Samsung 850 evo series

Samsung 850 EVO vs 860 EVO (500GB)

The Samsung 850 EVO has been a long time favourite and the go-to solution for most users because, similarly to its more expensive sibling, the 850 PRO, it took advantage of the 3D Vertical-NAND technology (which translates to a greater density and a better performance because of vertical stacking of the 32 cell layers), it had a better endurance than its predecessor (went from 72TB total bytes written of the 840 EVO to the current 150TB), it came with a longer warranty (5 years instead of the 3 years of the 840 EVO) and it was fast (true, not as fast as the 850 PRO, but not very far behind since both relied on the SATA III interface which has reached the maximum of its possible capacity).

Furthermore, the value for the money ratio made the 850 EVO the better option when compared to the PRO series, which could offer a better endurance and more warranty years, but nothing more. But, after basically dominating the SSD consumer market for about three years, the competitors caught up to the 800 series and Samsung has decided to replace the 850 EVO with the newer 860 EVO SSD, so, since I got both devices available for testing, let’s see if the latter is a significant upgrade over the 850 EVO and if the Korean manufacturer can still hold its place as one of the best makers of SSDs.

Samsung 850 EVOAmazon.comCheck Offer
Samsung 860 EVOAmazon.comCheck Offer

The first thing you’ll notice when browsing through the available 860 EVO models is that, in terms of storage, Samsung decided to get rid of the 120GB model and that’s not really a bad decision, since there are single games that can eat up that much by themselves (the 120GB 850 EVO was surprisingly popular and the manufacturers really were happy to add them to their laptops at a low cost and keep that SSD sticker, but, in 2018, it’s barely enough for the operating system). That being said, the 860 EVO starts from the 256 GB base model and goes up to 4TB; if you don’t want the 2.5-inch form factor SATA III device, Samsung does also provide three mSATA SSDs (250, 500 and 1,000 GB storage) and four M.2 SSDs (from 250GB to 2TB – while the 850 EVO went only up to 1TB).

One technology that both the 850 EVO and the 860 EVO share is the V-NAND 3bit MLC and, as I said before (in the introduction), this tech stacks 32 layers of 3bit cells one on top of the other, so, instead of going with the 2D model (where you could only go in length and width), the 3D model keeps a compact size and has two times the density of the previous model. So, Samsung left this unchanged, as well as the SATA III interface which, well, is still limited to 6Gb/s (apparently, this is the technical maximum, while the SSDs can actually achieve much higher speeds). What has changed is the controller which was upgraded from the MGX of the 850 EVO to the MJX, which will be able to communicate a lot faster with the host system and it features a much better compatibility with Linux OSes.

Furthermore, an important improvement is the cache memory which went from the 512 MB Low Power DDR3 from the 850 EVO to the 512 MB Low Power DDR4 SDRAM but, will that make any real life difference? You’ll probably not notice it, but yes, the LPDDR4 is more energy efficient and has a higher processing performance (it’s close to 50 % better). Probably the biggest improvement from the 850 EVO is the endurance which is now 300TB (before it was 150TB) or if you write 164GB a day for 5 years which I doubt will happen with possibly some exceptions at which point, why are you using the EVO series and haven’t yet upgraded to the PRO? The warranty stayed the same at 5 years, just like the 860 PRO and it’s a bit strange that Samsung cut back from the 10 years of the 850 PRO (no more constraints from competitors?) It’s worth noting that only the writing is the deciding factor in the longevity of an SSD, while the reading has zero effect.

Now, will the increased endurance have a significant impact on the user’s experience? Once again, probably not and the reason is because most people won’t really force the device to its maximum everyday, so there’s a high chance that they’ll change their PC several times until needing to replace the SSD. Some other worth mentioning features that are present on both the 850 and the 860 EVO are the Automatic Garbage Collection Algorithm which, as you may know, an SSD has multiple blocks of data made from pages and, considering that, at some point the SSD will need to remove old blocks to make space for new ones, the GC searches for what are called stale pages which are usually mixed with good pages, so it can move the latter to a new block of data, while deleting the entire stale block, meaning that the SDD should always have a fresh batch of fresh blocks available).

There’s also the Trim Support which is closely linked to the GC and it has the role of letting the OS know precisely which data block are no longer required, so these can be deleted and prepared for rewriting (this feature is needed because the OS can’t see the SSD blocks and the SSD isn’t able to see the OS file system – better explained here: Furthermore, both SSDs also support the S.M.A.R.T feature (checks the reliability of the SSD and predicts any potential failures) and in terms of security, both support AES 256-bit Encryption (Class 0) TCG/Opal IEEE1667.

In terms of performance, I did test both the Samsung 850 EVO and the 860 EVO (in standard mode and after enabling the Rapid mode) using three types of benchmarks: ATTO, CrystalDiskManager and AS SSD Benchmark.

