Samsung 750 EVO SSD Review

Samsung decided to bring its low-cost SSD 750 EVO to the U.S. after shipping it for months in Asia. The drive employs planar (2D) three-bit per cell NAND like the 840 EVO, but sees its controller upgraded with low-density parity check (LDPC) error correction technology found on the 850 family.

Samsung's 840 EVO arrived with great fanfare and generated a lot of excitement, becoming the best-selling SSD of all time. Over time though, a problem emerged. Customers found that older data on the drives would read back much slower than fresh data. Samsung fired back with a pair of firmware upgrades and we haven't heard much of the issue since then.

Although it was never officially mentioned, we suspect the underlying issue had to do with the 840 EVO's error correction engine. Samsung recently told us that the 840 EVO used BCH ECC technology, similar to many other SSDs with MLC flash. Newer drives with TLC NAND employ a technology called LDPC (low-density parity-check), which is a much stronger form of error correction that uses both hardware and software checks to recover bit errors.

The new SSD 750 EVO uses the 850 EVO's controller equipped with the more advanced LDPC ECC engine. The SSD was introduced in Japan and other Asian markets two months ago. We assumed the 750 EVO was Samsung's way of burning through a stockpile of planar (2D) NAND before transitioning to 48-layer 3D flash. The company recently stated that planar flash still has a future, and will not disappear from its line-up anytime soon. Samsung's 2D NAND is manufactured using 16nm lithography, and we've heard rumors of a 14nm node in development.

The 750 EVO also crams a 256MB DDR3 memory module in the same package as the MGX controller, which should reduce latency between the processor and its DRAM buffer. This is the first time we've seen the advanced design in a Samsung SSD.

Specifications

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The SSD 750 EVO only ships in two capacities: 120 and 250GB. Armed with a reworked MGX controller, 256MB of DDR3 and TLC flash, it fits in the SSD market's lowest-cost segment. At first we were thrown by the lack of visible DRAM, particularly since Samsung's controller package is similarly sized. Surely, though, the integrated buffer represents a step toward reducing costs.

Samsung's SSD 750 EVO claims some impressive performance figures. Its sequential read performance peaks at 540 MB/s. Both capacities also peak at 520 MB/s sequential buffered writes. And once again, Samsung manages to squeeze out 10,000 random read IOPS with minimal parallelism. This is attributable to the quad-plane design that doubles the available bandwidth between the controller and flash.

We're told that the 750 EVO targets system builders, and will allow integrators to add SSDs to low-cost notebooks and desktops. Its performance specifications are similar to the company's retail SSDs, but at much lower endurance levels. To compare, the 120GB 750 EVO is rated for 35 terabytes written. The same capacity 850 EVO sports a 75 TBW specification. The gap increases when you step up to 250GB (70 TBW versus 150 TBW).

You do get support for AES-256 full disk encryption, enabling TCG Opal v.2.0. The drives also work with Microsoft's BitLocker feature.

Pricing, Warranty And Accessories

The MSRP for the 120GB model is $54.99 and the 250GB capacity model is priced at $74.99. We expect to see more prevalent use of the SSDs among the tier-two system builders like Origin PC, CyberPower and AVA Direct. Most of those companies will handle warranty claims directly, but Samsung does back the drive with a three-year warranty capped at the TBW rating.

Our test samples arrived surrounded by bubble wrap. At first we assumed that Samsung would make this a white box release like its SM951 family. We later learned the 750 EVO will ship in retail packaging that includes documentation.

The 750 EVO does support Samsung's Magician software. Moreover, this series supports the company's Rapid Mode technology, which utilizes DRAM as a read and write cache. Samsung's Data Migration Tool is compatible as well, though neither software package is included and will need to be downloaded.

A Closer Look

According to Samsung, the 750 EVO will ship in a full retail box similar to the 850 EVO and 850 Pro models. At a glance, the 750 EVO looks like a standard 2.5-inch SSD with a slim 7mm z-height. This is the same chassis the company uses on other products like the 850 EVO.

