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Samsung 860 EVO SSD review: Performance and reliability for your PC

Samsung 860 EVO
Samsung 860 EVO (Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows Central Recommended Award

It's easy to recommend a Samsung solid-state drive (SSD) to someone who's building a new PC or just wants to upgrade the drive in an existing one.

Samsung's reputation for making SSDs is well founded and well respected. When reviewing a new laptop, such as the Razer Blade 15, hearing there's a Samsung drive inside is music to the ears.

The 860 EVO isn't one of the company's screaming-fast NVMe drives. It relies on normal SATA data connectivity, which means it's not nearly as fast as a 970 EVO but still has plenty going for it if you're hunting for a good quality SSD.

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Samsung 860 Evo specifications

CategorySpec
Capacity250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
Sequential read550 MB/s
Sequential write520 MB/s
Random read98,000 IOPS
Random write90,000 IOPS
NANDSamsung V NAND
ControllerSamsung MJX
Cache memory512MB DDR (250GB, 500GB)
1GB DDR4 (1TB)
2GB DDR4 (2TB)
4GB DDR4 (4TB)
Max power consumption4W
WarrantyFive years
Endurance150 TBW (250GB)
300 TBW (500GB)
600 TBW (1TB)
1,200TBW (2TB)
2,400 TBW (4TB)
1.5 million hours reliability

Samsung 860 EVO vs. the competition

Samsung 860 Evo

Samsung SSDs (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Samsung 860 EVO comes in three flavors, though it's the 1TB 2.5-inch drive I'm looking at here. Performance should be consistent, though. Also available is an m.2 form factor or a mSATA version of the 860 EVO in the same capacities as the 2.5-inch drive.

Despite the differing connections, all connect to your PC using SATA, and the rated speeds are in the same ballpark as some of the competitors, and even its own direct predecessor, as shown below.

Samsung 860 EVOWD BlueCrucial MX300Samsung 850 EVO
Read550 MB/s560 MB/s530 MB/s540 MB/s
Write520 MB/s530 MB/s510 MB/s520 MB/s

The WD Blue drive has a higher-rated read and write speed, but it falls a fair bit behind the 860 EVO when looking at the random read and write (IOPS) values, with scores of 3,000 and 6,000 respectively, lower than the Samsung drive when comparing the 1TB drives.

Where the 860 EVO falls a little short is the price. It's currently about $50 more expensive at the 1TB level than the WD Blue.

Samsung 860 EVO performance

Samsung 860 Evo

Our SSD was completely fresh out of the box and had nothing installed on it. For testing purposes, it was connected to my own desktop PC running a Ryzen 7 2700X, Aorus X470 Ultra Gaming motherboard and 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2,400MHz.

Being Ryzen over Intel could produce some variation in results, as the two platforms seemingly can behave differently. In particular, Ryzen can have strong sequential speeds, while it's random performance can suffer. Indeed, running Samsung's benchmark in its Magician application netted an IOPS figure dramatically lower than the rated mark.

Looking at the 860 EVO as it stands in the system it's running in still generates positive results.

Image 1 of 2

ATTO

Image 2 of 2

CDM

The ATTO benchmark (above left) gives you an idea of performance as you scale up through file size. There are a couple of anomalies but generally, it's a solid curve. In CrystalDiskMark (above right), the sequential speeds actually exceed what Samsung says it should do, which is great.

The other storage SSD in my system is the older Samsung 750 EVO, and as you'd expect, it's a little behind the 860 EVO in every field.

Samsung Magician

Samsung Magician

Samsung Magician is a basic but useful application that supports any of the company's SSDs. Besides running a performance check and optimizations, Samsung has a feature called Rapid Mode which is supported on most of its SATA SSDs.

Rapid mode engages the available resources on your PC, such as the RAM, to help it intelligently cache data you access often, thus creating the appearance of faster data transfer. It doesn't make the SSD any faster, and the limits of the hardware are still the limits, but it's a clever trick that could make a difference in your system.

What is Samsung's SSD Rapid Mode and how do you use it?

The bottom line on Samsung's 860 EVO

Performance of the 860 EVO is everything you'd expect from a Samsung SSD: excellent across the board. At this level, it's hard to be significantly faster than the competition, and the WD Blue is very close at a lower price.

Pros

  • Great performance.
  • Solid endurance.
  • Five year warranty

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to the competition

Raw speed isn't everything, though, and where Samsung pulls clearly ahead is its endurance and five-year warranty. Reliability is another part of the Samsung SSD reputation, and though you might be spending $278 on this 1TB model, Samsung guarantees it for five years. You can't argue with peace of mind.

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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

3 Comments
  • I have this very same SSD in my laptop and it makes it FLY!!!
  • I'd never buy any other brand for SSDs or m.2-SSDs. And wasn't it ten years guarantee? Or was that just with the pro versions?
  • Definitely only 5 years on this one