ATTO Benchmark (Standard) ATTO Benchmark (Standard): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)[/caption]

ATTO Benchmark (Rapid Mode) ATTO Benchmark (Rapid Mode): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)[/caption]

CrystalDiskMark Benchmark (Standard): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)

CrystalDiskMark Benchmark (Rapid Mode) CrystalDiskMark Benchmark (Rapid Mode): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)[/caption]

AS SSD Benchmark (Standard) AS SSD Benchmark (Standard): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)[/caption]

AS SSD Benchmark (Rapid Mode) AS SSD Benchmark (Rapid Mode): 850 EVO (left) vs 860 EVO (right)[/caption]

The results don’t show a radical difference between the two SSDs and depending on the benchmark, either the 860 EVO or the 850 EVO would get a slight advantage. This clearly indicates that the user will not experience any difference between the two SSDs in most real life conditions. So, why should you upgrade to the 860 EVO? Well, at some point, you won’t really have a choice because Samsung discontinued the 850 EVO, so the 860 EVO will fully take its place. At the same time, the 860 EVO does come with some improvements (although nothing radical) and the price tag remains similar to its predecessor, so there is hardly any reason not to choose the newer model over the 850 EVO.

Samsung 850 Evo 250GB Review


  • Consistent, fast read and write speeds
  • Cheaper than 850 Pro
  • Decent warranty


  • 850 Pro drive is faster still
  • Lesser endurance rating
  • No extras included

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £110.00
  • 250GB capacity (233GB formatted)
  • 7mm form factor
  • SATA 3 interface
  • 5yr RTB warranty

Samsung is a market leaders when it comes to SSD performance, and its flagship 850 Pro ratcheted the bar even higher. It offered stonking speed, and provided ample evidence that controlling the research, development and production of a drive provides the best results.

The 850 Evo isn’t a flagship drive, but it’s just as intriguing as the Pro version. For starters, it uses the innovative 3D V-NAND that made its debut in the Pro and, despite the high-end technology on show, it’s much cheaper.

SEE ALSO: Best Laptops and PCs Round-up

Samsung 850 Evo – Design

Samsung’s 3D V-NAND marks a sea-change in SSD construction. Previous drives have crammed ever-smaller transistors into horizontal layers in an effort to improve capacities, but now Samsung has stacked its transistors vertically, too.

That means Samsung can fit the same number of transistors into its drives without the pressure to make them smaller – a move that means a huge reduction into the electricity leaks and performance inefficiencies that arrived when tiny transistors were squeezed into traditional horizontal designs. It also means that this drive uses a 40nm manufacturing process – much larger than the 20nm or less used on other SSDs, and an illustration about the lack of pressure now being put on transistor size.

The 850 Evo has a lower price because it’s built with TLC rather than MLC memory chips. They’re triple-cell rather than multi-cell bits of silicon, which means that each individual data cell stores three bits of data rather than two.

That choice means more data can be stored in the same amount of memory, which means that the Evo’s costs are lowered – but it also means performance will take a hit because of that increased density.

The 850 Evo’s smaller capacities – 120GB, 250GB and 500GB – are powered by Samsung’s MGX controller. It’s a newer chip than the MEX used inside the 1TB 850 Evo and all of the 850 Pro drives, and it’s got two cores rather than three. That sounds like a regressive design, but Samsung argues otherwise: it says the dual-core, ARM-powered chip is more power-efficient, and that its smaller SSDs don’t need the third core anyway.Some of Samsung’s Evo models differ from the flagship Pro in other departments. The smaller 120GB and 250GB drives have an endurance rating of 75TB, while the 500GB and 1TB versions are rated for 150TB. The former rating is middling, and it’s unable to match the 150TB rating given to all 850 Pro drives.

On the software side the 850 Evo matches its more expensive stablemate. It’s got support for 256-bit AES encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667, and it comes with Rapid Mode 2.0, which siloes a portion of a PC’s memory to use as a cache for the SSD’s frequently-accessed files – a mode that can give performance a boost.

Samsung 850 Evo – Performance

The Evo was never going to match Samsung’s Pro drive for pace, but we’re pleased our 250GB sample wasn’t

far behind the 512GB Pro in most tests.

In AS SSD’s sequential read and write benchmarks the Evo scored 510MB/s and 499MB/s. The former figure is 17MB/s behind the 850 Pro, while the latter is only 3MB/s

behind. The 850 Evo is a better bet than the Crucial MX100, too: our favourite affordable drive was a little quicker in the read test, but it could only manage 331MB/s when writing.

The 850 Evo impressed in AS SSD’s small file tests. In the 4K read benchmark its pace of 43MB/s actually beat the 850 Pro, and when writing

its 96MB/s result wasn’t far behind Samsung’s more expensive product.