Inside, we find a very small PCB hosting a handful of components. The images show the 250GB model with flash on both sides of the board. Again, the missing DRAM caught us off guard. Samsung didn't talk about its integration efforts during our call a week ago. But by pulling the DDR3 onto the controller's package, latency between the two components should be reduced. Samsung isn't talking about DRAM clock rates or timings, though.

The 120GB model loses the NAND package on the back of the PCB. This is a very low-cost design with low overhead.

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  • dangus
    got the endurance wrong on the spec charts
    3
  • SteelCity1981
    wow the battery life benchmarks on the 750 EVO is highly impressive, it make the 850 EVO's look power hungry. i wasn't expecting to see that at all esp from a non 3D V-NAND SSD. So if getting the most out of your battery life in your portable pc device is very important to you, then def the 750 EVO is the way to go.
    1
  • JUSTPLAY
    correct endurances.120gb has 35tbw and 250gb has 70tbw
    2
  • araczynski
    Of course they're intending these for system integrators, who get a marketing bullet point at a reduced price, and while their lifespan is inferior, the eventual failures will fall out of the integrator's default warranty period ("not our problem, buy a new one from us"). Personally I think this is a cheap move to milk consumers. Samsung should stick to the middle/high level stuff while they still have a good reputation at quality.
    1
  • Gam3r01
    Quote:
    Of course they're intending these for system integrators, who get a marketing bullet point at a reduced price, and while their lifespan is inferior, the eventual failures will fall out of the integrator's default warranty period ("not our problem, buy a new one from us"). Personally I think this is a cheap move to milk consumers. Samsung should stick to the middle/high level stuff while they still have a good reputation at quality.


    While I do enjoy recommending Samsung's high end drives, I dont see this as milking customers. I would be more comfortable seeing a 750 evo inside a low budget system than kingston's SSD Now! drives. They saw a market in low cost, cheaper made drives. I am happy to see Samsung moving their old tech into this area. Its not the fastest, nor the highest quality drive, but it fits.
    I dont see Samsung's quality reputation getting hurt any time soon.
    2
  • phoenix32x
    I am confused. How is this good/better or useful? The 250GB 850 EVO is quite often available for $80. $5 less for inferior flash with less endurance. I don't get the point I guess.
    5
  • Gam3r01
    Anonymous said:
    I am confused. How is this good/better or useful? The 250GB 850 EVO is quite often available for $80. $5 less for inferior flash with less endurance. I don't get the point I guess.


    I see the price dropping once it becomes available. Otherwise I agree it wont have a place at that price.
    2
  • darkbreeze
    At twenty bucks less it makes sense, otherwise, it would be worth the extra twenty bucks simply for the longevity. Especially when the Sandisk Ultra II has similar performance to the 850 EVO in most capacities for a lower price.
    0
  • joex444
    Quote:
    wow the battery life benchmarks on the 750 EVO is highly impressive, it make the 850 EVO's look power hungry. i wasn't expecting to see that at all esp from a non 3D V-NAND SSD. So if getting the most out of your battery life in your portable pc device is very important to you, then def the 750 EVO is the way to go.


    You're absolutely not wrong that the 750 seems to give about an hour more battery life than the 850 does, but let's remind ourselves that these plots were made starting at 500 minutes not 0 minutes. That's inherently deceptive, and obviously THG would say it's meant to show the variation more clearly, but the fact is that the bar looks like it's 70% longer (170 apparent units versus 105 apparent units), we should divide the values to reveal the true benefit: 10.7%. I may not be that inclined to get up in a tizzy about an extra 10% or an extra hour -- particularly when the 850 already allows 10 hours of usage -- but an extra 70% would be truly outstanding. Alas, that 70% is merely deceptive non-zero starting points on a graph.
    3
  • Math Geek
    endurance is not that bad really unless you try to use it as a torrent drive or something silly like that. during the 3 yr warranty period for the 120 gb drive, you'd have to write 32 GB per day to the drive to reach the 35 TB TBW. sure the initial windows install and program installations will take up a bit of this but once that is done, day to day use won't get anywhere near this number for the average user.

    double this amount for the 250 GB drive since it has the same 3 yr warranty but a 70 TBW and you're even further than breaking this threshold. even storing data on it won't do much since this is usually written once and then read over and over. the reading of the data does not go against this TBW rating.
    2
  • popatim
    tHE 850 EVO BEING $3 MORE, WHATS THE POINT OF THE 750?
    i SEE A LARGE PRICE DROP IN IT'S FUTURE.
    0
  • Justiful
    System builders are not this drives target demographic. Nor is the target people who shop online. It is meant for pre-built computer companies that use the cheapest versions of power supplies, motherboards, stock GPU's, and low cost fans.

