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.
Samsung 860 Evo specifications
|Capacity||250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB|
|Sequential read||550 MB/s|
|Sequential write||520 MB/s|
|Random read||98,000 IOPS|
|Random write||90,000 IOPS|
|NAND||Samsung V NAND|
|Cache memory||512MB DDR (250GB, 500GB)
1GB DDR4 (1TB)
2GB DDR4 (2TB)
4GB DDR4 (4TB)
|Max power consumption||4W|
|Endurance||150 TBW (250GB)
300 TBW (500GB)
600 TBW (1TB)
2,400 TBW (4TB)
1.5 million hours reliability
Samsung 860 EVO vs. the competition
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 EVO||WD Blue||Crucial MX300||Samsung 850 EVO|
|Read||550 MB/s||560 MB/s||530 MB/s||540 MB/s|
|Write||520 MB/s||530 MB/s||510 MB/s||520 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
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.
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 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.
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.
- Great performance.
- Solid endurance.
- Five year warranty
- 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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