Review Index:

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA and mSATA 120GB, 500GB, 1TB SSD Roundup

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


Following the same pattern that Samsung led with the 840 Pro and 840 EVO, history has repeated itself with the 850 Pro and 850 EVO. With the 850 EVO launching late last year and being quite successful, it was only a matter of time before Samsung expanded past the 2.5" form factor for this popular SSD. Today is that day:

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Today we will be looking at the MSATA and M.2 form factors. To clarify, the M.2 units are still using a SATA controller and connection, and must therefore be installed in a system capable of linking SATA lanes to its M.2 port. As both products are SATA, the DRAM cache based RAPID mode included with their Magician value added software is also available for these models. We won't be using RAPID for this review, but we did take a look at it in a prior article.

Given that 850 EVOs use VNAND - a vastly different technology than the planar NAND used in the 840 EVO, we suspect it is not subject to the same flash cell drift related issues (hopefully to be corrected soon) in the 840 EVO. Only time will tell for sure on that front, but we have not see any of those issues present in 850 EVO models since their launch.

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Cross sectional view of Samsung's 32-layer VNAND. Photo by TechInsights.

Samsung sampled us the M.2 SATA in 120GB and 500GB, and the MSATA in 120GB and 1TB. Since both are SATA-based, these are only physical packaging differences. The die counts are the same as the 2.5" desktop counterparts. While the pair of 120GB models should be essentially identical, we'll throw both in with the results to validate the slight differences in stated specs below.

Continue reading our review of these new Samsung 850 EVOs!!


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EVO line products use TLC flash for storage, with a small SLC caching portion that handles all incoming data. The only time writes are directed straight to TLC is when the buffer has been completely filled, which is very rare as that buffer is aggressively written back to the TLC area whenever possible. Here are the TurboWrite specs:

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Simple packaging for both variants. Essentially white box with a nice graphic and logo.

Video News

March 31, 2015 | 11:13 AM - Posted by Gerti (not verified)

Hi Allyn great review as always.On his review Kristian at anandtech experienced 50 seconds pauses during high IO workloads on the 1TB mSATA model.Have you noticed anything simila?

March 31, 2015 | 02:24 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

We noted no such abnormality in our testing. To double check, I just fired up the 1TB mSATA sample, running the same 4k random QD32 workload as Anandtech. I'm 1500 seconds in and IOPS has not so much as hiccuped.

March 31, 2015 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Gerti (not verified)

Thanks for the quick response.

March 31, 2015 | 12:29 PM - Posted by RadioActiveLobster

Samsung, Y U NO PCI-E M.2?

My X99-Deluxe really wants a PCI-E 2x M.2 SSD in it.

March 31, 2015 | 12:42 PM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

If you want a PCI-E M.2 SSD then get a Samsung Xp 941 ssd, it is currently one of the fastest PCI-E ssd on market.

July 11, 2015 | 11:55 AM - Posted by Marbelo (not verified)

I cant get the 500gb m.2. drive to work on my asus x99 pro :( a lot of the asus x99 series have problems with the drive

September 28, 2015 | 04:30 PM - Posted by Regan (not verified)

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March 31, 2015 | 02:20 PM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Excellent review of these new drives Allyn!

Does anyone have links to real world performance testing on the current round of consumer SSDs? The synthetic benchmarks clearly are useful for showing differences between SSDs for IO intensive workloads, but many consumers just care about boot times and game/program loading speeds. I just upgraded to a 256 GB Crucial MX100. It would be interesting to see what real world difference the high performance consumer SSDs actually bring.

March 31, 2015 | 02:48 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Once going to a modern SSD (like the MX100 you have there), you get a large gain in performance, but the gains within the high end don't show very much difference as far as boot times / random reads go. Note how tight the pack is on a pure read workload like the Iometer Web Server test - very little difference between models there.

The difference then lies in tasks that lean on the current limits. A large set of writes to your 256GB MX100 will hit the ~300 MB/sec limit, and be ~50% faster at that same task on an SSD that more easily saturates writes over SATA.

It's really going to take better interface (PCIe NVMe) and faster flash (3D NAND) to see the next big leaps in performance, but even then we will see diminishing returns on something like a boot time, as those start finding other limits like CPU and even RAM speed once the SSD speeds are opened up.

April 1, 2015 | 04:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are the PCBs not in Black aaaaaa

April 2, 2015 | 06:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What a timely promo for Samsung, hey everyone look at this shiny new stuff while we drag the 840evo carcass out back and bury it in a shallow grave, hoping we forget about the fact that 840evo customers are up the creek without a paddle.
Not sure why anyone would buy a Samsung SSD after the 840evo issues, the bodged "fix" & the absent March "fix". I'll be returning mine for a refund & steering clear of Samsung at least in the short to medium term. This community needs to send the message that customers should not be treated in this way.

April 2, 2015 | 09:45 AM - Posted by Patrik (not verified)

Yea its sad how little coverage the 840/840 EVO issue have had lately. The media is simply letting Samsung walk away free and clear.
I had also hopes some one sued Samsung by now just tog give them some bad PR.

I had enough with Samsung support, retailers refusing RMA because Samsung sees its not covered and simply decides to ignore laws in respective country's.

I'm still waiting for a PcPer pod cast with a fallow up on the Samsung TLC issue on the 840 and 840 EVO because Samsung needs more flack because there behavior is not acceptable and should be punished.

Also reviewers should add Samsungs bad warranty and support practices to the Cons on any Samsung SSD review since its a real issue for consumers if and when there product experiences a malfunction.

To me good insurances from the manufacturers is more important then speed and cost of the product since a problematic SSD is the worst thing that can happen for the consumer and when the manufacturers refuses to fix or replace the drives or just send out another effected drive as a replacement and just stick there heads in the sand pretending all is fine.

Almost all SSD's are fast enough to day that reliability is realy the key concern amongst all but the most hardcore enthusiasts.

Samsung have shown there support, warranty and service has little to no value for the consumer when theres a wide spread issue.

July 13, 2015 | 03:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is 850 series review, nothing to do with your off topic comments about VERY DIFERENT 840 series. Next time try to use right forum.

April 18, 2015 | 07:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will there be a 1tb m.2 version?

July 13, 2015 | 03:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, Samsung clearly said that they are working on it (can't find the link now). Probably half a year away.

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