    Honestly cyberpower, ibuypower, dell, ext. As we all know on these forums even picking high quality versions of the same parts, and hiring a tech for $100 to assemble it is still cheaper then buying a prebuilt from these people.

    I stopped getting prebuilts because the motherboards, ram, storage, PSU's, and fans are all bottom shelf. Even if you can find one that is "close" in price to building yourself it never compares in quality. Plus whats the deal with the "upgrade" to name brand parts costing the same or more than the part sells for on amazon or newegg. Oh and anyone who ever spent $20 less on windows for OEM since windows 7... you could have had copies of windows 10 for life had you just spent the extra money the first time. OEM license is tied to a single motherboard, boxed version is good forever 1 PC at a time.
    2
  • hurnii
    "Over time though, a problem emerged. Customers found that older data on the drives would read back much slower than fresh data. Samsung fired back with a pair of firmware upgrades and we haven't heard much of the issue since then. "

    Actually, we heard quite a bit more about the 840 EVO's slow read speed after data has been sitting for a month or two issue than this whitewash paragraph would suggest. In addition to the two firmware updates (which did NOT correct the issue), Samsung released a tool which would refresh ( read from and write back to) every block of data on the drive.

    The slowness of reading was due to the stored charge leaking out more than expected, leaving a lower than expected read voltage, meaning error correction was performed (re-reading the cell multiple times) which slowed down the read.

    As long as the data is refreshed (read and re-written) every several weeks, the 840 EVO drive read speed doesn't get too slow. This has a direct effect on the usable endurance of the drive. Multiple tech sites had threads that were active for several months (some over a year) concerning this issue.

    Presumably, 3d V-NAND based TLC is not prone to this issue (larger geometry = less leakage), but planar TLC is. Hopefully, the LDPC can correct for the drift without slowing down too much. Might be a good idea to wait a few months, make sure no one runs into another "old data reads slowly" situation, before buying.
    1
  • Solandri
    Quote:
    As long as the data is refreshed (read and re-written) every several weeks, the 840 EVO drive read speed doesn't get too slow. This has a direct effect on the usable endurance of the drive.

    While I don't disagree about the seriousness of the problem, the fix has no practical impact on the usable endurance of the drive. The 250GB 840 EVO lasted 900 TB of writes in the long-term endurance test. Even if the drive were completely full and you refreshed the data every 2 weeks to avoid this problem, it would take you 138 years for the refreshes to reach 900 TB of writes.

    Or put another way, if the expected lifetime of the drive is 20 years (you are averaging 865 GB of writes to the drive per week) and 65% of the drive contains "old" data which needs to be refreshed, refreshing it once a month will reduce the expected lifetime of the drive to (900 / (.865 + .250*.65/4)) / 52 = 19.1 years. Frankly, if you find yourself still using a 840 EVO after 19 years, you have more serious issues to worry about than the 840 EVO problem.

    http://techreport.com/review/26523/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-casualties-on-the-way-to-a-petabyte/2
    2
  • rhysiam
    Quote:
    Of course they're intending these for system integrators, who get a marketing bullet point at a reduced price, and while their lifespan is inferior, the eventual failures will fall out of the integrator's default warranty period ("not our problem, buy a new one from us"). Personally I think this is a cheap move to milk consumers. Samsung should stick to the middle/high level stuff while they still have a good reputation at quality.

