prices a year ago settled at just under 1 USD per GB. That was two to threefold two years ago. These days a good SSD can be found under 50 cents per GB. With parties like Samsung, Toshiba and Micro the prices now have dropped with another 20%, you can spot SSDs for 35~40 cents per Gigabyte!

This means that SSD technology and NAND storage has gone mainstream and due to the lower prices, the volume sizes go up as well. Years ago, 64 GB was hot stuff, then slowly we moved to 120 GB, last year 240 GB for an SSD in a PC was the norm, upcoming year we'll transition slowly to roughly 500 GB per SSD as the norm as such a drive is going to hover between 200 to 250 USD/EURO. With the market being so huge, fierce and competitive, it brought us to where we are today... nice volume SSDs at acceptable prices with very fast performance. Not one test system in my lab has a HDD, everything runs on SSD while I receive and retrieve my bigger chunks of data from a NAS server here in the office. The benefits are performance, speed, low power consumption and no noise. You can say that I evangelize SSDs, yes Sir... I am a fan.

Today Samsung releases the large capacity version product series that many of you have been waiting for, the 850 EVO series 2TB and I am happy to report that we will review it. Samsung’s 850 EVO SSD product line is powered by the company’s new MGX controller. A controller with a lowe power 2-core design, this drive will be amongst the fastest we have ever tested. Mind you that the 1 TB and 2TB models of the EVO will get the MEX controller based on an 3 core ARM design. It’s not just about performance though, it is about endurance as well. In a nutshell, endurance is the number of program-erase cycles an SSD has before you can't write onto it anymore. IOPS numbers are now reaching the 90,000 to 100,000 marker. Overall, the 850 series performance has increased as well. Sequential reads for example performance wise are 540 MB/s for the 850 EVO. Write performance is set at 520 MB/s (sequential writes).

Samsung guarantees the 2TB 850 PRO for 10 years or 300 terabytes written (TBW), and the 1TB 850 EVO for five years or 150 TBW. Have a peek at the new EVO, after which we'll dive into a rather in-depth review.

Samsung 850 EVO SSD with MLC 3D V-NAND and the Samsung MHX controller

Introduction Specifications & Features What's SATA 3 (6G)? | NAND Types Product Showcase Product Showcase Installation & Recommendations Test Environment & Equipment SSD Performance File Copy Tests SSD Performance Atto Disk Benchmark SSD Performance PCMark Vantage 64-bit Trace Testing SSD Performance Crystal DiskMark SSD Performance IOMeter SSD Performance AS SSD Benchmark SSD Performance HD Tach and HD Tune SSD Performance SiSoft Sandra HDD SSD Performance Anvil's Storage Utilities SSD Performance Long Duration Degradation Consistency test Final Words & Conclusion

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Samsung's 850 EVO 2TB SSD reviewed

Samsung has some making up to do in enthusiast circles. A series of recent of SSD-related gaffes have earned it the ire of many consumers. Performance degradation on the 840 EVO SSD and a botched firmware update process for the 850 Pro aren’t issues that can easily be swept under the rug. Samsung probably has to hit a couple out of the park before it can expect some of its more jaded customers to return to the fold.

Fortunately, the company usually does just that. The aforementioned 850 Pro firmware update issue aside, the 850 series has enjoyed widespread success—a fact reflected by market data. Trendfocus reports that Samsung drives accounted for a hefty 43.8% of the SSD market share in the second quarter of 2015. 850-series drives have been available in capacities from 120GB to 1TB for some time now, but there’s a new kid on the block. It’s Samsung’s largest SSD to date, the two-freakin’-terabyte 850 EVO. Behold:

Pretty unassuming-looking, right? It comes in the same understated 2.5″ form factor we’ve seen with smaller 850 EVOs. The characteristic gray square on the case lets you know that you’re looking at an EVO and not a Pro. (Samsung has also released a 2TB 850 Pro, but we’re not reviewing that drive today.)

These two leviathans occupy a freshly-carved-out niche as the only 2TB 2.5″ SATA SSDs available on the market. Regardless of past issues with Samsung SSDs, you have to respect what the company’s engineers have achieved here.

Crack the case open and the difference between the EVO 2TB and its less capacious brethren still isn’t immediately apparent. Like its 1TB sibling, the 2TB EVO houses eight NAND packages—four on either side of the PCB. What’s new is the number of dies in each package. The EVO 2TB employs the same 32-layer 128Gbit 3D V-NAND chips found in smaller 850-series drives, but Samsung has stuffed 16 of them into each package rather than eight.