The Evo continued its good form in the 4K-64 test, where it wasn’t far

behind the Pro drive and still proved faster than most competitors.

Atto’s benchmarks measure performance across a wide range of file sizes, and here the Evo’s TLC memory proved inconsistent. The Evo was at its best when handling small files: its 419MB/s 8K read and 383MB/s 8K write results smash the Crucial MX100, and it maintained its lead over the cheaper drive when reading files up to 64KB in size – and in every file

writing test.

The Evo fell behind in Atto’s larger file read tests, where it topped out at 550MB/s. That’s behind the 850 Pro and the

cheaper Crucial drive.

The IOMeter benchmark evaluates an SSD’s longer-term performance, and the mid-range Evo fell between its two rivals in our tests. Its all-in-one result of 5,270 I/Os is good: unable to match the 7,826 I/Os scored by the pricier Pro, but miles ahead of

the 2,426 I/Os scored by the MX100.

The Evo sat between its competitors in other IOMeter tests. Its 202MB/s pace was virtually in between the 300MB/s and 93MB/s results returned by the Pro and MX100 drives, and the Evo’s average response time of 0.18ms was faster than

the Crucial but a tad slower than the other Samsung.

Other things to consider

The 850 Evo comes with a five-year warranty. That’s two years better than the deal provided with the last generation’s 850 Evo drive, but it’s

half the length of the generous coverage that comes with the Pro drive.

The two Samsung drives don’t differ when it comes to their boxed extras – neither have any. That’s a tad disappointing, as SSDs used to come with caddies, blankers and even external enclosures, but it’s becoming more

commonplace as costs are cut.

We’ve reviewed the 250GB version of the Evo, which costs £110 – a tempting 44p-per-gigabyte. That makes it better value than the 256GB 850 Pro, which now sits at £136, or 53p-per-gigabyte. It still can’t compete with the Crucial – its 256GB

version costs just £78.

The 850 Evo is available in three different capacities, too. The smaller 120GB model costs a slim £72, but you’ll have to pay £198 for the 500GB model. The largest offers a

whopping 1TB of space but it’ll set you back £360.

Should I Buy the Samsung 850 Evo?

The 850 Evo strikes a good balance between price and performance. The inclusion of TLC memory helps reduce the cost, and it’s tempered by 3D V-NAND, which helps keep performance ahead of budget drives and within

touching distance of the Samsung flagship.

The good pace and £110 price mean the 850 Evo is the best mid-range SSD we’ve seen, but the shrinking prices and increasing capacities of this market mean the margins between competing products are smaller than ever. The MX100 is a good budget alternative for modest machines, and the 850 Pro delivers

better performance for a little extra cash.

SEE ALSO: Best SSDs Round-up


The 850 Evo mixes cheaper memory with 3D V-NAND technology to strike a keen balance between price and performance, and it makes for an SSD that’s one of the best mid-range drives we’ve ever seen. The faster 850 Pro isn’t much more expensive, though, and capable budget SSDs are available

for even less cash.

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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Samsung 850 EVO SSD review

For the past year, Samsung's 840 EVO SSD has been a benchmark for SATA SSDs. Crucial’s MX100 surpassed it, offering a slightly faster drive at a slightly better price, but the 840 EVO is still one of the best drives available when it comes to price and performance. That means the 850 EVO has a lot to live up to. Can it take the best of the new high-performance Samsung 850 Pro and offer it in a cheaper, consumer-focused SSD without sacrificing speed?

The answer is yes, but speed isn’t what’s exciting about the 850 EVO. It’s only marginally faster than its predecessor, the 840 EVO, and with the limitations of the SATA interface, it isn’t as fast as some PCIe SSDs. If you already own an 840 EVO or a similarly speedy SSD, there’s no reason for you to run out and upgrade to the 850 EVO.

Instead, there are two enticing selling points for new customers: improved durability and a new five year warranty. The 850 EVO is built to last. And, yeah, it’s pretty fast, too.

Here are Samsung’s claimed specs for the 256GB model of the Samsung 850 EVO, which is the one we tested:

  • Sequential read speed: 540 MB/s
  • Sequential write speed: 520 MB/s
  • 4KB random read speed: 97,000 IOPs
  • 4KB random write speed: 88,000 IOPs

For comparison’s sake, the 840 EVO claimed sequential reads of 520 MB/s and writes of only 410 MB/s. But more important are the endurance numbers Samsung puts up:

  • 850 EVO: 75 terabytes of writes for 120/250GB models. 150 terabytes of writes for 500GB/1TB models.
  • 840 EVO: 40 terabytes of writes for 120/250 GB models. 80 terabytes of writes for 500GB/1TB models.

