Samsung 1TB 860 QVO SSD Review: QLC Comes To SATA

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Samsung released the 860 QVO in hopes of swaying those looking for both a small SSD for the operating system and a larger HDD for storage to buy a single high-capacity 860 QVO instead. And with capacities as large as 4TB, it should cover most people’s needs…provided they have an extra $600 to invest in storage.

Samsung’s new 860 QVO is a decent drive overall, and we appreciate the build quality. The case has a pleasing heft and aesthetics given its price. Samsung didn’t cut corners by using a cheaper plastic case, so it is comparable to the cases we find on high-end storage devices.

The 860 QVO delivers acceptable performance for a SATA drive. It isn't amazingly fast, but 860 QVO will perform similarly to other TLC SSDs in most real-world applications. However, it lands on the low end of the spectrum during some tasks. For instance, the Intelligent TurboWrite cache eventually fills during large file transfers, which slows performance. But that shouldn't be an issue for the target market. After the initial operating system clone to the drive or the first transfer of your games library, the Intelligent TurboWrite cache should be large enough for normal daily use (especially if you buy a high-capacity model). If you need more performance, the obvious choice is to move to a faster model, like the EVO or the PRO.

Unlike the TLC 860 EVO or MLC 860 PRO, Samsung doesn’t provide a five-year warranty for the QLC 860 QVO. Just like other entry-level SSDs, you only get three years of coverage. But compared to other QLC drives, the 860 QVO's endurance stands out: Even though it has a three-year warranty and less endurance, it's close to other QLC options and even some TLC SSDs. The 1TB model can absorb 360TB of data, matching the Crucial MX500 and beating the Intel 660p. It even beats out the older 1TB MLC Samsung 850 PRO’s 300TB of endurance.

The Samsung QVO lands at higher prices than we expected, especially given that the market is rapidly changing and SSD pricing is plummeting for the holidays. Just a few weeks ago 1TB SATA based SSDs were $160+ at a minimum, but now many popular options, including Samsung’s own 860 EVO, are priced under $130, and we expect prices to continue to plunge over the coming months. Honestly, why pay more for less? That’s not to say you get that much less out of the 860 QVO; it’s just that the 860 QVO's pricing is out of line with competing products.

It's hard to recommend the 860 QVO if it isn't retailing at least 10% below the other mainstream TLC SSDs. We also have to consider that the Intel 660p is just $165, so for $15 you get much more performance paired with a modern NVMe interface. As with all new releases, we expect some price corrections as the series matures, so it's possible the pricing situation could improve quickly.


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Sean Webster
Storage Reviewer

Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.