To handle this massive capacity, Samsung ships the EVO 2TB with an additional gigabyte of DRAM, for a total of 2GB. An upgraded Samsung MHX controller takes advantage of that DRAM increase. The MEX controller in the other 850 EVOs can’t work with more than 1GB of RAM.

The 850 EVO 2TB comes with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect in an EVO drive. On the peformance side, TurboWrite allows the controller to treat some of the NAND as an SLC cache to improve write speeds. Installing Samsung’s Magician software also grants access to RAPID Mode, which requisitions a chunk of main system memory to use as an even faster storage cache. We won’t test with RAPID enabled for this review, but check out our coverage of it in the 850 Pro review for more details. For the security-conscious, AES 256-bit hardware encryption and e-drive support are both available to keep your data from prying eyes.

The 850 EVO 2TB sells for about $750 at Newegg right now. That price puts it among the most expensive SSDs you can buy, but remember that the huge capacity makes the EVO pretty competitive on a cost-per-gigabyte basis. Some back-of-the-napkin math brings us to a $0.37-per-gigabyte figure, which is about the same as comparable drives from Crucial like the MX200.

Samsung backs all the 850 EVO variants with a five-year warranty, and the 2TB model is rated for 150TB of writes. That’s plenty of endurance for a standard client workload.

Now, let’s see what this whale of a drive can do.

IOMeter — Sequential and random performance

IOMeter fuels much of our latest storage test suite, including our sequential and random I/O tests. These tests are run across the full capacity of the drive at two queue depths. The QD1 tests simulate a single thread, while the QD4 results emulate a more demanding desktop workload. For perspective, 87% of the requests in our old DriveBench 2.0 trace of real-world desktop activity have a queue depth of four or less. Clicking the buttons below the graphs switches between results charted at the different queue depths.

Our sequential tests use a relatively large 128KB block size.

The EVO 2TB posts the fastest sequential write numbers numbers we’ve seen yet in our (admittedly nascent) data set. Reads are peppy too, keeping pace with the Ultra II 960 GB, which used to pass as a large SSD.

Next, we’ll turn our attention to performance with 4KB random I/O. The tests below are based on the median of three consecutive three-minute runs. SSDs typically deliver consistent sequential and random read performance over that period, but random write speeds worsen as the drive’s overprovisioned area is consumed by incoming writes. We’ve reported average response times rather than raw throughput, which we think makes sense in the context of system responsiveness.

Samsung’s drive delivers impressive performance in random workloads, too. The EVO’s response times are usually on par with (and sometimes even a tiny bit ahead of) the Arc 100, which we’ve rated highly in our previous testing.

IOMeter — Sustained and scaling I/O rates

Our sustained IOMeter test hammers drives with 4KB random writes for 30 minutes straight. It uses a queue depth of 32, which should saturate each drive’s overprovisioned area fairly quickly. This lengthy—and heavy—workload isn’t indicative of typical PC use, but it provides a sense of how the drives react when they’re pushed to the brink.

We’re reporting input and output operations per second (IOps) rather than response times for these tests. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the results from the different SSDs.

The 850 EVO reaches a lofty peak, but the whole point of this particular test is to expose performance degradation as IOMeter exhausts each drive’s overprovisioned area. The steady-state results are what we’re really after. The next graphs highlight the peak random write rate and the average, steady-state speed over the last minute of the test.

It takes some time for the 850 EVO 2TB to fully consume its overprovisioned area, but once it does, its steady-state write speed is much slower than our budget darling’s. The Arc 100 won’t have to abdicate its throne just yet.

Our final IOMeter test examines performance scaling across a broad range of queue depths. We ramp all the way up to a queue depth of 128. Don’t expect AHCI-based drives to scale past 32, though—that’s the maximum depth of their native command queues.

We use a database access pattern comprising 66% reads and 33% writes, all of which are random. The test runs after 30 minutes of continuous random writes that put the drives in a simulated used state. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the different drives. Note that the graphs for the 850 EVO and Arc 100 use a significantly larger scale than the other two.

The 850 EVO meets expectations by smoking the Fury and Ultra II, but it’s still a ways off from the remarkable speed of the Arc 100. The graph below illustrates the difference side-by-side. The buttons toggle between total, read, and write IOps.

TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers

RoboBench trades synthetic tests for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we’ve also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it’s been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 618 6.4MB 3.94GB 1.35%
Work 35,184 33.0KB 1.16GB 76.24%

The “media” set is made up of movie files, MP3s, and high-resolution images. It’s comprised of only a few hundred files in total, and the data aren’t amenable to compression.

The “work” set comprises loads of productivity-type files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files, including the files for the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench’s write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let’s take a look at the media set first. We’re presenting our RoboBench results a little differently this time, so leave feedback in the comments if this change pleases or offends you. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.