Samsung guarantees that the 850 EVO will function after nearly twice as many data writes as the 840 EVO, which gives it that nice bump up to a 5 year warranty. To write 75 terabytes of data to the drive in five years, you’d have to do 40 gigabytes of writes every day. And these are just the guarantees; a year-long endurance test at The Tech Report saw an 840 EVO survive for 700 terabytes of writes before giving up the ghost.

The improved performance and endurance of the the 850 EVO comes from some new technology Samsung has implemented: 3D V-NAND, stacking 32 layers of cells on top of one another. That technology doesn’t have any bearing on using the drive day-to-day, but if you want more detail, Anandtech has you covered.

We benchmarked the 850 EVO against its predecessor, the newer 850 Pro, and a couple other SSDs we had available. All the SSDs were connected to a Haswell-E 5960X system running Windows 8.1 with 32GB of RAM. Here are some basic results from Crystal Disk Mark:

SSD Sequential Read Sequential Write 4K Random Read (QD=32) 4K Random Write (QD=32)
Samsung 850 EVO (250 GB) 510 MB/s 493 MB/s 390 MB/s 334 MB/s
Samsung 850 Pro (1TB) 540 MB/s 501 MB/s 400 MB/s 349 MB/s
Samsung 840 EVO (1TB) 512 MB/s 494 MB/s 351 MB/s 351 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme II 526 MB/s 483 MB/s 288 MB/s 213 MB/s

As you can see, all the drives returned similar results, with just a few standout categories. The SanDisk Extreme II and Samsung 850 Pro delivered very fast sequential reads, but all of Samsung’s SSDs stayed pretty competitive. The 850 EVO’s slower random write speed is partially due to its size of 250GB compared to the other two 1TB Samsung drives we hand on-hand. Anandtech found that the 1TB model of the 850 EVO performed about 50 MB/s faster in 4K random reads than its 250GB version.

Our benchmarks with ATTO show how consistently the drives perform, but you can see that the 850 EVO has a slight speed edge over the 840 EVO, and continues to ramp up in speed at larger transfer sizes, unlike the Sandisk Extreme II.

The Samsung 850 EVO is plenty fast, and its reliability will be a great benefit for anyone doing gigabytes of writes on a daily basis. Price is where the 850 EVO falters.

Amazon is currently selling pre-orders of the 250GB drive for $140, which is $10 cheaper than its MSRP. The 840 EVO performs similarly in most use cases—you’ll be hard pressed to notice the speed difference—and only costs $125 for 250GB. And the Crucial MX100—which we didn’t benchmark, but is the current go-to recommendation for a cheap, high-performance SSD—costs only $110 for a 256GB model.

The Samsung 850 Pro and Sandisk Extreme II are more premium-priced SSDs at $175 and $185 for 250GB and 240GB, respectively. For gaming and general system usage, there’s little perceivable difference between the consumer and “professional” drives. You don’t need to spend more.

It’s hard to recommend the 850 EVO over the MX100 unless you’re particularly worried about SSD longevity, or want that five year warranty (Crucial’s warranty is three years). Samsung does offer one other bonus in the form of its Magician Software, which includes a cool feature called Rapid mode. Rapid uses some of your RAM as a cache to speed up transfer performance. It turns in incredible benchmark numbers in some tests (up to 6 GB/s!), but is slower in other situations. It’s not enough to justify the higher price.

Here's the MSRP breakdown for each 850 EVO model.

  • $100 for 120GB ($90 Amazon)
  • $150 for 250GB ($140 Amazon)
  • $270 for 500GB ($250 Amazon)
  • $500 for 1TB ($470 Amazon)

The 250GB 850 EVO is a great SSD that’s about $30 too expensive to be the best price/performance bargain out there. If Amazon slices a few more dollars off the price, this will be the SSD to get.

UserBenchmark: Intel 600p Series NVMe PCIe M.2 vs Samsung 850 Evo

Effective Speed Effective SSD Speed 107 % 121 % Slightly faster effective speed.+13%
Read Avg. Sequential Read Speed 474 MB/s 946 MB/s Hugely faster read speed.+100%
Write Avg. Sequential Write Speed 445 MB/s 575 MB/s Faster write speed.+29%
4K Read Avg. 4K Random Read Speed 40.9 MB/s Slightly faster random read.+12% 36.6 MB/s
4K Write Avg. 4K Random Write Speed 101 MB/s 109 MB/s Slightly faster random write.+8%
Mixed Avg. Sequential Mixed IO Speed 377 MB/s 577 MB/s Much faster mixed IO speed.+53%
4K Mixed Avg. 4K Random Mixed IO Speed 54.6 MB/s Faster random mixed IO.+17% 46.8 MB/s
SusWrite Avg. Sustained Write Speed 258 MB/s Much faster sustained write speed.+32% 196 MB/s
Read Peak Sequential Read Speed 508 MB/s 2102 MB/s Hugely faster peak read speed.+314%
Write Peak Sequential Write Speed 494 MB/s 1009 MB/s Hugely faster peak write speed.+104%
4K Read Peak 4K Random Read Speed 48.5 MB/s 63.7 MB/s Much faster peak random read.+31%
4K Write Peak 4K Random Write Speed 135 MB/s 160 MB/s Faster peak random write.+19%
Mixed Peak Sequential Mixed IO Speed 418 MB/s 1005 MB/s Hugely faster peak mixed IO speed.+140%
4K Mixed Peak 4K Random Mixed IO Speed 66.7 MB/s 77.4 MB/s Faster peak random mixed IO.+16%
SusWrite Peak Sequential Sustained Write 60s Average 327 MB/s Slightly faster peak sustained write speed.+10% 297 MB/s

