Samsung opened up the 750 EVO to the mass market and added a 500GB model, which will allow the company to fight in the low end with a game-changing mix of mainstream performance and entry-level endurance.
The Samsung SSD 750 EVO series began its life in Japan as a low-cost product aimed at system integrators (SI) and OEMs. The initial release was limited to the 120GB and 250GB capacities we reviewed, but Samsung recently made several changes to the series, including opening it up to the retail market. The SI and OEM focus remained when Samsung extended the 750 to worldwide distribution, but we think it was a way for the company to test the waters. The SSD 750 is now a full retail release with drives selling at Newegg, Amazon and possibly retail brick and mortar stores. Samsung also added the new 500GB model, which offers up to 98,000/88,000 random read/write IOPS and up to 540/520 MB/s of sequential throughput.
Low-cost planar 3-bit per cell (TLC) flash from Micron and Toshiba is responsible for a slew of new entry-level SSDs that sell for remarkably low prices. Recently only one 1TB-class SSD sold below $200, but at the time of writing, we managed to find five 1TB-class products for as low as $197.00. The new entry-level prices are great for shoppers, but it hurt the 850 EVO's market position.
Samsung used the 850 EVO to combat entry-level SSDs by lowering its price just enough to make customers pay a little more to gain superior performance and features. The strategy has worked, but competitors are pricing entry-level planar TLC SSDs too low for Samsung to continue following the price curve. The 850 EVO 500GB came to market at $269.99, but now it routinely sells for $149.99 to compete with 512GB-class SSDs that retail for $124.99.
3D V-NAND is still expensive to manufacture compared to Toshiba's 15nm TLC and Micron's 16nm TLC, but Samsung is also armed with its own mature low-cost planar 16nm TLC flash. The Samsung SSD 750 gives the company a way to compete in the entry-level market, and it does not compete directly with the 850 EVO, which came to market as a mainstream SSD.
Although Samsung hasn't commented on an eventual 1TB or 2TB 750 Evo release, it only makes sense for the company to continue the evolution of the series. A 1TB SSD 750 makes more sense than a 2TB product right now, but Samsung may continue to chase the entry-level market in Q3 when Phison brings low-cost 2TB SSDs to market.
Looking forward, we suspect Samsung will slowly increase the SSD 850 EVO's price, and we're already monitoring the pricing because the series has gone on sale less frequently. Samsung has also begun shipping some 850 EVO products with its new 256Gbit 48-layer flash. If the new 48-layer yields were as good as Samsung expected, we would likely see more of these V2 850 EVO drives in the wild, but that isn't the case yet. We will know more when we sit down with Samsung in South Korea in a few months to discuss the current state of 48-layer production and possible upcoming products, such as the 850 EVO 2TB in mSATA and M.2 form factors.
The new SSD 750 EVO 500GB joins the existing 250GB and 120GB products in the series. All three SSDs use the same 2-core MGX controller, 512MB DDR3 buffer memory and 16nm planar MLC flash.
Most of the performance specifications remain the same for all three products with only a slight variation in high queue depth random reads. The SSD 750 is the only entry-level SSD to deliver 10,000 random read IOPS at queue depth 1. Most users will never utilize all 10,000 IOPS, but the capability equates to very low latency during random read requests.
Except for the limited endurance rating of the 750 EVO's planar TLC flash, it is very similar to the mainstream 850 EVO. The SSD 750 really does change the way we look at entry-level SSDs, and it has the potential to hurt smaller SSD manufacturers.
Pricing, Warranty And Accessories
Samsung has not been aggressive with SSD 750 EVO pricing, and the company might increase the 850 EVO's price even more as other products slide up the scale. Some large online resellers are even selling the smaller 750 EVO products for more than the initial MSRP. The 500GB model debuted at $149.99, and it remains at that price.
The 750 series ships with a 3-year warranty, which is one year more than some other entry-level SSD products. The warranty has a limited 100 total bytes written (TBW) endurance stipulation for the 500GB drive we're testing, which is only slightly less than the 850 EVO 500GB.
The SSD 750 EVO accessory package is limited; the retail package includes a drive with a paper manual. However, users gain access to the Samsung Magician and data migration software that ranks as one of the best available today. The 750 EVO also supports Rapid Mode, a system DRAM cache that absorbs disk writes to increase performance and endurance.
A Closer Look
The white package for the SSD 750 EVO is not as flashy as Samsung's other retail SSD products. We didn't find any performance claims on the package, but Samsung labels the warranty clearly and directs retail shoppers to a website for more information. "The smart solution for PC upgrade" quote on the back of the package makes it very clear that this Samsung has shifted from targeting the series at new builds for system integrators. We found the 2.5" drive and warranty statement inside the package.
The drive itself is standard fare; the design is similar to the 850 series and older retail SSDs from Samsung. The chassis has a 7mm Z-height, like nearly all other SSDs sold today, so it fits well in systems that require the slim design.
Samsung designed the small printed circuit board to reduce manufacturing costs and maximize revenue. The MGX controller is a mature component that Samsung has used for several generations now, and the 500GB model includes a 512MB DDR3 package. The 120GB and 250GB 750 EVO products did not have a dedicated DRAM package, even though Samsung still claimed a 256MB buffer. Samsung stated that the smaller products moved the DRAM package into the MGX controller itself, which is the type of customization enabled by complete vertical integration. Samsung manufactures all of the components inside the SSD 750 EVO.
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