Samsung 850 SSD Review

Conclusion

Being able to write the world's first review of the new Samsung 850 was enough for us to break out the 128GB-class drives, but that doesn't mean we recommend low-capacity SSDs. The price difference between a 128GB and a 256GB-class SSD is usually very small, which means you pay more money per gigabyte for the smaller drive.

We found a great example at Newegg. The 850 EVO 120GB retails for $100, but the 850 EVO 250GB is yours for just $114. That means you pay $0.83-per-GB for the 120GB drive, but only $0.45-per-GB for the 250GB SSD.

The difference in price between two capacities can't happen with the Samsung 850, though. The series only comes in one capacity, but we don't expect that to last very long. Samsung didn't do much to differentiate the 32- and 48-layer 850 EVO SSDs, but we suspect the 850 may be a way to set the 64-layer V-NAND products apart. In larger capacities, the fastest V-NAND yet could offer better performance than its predecessors, at least under some conditions.

Knowing the 850’s placement in the Samsung stack would tell us more about the drive, and what to expect, so we reached out to Samsung USA for more information. They suggested that we should confer with Samsung China because that group is responsible for the release. That didn't go far. Without knowing the 850's market position, we can't reliably say if American and European audiences can expect to see this series. Small 64GB SSDs still sell for mainstream PCs in China, so 128GB drives are still popular.

In May, rumors surfaced that Samsung might remove the "Pro/EVO" branding, which denotes the difference between MLC (Pro) and TLC (EVO) SSDs, from its products because all of its new products will use 3-bit per cell (TLC) NAND. The appearance of 980 and 970 on the NVMe Integrator's List adds some credence to the rumor, but we also found an unreleased 860 EVO on the SATA Integrator list. That doesn't agree the non-Pro/EVO rumor mill.

The Samsung 850 should eventually sell in other markets, and it will likely appear on Newegg and Amazon through third-party sellers. The 120GB drive delivers the same performance we found in the 850 EVO, but it ships with a three-year warranty instead of a five-year warranty. The 850 120GB is a preview of what to expect from Samsung in the future even if we don't know exactly which direction the company is headed.

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13 comments
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  • revanchrist
    Would like to know more about the rumored 4TB QLC drive from Samsung.
  • DerekA_C
    ha shortage my BUTT it's a cash cow right now as everyone is trying to switch over so why not make a few extra billion of gullible people just like everything else the fabs the money the time and investment is already there for years yet prices hiked bogusly, no one can convince me otherwise same with the GAS shortage all a bunch of BS to make extra billions to screw the population over PERIOD. Oh just like the LCD TV panel shortage HA then 4 companies including Samsung sued for 1 billion for strong holding the market. Practice as usual the elite finding new ways to make themselves more rich and powerful.
  • USAFRet
    So how is this new and different from the current 850 EVO drives?
    This, from my existing 850 EVO:

    Yes, mine is a 500GB vs the test subject of 128GB, but just because there is a different TLA at the end of the model number does not make it 'better'.
  • zodiacfml
    Not bad. I could use one but I bought 250GB EVO just a few days ago to match a 4TB HDD
  • bit_user
    Please try to report the power-off data retention time of SSDs you review. As bits are being packed more densely, I suspect this number is falling and might already be low enough to cause issues for some people. For one MLC SSD I own, it's just 3 months.
  • jeffs7897
    Uh....that would take...TIME. We would be reading this test next year.
  • Jeffs0418
    328798 said:
    Please try to report the power-off data retention time of SSDs you review. As bits are being packed more densely, I suspect this number is falling and might already be low enough to cause issues for some people. For one MLC SSD I own, it's just 3 months.

    How does one determine Power-off data retention time without TIME? That would fall under the Long-Term test.
  • mapesdhs
    Would be interesting to see how this compares to the old 840 and 840 Pro, and indeed the 830, see whether the competition has at least caught up to those older models (excluding the 840 EVO, too many issues with performance degradation over time).
  • fanafirmino
    Must I endure a video of someone playing games everytime I hit your homepage??? Come on, there must be another way, guys!
  • bit_user
    569146 said:
    328798 said:
    Please try to report the power-off data retention time of SSDs you review.
    How does one determine Power-off data retention time without TIME? That would fall under the Long-Term test.

    It should be specified by the manufacturer, as in the case of my Intel drive. If it's not in the datasheet, then I would like the author to contact the manufacturer and ask them what it is. This will also hopefully send the message that people care about this attribute, and perhaps they'll be more mindful of it.
  • Jeffs0418
    328798 said:
    569146 said:
    328798 said:
    Please try to report the power-off data retention time of SSDs you review.
    How does one determine Power-off data retention time without TIME? That would fall under the Long-Term test.
    It should be specified by the manufacturer, as in the case of my Intel drive. If it's not in the datasheet, then I would like the author to contact the manufacturer and ask them what it is. This will also hopefully send the message that people care about this attribute, and perhaps they'll be more mindful of it.

    For a manufacturer to provide that info(attribute) with any certainty would extend R&D time unnecessarily. That would be impractical in today's competitive tech market.
    Reports of extended Power-off data loss is quite rare as far as I'm aware. Probably because an overwhelming majority of snappy storage(SSD's) users actually don't use them for unpowered long-term storage.
  • bit_user
    569146 said:
    For a manufacturer to provide that info(attribute) with any certainty would extend R&D time unnecessarily.

    Why do you think that? In order to estimate endurance, SSD vendors need a pretty good model of the flash memory they're using.

    Moreover, power-off data retention is a design parameter of the flash memory circuitry, which the chip maker needs to test in some fashion probably before they even ramp up volume production. Remember that NAND flash is a charge storage device, so all you need to do is look at the self-discharge rate. It's not like you have to wait however many months or years it takes for the data to become unreadable.

    569146 said:
    Probably because an overwhelming majority of snappy storage(SSD's) users actually don't use them for unpowered long-term storage.

    I doubt that. I've had laptops that've sat unused for months at a time. I'm sure there are enough people that leave devices powered off for weeks or months that it matters.
  • Jeffs0418
    328798 said:
    569146 said:
    For a manufacturer to provide that info(attribute) with any certainty would extend R&D time unnecessarily.
    Why do you think that? In order to estimate endurance, SSD vendors need a pretty good model of the flash memory they're using. I did say "with any certainty". Endurance estimates are reasonably accurate longevity indicators based. Total TBW(terabytes written) is the number people look for here. TheTech Report actually did put this to the test on a number of popular SATA III units over 18 months until all failed. https://techreport.com/review/24841/introducing-the-ssd-endurance-experiment/5 But that extended project did nothing to address what we are discussing here. Moreover, power-off data retention is a design parameter of the flash memory circuitry, which the chip maker needs to test in some fashion probably before they even ramp up volume production. Remember that NAND flash is a charge storage device, so all you need to do is look at the self-discharge rate. It's not like you have to wait however many months or years it takes for the data to become unreadable. Therefore it falls on you to look up the detailed data on the exact NAND flash used in whatever unit you are curious about and extrapolate from there. That stuff is far beyond my area of expertise.
    569146 said:
    Probably because an overwhelming majority of snappy storage(SSD's) users actually don't use them for unpowered long-term storage.
    I doubt that. I've had laptops that've sat unused for months at a time. I'm sure there are enough people that leave devices powered off for weeks or months that it matters.

    My bad. I stand corrected :)
    Sorry about my miserable multi-quote attempt...lol