Market Share

Based on 18,003,225 SSDs tested.
Market Share Market Share (trailing 30 days) 2.81 % Hugely higher market share.+837% 0.3 %
Value Value For Money 11.6 % 19.2 % Much better value.+65%
User Rating UBM User Rating 127 % Hugely more popular.+140% 53 %
Price Price (score) £95 £59 Much cheaper.+38%
Capacity Capacity 250GB 256GB


The 250GB Samsung 850 Evo has a similar architecture to its hugely successful predecessor, the 840 Evo. Both drives are TLC based but the 850 uses 3D V-NAND as opposed to regular NAND. Both drives also feature a Turbowrite cache (TWC) which buffers up to 3GB of writes. The TWC enables high burst write speeds but when the cache exhausts write speeds drop to 300 MB/s. Comparing the 850 and 840 Evos shows that effective speed, has improved by 11% and the warranty has been extended from three to five years but prices are also up by 11%. The 850 Evo does put in superb benchmarks (second only to the 850 Pro) but these are only valid within the TWC. At current price levels the 850 Evo struggles to compete with the value leaders. [Dec '14 SSDrivePro]


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Group Test Results

  • Best user rated - User sentiment trumps benchmarks for this comparison.
  • Best value for money - Value for money is based on real world performance.
  • Fastest real world speed - Real World Speed measures performance for typical consumers.
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Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD Review

At the beginning of December last year, Samsung released their latest 850 series of SSDs that promises even better performance and reliability than their popular 840 series. Today, we’ll be looking at the 850 EVO 250 GB version, which is powered by Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology. There are plenty of other unique technologies Samsung brings to the table with the release of the 850 series, so let’s go find out what this SSD is capable of!

Specifications and Features

Below are the specifications as provided to us by Samsung. As you can see, Samsung uses a completely in-house design with its own MGX controller and 3D V-NAND flash memory. TRIM, Garbage Collection, and S.M.A.R.T. are all supported, as well as backward compatibility with all previous SATA interfaces. Impressive read/write and IOPS performance are noted in the specifications, so we’ll run our tests to make sure they measure up. Lastly, the 850 EVO series is backed with a 5-year warranty.

Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB SSD Specifications
Usage Application Client PCs
Capacity 250 GB
Dimensions (LxWxH) 100 x 69.85 x 6.8 (mm)
Interface SATA 6Gb/s (compatible w/SATA 3Gb/s & SATA 1.5Gb/s)
Form Factor 2.5 Inch
Controller Samsung MGX controller
NAND Flash Memory Samsung 32 layer 3D V‐NAND
DRAM Cache Memory 512 MB
  • Seq Read Max 540 MB/s
  • Seq Write Max 520 MB/s
  • 4K Random Read (QD1) Max 10,000 IOPS
  • 4K Random Write (QD1) Max 40,000 IOPS
  • 4K Random Read (QD32) Max 97,000 IOPS
  • 4K Random Write (QD32) Max 88,000 IOPS
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
Power Consumption Active Read/Write (Average): Max. 3.7W / Max. 4.4W Idle: Max. 50mW

Device Sleep: 2mW

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: 20~2000 Hz, 20G
Shock Non-Operating: 150G, Duration 0.5m sec, 3 axis
Warranty 5 Years Limited

Below are the features associated with the 850 EVO series of SSDs. All images and descriptions courtesy Samsung.

Driving the 850 EVO 250 GB SSD is Samsung’s 3D V‐NAND technology with TurboWrite for improved performance, as well as Samsung’s in-house 2-core MGX controller. This combination, according to Samsung, allows the 850 EVO to bring an improved user experience when compared to the 840 EVO. Samsung touts up to 1.9x faster random write speeds for the 250 GB model. Additionally, the 850 EVO offers a 5-year warranty and improved endurance numbers over the EVO 840.

The 850 EVO is said to offer a 25% increase in power efficiency savings over the 840 EVO during write operations. Given that the 850 EVO uses the 3D V-NAND, the power usage claims can be believed as they use around half the power of traditional Planar 2D NAND.