    There's clearly a market for cheaper planar TLC drives, why shouldn't Samsung compete there too? Write issues on SSDs are so massively overblown. How many people buying SSDs are going to write 20+GB of data to their SSD every day of the year for 3-4 years? That's the kind of writes required reach the wear levels. Rating on wear levels are usually extremely conservative too (perhaps even purposefully to push consumers with bigger wallets towards more expensive products with higher margins). So even after 4 years of 20GB written per day, you're pretty likely to get another few years out of the drive anyway before you start to hit issues. The vast majority of computer users would get likely 10 get years out of the drive before they approached the wear levels. I'm glad these SSDs exist. It'll push competition.
    0
  • rhysiam
    Quote:
    While I don't disagree about the seriousness of the problem, the fix has no practical impact on the usable endurance of the drive. The 250GB 840 EVO lasted 900 TB of writes in the long-term endurance test. Even if the drive were completely full and you refreshed the data every 2 weeks to avoid this problem, it would take you 138 years for the refreshes to reach 900 TB of writes.

    My bigger issue with the whole mess was the amount of time it took Samsung to properly address. Reports starting emerging in August 2014, Sammy took until October to release the first "fix" - which was only a temporary workaround. It wasn't until April the following year that the second fix properly addressed the issue (it automated the periodic re-writing of older data).
    Plus, the original 840 (non EVO) was also affected but I'm not sure if a fix for this drive was ever actually released.
    0
  • zodiacfml
    Decent performance. I thought this was Samsung's poor way of replacing the 850 EVOs in these two capacities. They won't be able to serve these two capacities with the new 48-Layer V-NAND.

    Don't judge yet with current pricing as I think they want to get rid of all 850 EVOs to be replaced by the new 750s.

    Since the PCBs are becoming smaller for each generation, can't they make the 2.5" chassis smaller without breaking compatibility for even more reduced costs.
    0
  • Gam3r01
    Anonymous said:
    Decent performance. I thought this was Samsung's poor way of replacing the 850 EVOs in these two capacities. They won't be able to serve these two capacities with the new 48-Layer V-NAND.

    Don't judge yet with current pricing as I think they want to get rid of all 850 EVOs to be replaced by the new 750s.

    Since the PCBs are becoming smaller for each generation, can't they make the 2.5" chassis smaller without breaking compatibility for even more reduced costs.


    Why would these 2D models replace the 3d VNAND on the 850 EVOs?
    Or do you mean 840.
    0
  • zodiacfml
    10% more is still impressive since the real world performance is the same as the 850 even though we don't need that value.

    Quote:
    Quote:
    wow the battery life benchmarks on the 750 EVO is highly impressive, it make the 850 EVO's look power hungry. i wasn't expecting to see that at all esp from a non 3D V-NAND SSD. So if getting the most out of your battery life in your portable pc device is very important to you, then def the 750 EVO is the way to go.


    You're absolutely not wrong that the 750 seems to give about an hour more battery life than the 850 does, but let's remind ourselves that these plots were made starting at 500 minutes not 0 minutes. That's inherently deceptive, and obviously THG would say it's meant to show the variation more clearly, but the fact is that the bar looks like it's 70% longer (170 apparent units versus 105 apparent units), we should divide the values to reveal the true benefit: 10.7%. I may not be that inclined to get up in a tizzy about an extra 10% or an extra hour -- particularly when the 850 already allows 10 hours of usage -- but an extra 70% would be truly outstanding. Alas, that 70% is merely deceptive non-zero starting points on a graph.
    0
  • catilley1092
    If the Samsung 750 EVO SSD is superior to the 850, then why the shortened warranty? It's the same 3 year one that the Samsung 840 EVO line had, and needs to be added to the equation.

    For example, why would I want to replace my 850 EVO with a 5 year warranty for one with a lesser one? Something there just doesn't sound right, plus for ponying up a few more dollars (maybe $25 for the 256GB version), one gets a 10 year warranty with the Samsung 850 Pro, which I also have a 500GB version of.

    What Samsung doesn't want to do is water their brand down by distributing a SSD to compete with sub $50 models at the 120GB level. Used to be, most everything Samsung touched became liquid gold, until they decided to release Windows notebooks with shabby firmware & tried to compete directly with Apple with some of these offerings.

    And why they're no longer a distributor of Windows notebooks. Samsung doesn't want to do the same with their SSD's, rather improve the models still on the market, maybe also ship with some Opal encryption software to sweeten the deal.

    Cheaper doesn't equate better, is the bottom line.

    Cat
    -2