The EVO consistently comes out ahead of the other drives in the media sets, especially in writes. Clearly there’s something to Samsung’s TurboWrite mojo.

The outlook is a bit less rosy in the work set. The EVO manages to top the write charts, but the other drives fare noticeably better with reads.

Boot times

Thus far, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives.

We’ll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

These results attest to the fact that there aren’t drastic differences between SATA SSD boot times. The 850 EVO’s numbers blend in with the rest. Nothing to see here—move along.

Load times

Next, we’ll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523MB image file in GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

Again, there’s no big shocker here. The EVO was a bit faster in GIMP and a bit slower in Visual Studio than the other drives, but the real-world difference is minimal. Next, we’ll see how well the EVO performs in gaming scenarios.

The level load times are right within our expectations. The 850 EVO 2TB is as fine a choice as any for a gaming rig, and its 2TB capacity lets gamers keep an enormous library of games installed.

Power consumption

Now for a glance at power consumption. For idle power, we take the lowest value we get over a five-minute period, one minute after Windows has processed its idle tasks. For load power, we take the highest value over a five-minute period while hitting the drive with a write-heavy IOMeter workload.

The EVO stays lean with idle power usage, drawing about as little power as we’ve ever seen in an SSD. It’s a good candidate for a laptop drive, especially if you need high capacity on the go without fumbling with externals. The EVO’s draw under load is in line with the other drives in our dataset.

That concludes our performance testing. For details on the hardware and our testing methods, hit the next page. Otherwise, feel free to jump ahead to the conclusion.

Test notes and methods

Here’s are the essential details for the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB SATA 6Gbps SandForce SF-2281 Kingston MLC
OCZ Arc 100 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS9189 19-nm SandDisk TLC
Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MHX 32-layer Samsung V-NAND TLC

All the SSDs were connected to the motherboard’s Z77 chipset.

We used the following system for testing:

Processor Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte H77N-WiFi
Platform hub Intel H77
Memory size 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3 1866 MHZ
Memory timings 9-10-9-27
System drive Intel 510 120GB
Power supply Antec Edge 650W
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Gigabyte for providing the system’s motherboard, Intel for the CPU and system drive, Corsair for the memory, and Antec for the PSU. And thanks to the drive makers for supplying the rest of the SSDs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

  • IOMeter 1.1.0 x64
  • TR RoboBench 0.2a
  • Avidemux 2.6.8 x64
  • LibreOffice 4.1.1.2
  • GIMP 2.8.14
  • Visual Studio Community 2013
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Tomb Raider
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization V

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.
  • We run almost all of our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run twice to verify the results of the first test, and we only run it again if it shows inconsistencies. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.
  • We work to ensure the CPU’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states are disabled during our tests, effectively pegging the frequency at 3.1GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1920×1080 at 60Hz. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Conclusions

Samsung’s TLC V-NAND continues to impress. Despite the extra stored bit bogging it down versus MLC flash, it keeps pace with and often surpasses the performance of other manufacturers’ MLC drives. This particular drive’s 2TB configuration is a good showcase for 3D V-NAND’s potential. The vast number of dies keeps all eight of the controller’s channels saturated, ensuring consistently high performance.

Should you buy one of these 850 EVO 2TB drives? Given its cost, the 2TB EVO is decidely a niche product. Samsung has set the MSRP for this drive at a lofty $800, but the street prices are a bit lower. Newegg currently sells the drive for $750. Though that’s a scarily large number on its face, the cost per gigabyte works out to about 37 cents. That’s about the same as it is for smaller drives from other manufacturers.

Most users will get more bang for their buck by getting a 250 or 500GB SSD for their most-used programs and relegating the rest of their data to a plain old 3.5″ mechanical drive. But that’s not always an option—many laptops and compact mini-ITX cases only provide space for a single 2.5″ drive, and some workloads like photo and video editing can quickly overrun smaller drives. If you need a huge chunk of speedy solid-state storage in a single SATA form factor, you can’t go wrong with the 850 EVO 2TB.

If you still harbor grudges against the very idea of TLC NAND, the 850 Pro 2TB could also be an option. While we haven’t reviewed that particular model, we historically haven’t found the pricing jump inherent to the Pro series to be worth it for the average consumer. The 850 Pro 2TB commands an even $1000. These days, we don’t generally want to swallow four-digit price tags for anything other than PCIe-based storage.

Looking forward, Samsung has already revealed its intent to shake up the PCIe/NVMe SSD market. We can’t say much more about the company’s 950-series drives just yet, but stay tuned. Samsung’s about to be at bat again, and it’ll surely be swinging for the fences.

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