The 850 EVO supports data encryption through advanced AES 256 and a RAPID Mode that can be used through Samsung’s Magician software.

Samsung’s innovative 3D V-NAND flash memory architecture breaks through density, performance, and endurance limitations of today’s conventional planar NAND architecture. Samsung 3D V-NAND stacks 32 cell layers vertically resulting in higher density and better performance utilizing a smaller footprint.

Achieve incredible read/write performance to maximize your everyday computing experience with Samsung’s TurboWrite technology. You can obtain up to 1.9x faster performance than the award-winning Samsung 840 EVO. The 850 EVO delivers class-leading performance in sequential read (540MB/s) and write (520MB/s) speeds. Plus, gain optimized random performance in all QD for better real-world performance.

Samsung’s Magician software enables RAPID Mode for up to 2x faster performance by utilizing unused PC memory (DRAM) as a high-speed cache. The newest version of Samsung Magician supports up to a 4 GB cache on a system with 16 GB of DRAM.

The 850 EVO doubles the endurance* and reliability compared to the previous generation 840 EVO and features a class-leading 5 year warranty. With enhanced long-term reliability, the 850 EVO assures long term dependable performance of up to 30% longer than the previous generation 840 EVO.

The 850 EVO delivers significantly longer battery life on your notebook with a controller designed and optimized for 3D V-NAND that supports Device Sleep for Windows at a highly efficient 2mW. The 850 EVO supports 25% better power efficiency than the 840 EVO during write operations thanks to ultra-efficient 3D V-NAND only consuming half the energy than that of traditional Planar 2D NAND.

The 850 EVO comes fortified with the latest hardware-based full disk encryption engine. The AES 256-bit hardware encryption secures data without any performance degradation and complies with TCG Opal 2.0. Easily integrate into Windows with Microsoft e-drive IEEE1667 to keep your data protected at all times.

The 850 EVO’s Dynamic Thermal Guard constantly monitors and maintains ideal temperatures for the drive to operate in optimal conditions to ensure the integrity of your data. The Thermal Guard automatically throttles temperatures down when temperatures rise above optimal critical threshold. This protects your data while maintaining responsiveness to help ensure your computer is always safe from overheating.

In three simple steps, the Samsung One-stop Install Navigator software easily allows you to migrate all the data and applications from your existing drive to the 850 EVO. The included Samsung Magician software also allows you to setup, optimize, and manage your system for peak SSD performance.

Samsung is the only brand to design and manufacture all its components inhouse allowing complete optimized integration. The result – the rock-solid EVO 850, with enhanced performance, lower power consumption with an up to 1 GB LPDDR2 DRAM cache memory and improved energy-efficiency with the MEX/MGX controller – all from the #1 memory manufacturer in the world.

Packaging/Product Tour

The mostly white box provides general information about the product inside. The front has a picture of the EVO, the capacity printed on one corner, and branding at the bottom. Around back, we have a few marketing phrases and a prominently displayed 3D V-NAND emblem.

Box Front

Box Rear

Once inside the box, the 850 EVO is sitting in plastic bed with the documentation and support DVD packaged underneath.

EVO Packaging

Box Contents Laid Out

The SSD itself is very sleek looking with just a minimal amount of branding on the top side. The bottom of the EVO has a label attached to it that provides the part number, model number, serial number, etc.

Samsung EVO Top Side

Samsung EVO Bottom Side

The Samsung EVO has the typical SATA and power connections. Mounting can be accomplished by using the four threaded holes at the bottom or the two threaded holes on each side of the drive.

SATA and Power Connections

Mounting Locations

The next two pictures show you what’s inside the drive once it’s opened up. The EVO 250 GB SSD is so small that it only takes up about 1/3 of the space inside the casing. In the pictures below, you can see the 3D V-NAND, the 2-core MGX controller, and the 512 MB of DRAM cache memory.

Samsung EVO 250 GB Internals

Samsung EVO 250 GB PCB

Testing and Benchmarks

Test System

Here’s the list of components used in our test bed.

We have a variety of comparison samples, which include a Samsung 840 Pro and EVO. We’ll also toss in the recently reviewed Patriot Ignite and a couple of older drives from OCZ and Kingston.

Test Method

Each SSD was Secure Erased (SE) before each and every benchmark run using Samsung’s Magician software utility. This ensures we get the best results possible for each test run. Here are the benchmarks we run with a brief description.

  • Crystal Disk Mark – Run at Default Settings (5 Pass)
  • AS SSD – Run at Default Settings
  • ATTO – Run at Default Setting with QD Set to 10
  • IoMeter 2010 – Ran Manually, aligned, and QD32 for the 4K Tests


CrystalDiskMark (CDM) is designed to test read/write sequential, 512K random, and 4K random performance. It’s very good way to test bandwidth under heavy load conditions. CDM uses incompressible data during its tests, so the sequential file transfer speeds will show lower performance numbers when compared to benchmarks that use compressible data, such as ATTO for instance.

Starting with the CDM read tests, the sequential test shows the top four drives all within the margin of error and easily outpacing the OCZ Vertex 460 and Kingston 3KSSD. The 512K test had the 850 EVO in the middle of the pack and losing out to both the 840 series drives, but came out on top of the Patriot Ignite. The 4K test showed the 850 EVO putting the hammer down on all the competition and threw out an impressive 55.1 MB/s. The 4K QD32 test had all three Samsung drives within the margin of error and beating out the Patriot Ignite. The older Vertex 460 and Kingston 3KSSD were no match in the 4K QD32 test.

Moving over to the CDM write testing, we find a pretty similar pattern here. The sequential test again showed the top four contenders all within a whisker of each other, but the Patriot Ignite squeezed out a victory here. The 512K test was not kind to the 850 EVO, as it only managed to top the Kingston 3KSSD in this test. The 850 EVO quickly recovered in the 4K and 4K QD32 tests and took the top spot in both of those tests.

CDM Read Tests

CDM Write Tests

Similar to CDM, AS SSD also uses incompressible data during its test runs. The read tests again show a tight group at the top of the sequential test, and the 850 EVO dominated the 4K test. The 4K-64Thrd test had the 850 EVO falling short of the Patriot Ignite, but topping all the other comparison drives.

The AS SSD write tests were a mixed bag. The sequential write test had the 850 EVO falling behind the Patriot Ignite and both 840 series drives. The 4K test again shows where the 850 EVO is at its best (comparatively speaking) as it dominated all the competition here. The 4K-64Thrd results were hard on the 850 EVO as it only managed to top the Kingston 3KSSD and was substantially behind the other competitors.

AS SSD reported access times that landed the 850 EVO in the middle of the pack during the write test. The read access time was more impressive, and the 850 EVO only lost out to the Patriot Ignite here. AS SSD also includes a scoring system based on overall read/write performance. The total score is the most important here, and the 850 EVO came in second behind the Patriot Ignite.

AS SSD Read Test Results

AS SSD Write Test Results

AS SSD Access Time Test Results

AS SSD Performance Score Results

Our IOMeter testing is set manually to test 2MB read/write, 4K read/write, and IOPS performance. The 4K tests are ran “Aligned” and with the QD set to 32. The 2MB write test shows the advantage going to the Patriot Ignite over the other comparison samples with the 850 EVO coming in a close second. the 2MB read test is another tightly knit group with not much difference between all the samples.

The 4K write test shows almost no difference between all of the SSDs we tested, but the 4K read test has the 850 EVO dominating all comers with an impressive 397.38 MB/s.

The 2MB IOPS write test had the 850 EVO beating out both 840 series drives, but falling victim to all the other comparison samples. The 2MB IOPS read test shows very little difference between five of the samples with the OCC Vertex 460 falling substantially behind.

Moving over to the 4K IOPS testing, the top five write scores were all real close to each other with the OCZ Vertex 460 trailing behind. The 4K read results show an impressive win for the 850 EVO as it easily handled the competition.

IOMeter 2MB/4K Read/Write Test Results

2MB IOPS Test Results

4K IOPS Test Results

ATTO is used by most SSD manufacturers to claim their read/write speeds. The 850 EVO reached the speeds that Samsung touts, but in most cases was behind the 840 series drives and the Patriot Ignite. The graphs below only show the results for the 850 EVO, but the table below provides all the raw data used to make the graph.

ATTO Read Test Results

ATTO Write Test Results

ATTO Benchmark Raw Data – Read
850 EVO Ignite 840 Evo 840 Pro Vertex 460 3KSSD
1K 18296 181065 112932 141288 22841 736
4K 311931 271175 299155 357179 289413 2968
16K 395009 423133 407786 516332 299587 32283
64K 542406 557104 546424 553254 514813 75730
256K 548890 560378 555213 556495 533963 543934
1024K 550323 561841 554109 555383 541685 551579
4096K 550323 563151 554109 555383 541685 551579
8192K 550323 563151 554109 555383 541685 551579
ATTO Benchmark Raw Data – Write
850 EVO Ignite 840 EVO 840 Pro Vertex 460 3KSSD
1K 154441 60160 102436 129316 63189 914
4K 285845 277980 245768 313491 279608 3775
16K 454703 471500 451387 402653 348197 12554
64K 522241 537140 529091 484933 452356 261629
256K 527387 543934 533963 499112 502627 524802
1024K 527637 544125 534199 511305 505290 522502
4096K 526344 544125 534495 490293 505290 525057
8192K 526344 544125 534495 506481 505290 524060

This is the point of the review where we normally provide a screenshot of Anvil’s Storage Utility, but we ran into a bit of a problem when we tried our final secure erase using Samsung’s Magician software. After using the Magician utility to SE the drive many times during the course of our testing, this time the procedure barked at us around the 50% completion mark and failed to complete the SE operation. From that point on, we were never able to get the 850 EVO to be recognized in Windows 7. We spent a substantial amount of time checking Windows Disk Management, SATA cables, power cables, etc. We were never able to resolve the issue. The drive showed in the list of hard drives in the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS, but that’s as far as any recognition of the drive went. No firmware downloads are available for the 850 EVO as of yet, so we asked Samsung to send us a bootable ISO image of the firmware that came on the drive, but they declined to do so. Instead, they sent a bootable version of their SE utility, which didn’t work either. The utility complained of the drive being “password locked”, which is a common error after a failed secure erase. In the end, Samsung had no resolution to the issue and confirmed the drive had indeed failed.

Samsung released Magician 4.5 alongside the 850 series drives to fix some compatibility issues with IRST (Intel Rapid Storage Technology) and bump the Rapid Mode feature to version 2.1. The Magician software has a lot of features that are well worth exploring, but I’d probably recommend the secure erase procedure be done via some other method… for obvious reasons. Having said all this, it’s quite possible our issue is an isolated one, and someone else may never encounter the problem.


Our problems with the Magician software aside, the 850 EVO performed just as Samsung claims and even better in some cases. While the 850 EVO 250 GB drive is very fast, upgrading probably won’t appeal to enthusiast users who already own a newer, high-performance SSD. Sure, we have some new technologies Samsung implemented on the 850 EVO, but you’ll be hard pressed to notice them in real world usage when compared to the 840 series. However, if you’re looking to add a SSD to an existing system or building a new system, one of the most compelling reasons the 840 EVO 250 GB is worthy of consideration is the price. Newegg is currently selling the drive for $119, but I found it at Amazon for as little as $112. Those prices land the 850 EVO 250 GB at the lower end of the price spectrum for SSDs with similar performance numbers. Pricing is definitely not an issue.

One of Samsung’s major selling points for the 850 EVO was improved endurance and reliability compared to the previous 840 series SSDs. Unfortunately, we can’t vouch for that claim because the drive they sent us for review failed so quickly. We can only report on our experience with the product sent to us, so I can’t in good conscience give the 850 EVO our Approved award. Furthermore, because Samsung confirmed the drive failed… well, you get the picture.

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

–Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

Samsung 850 EVO review: 3D NAND and insane endurance for the masses

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. 

Note: This review is part of our best SSDs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

The controller employed by the 850 EVO varies by capacity. The new MGX, designed with consumers in mind, is used on the 512GB and smaller models, while the older MEX is used in the 1TB version. The 128GB and 256GB versions are rated for 75TBW, and the 512GB and 1TB models, 150TBW. TBW stands for TeraBytes Written—the total amount of data that can be written to the drive before its cells wear out.

In my conversations with Samsung, officials strongly hinted that TBW lab results are multiples higher. Given that the technology in both the Pro and EVO are nearly identical, it's easy to believe.

Those still concerned about SSD drive endurance might also want to give this recent study a read.

Alas, while the 850 EVO represents a new high-water mark in mainstream SSD longevity, it doesn’t deliver a price drop. The drive is debuting at roughly the same price as the 840 EVO currently sells for: $100 for the 120GB, $150 for the 256GB, $270 for the 500GB, and $500 for the 1TB. Apparently the company would like to turn a profit on NAND for a while. Can’t say as I blame them.

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.

The 500GB 850 EVO that Samsung sent us proved a capable, if not blazing-fast, performer without its RAPID caching software enabled. It averaged around 380MBps reading and 370MBps writing in CrystalDiskMark. CDM also rated the drive as reading small 4KB files at 244MBps and writing them at 223MBps (that’s with a queue depth of 32). ATTO rated the drive at around 390MBps. With the RAPID caching software fired up, CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read and write times were anywhere from a ridiculous 7.6GBps to a slightly less ridiculous 2.9GBps. ATTO was similar in rating the drive anywhere from 2GBps to 4GBps.

One caveat: The amount of data written by CrystalDiskMark and ATTO don't come close to stressing RAPID. With larger files, you'll get better performance with RAPID, but hardly twenty times faster. If the files are long enough, say 5GB or more, RAPID's impact disappears completely. 

Note: Performance of the 1TB 850 EVO with its MEX controller should be similar to the 850 Pro's.

The 850 EVO is a nicely affordable SSD, highly recommended if longevity is your major concern. We were hoping to see some of that large drop in price that 3D NAND should eventually deliver, but we’ll take the 850 EVO as-is.

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