Review Index:

Samsung 860 EVO and PRO SATA SSD Review - 512GB, 1TB, and 4TB Tested

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup



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PCB Detail: Front

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PCB Detail: Rear

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It's almost comical how the 860 EVO 1TB now fits onto a PCB that could likely be placed into a small thumb drive form factor.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. We have developed a custom test suite as off-the-shelf tests just no longer cut it for in-depth storage testing. More details on the next page. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We have several storage testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and a Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force (for RAID testing). Future PCIe and SATA device testing, including this review, take place on an ASUS Sabertooth X99, which comes equipped with USB 3.1, M.2, and can also handle SFF-8639 (U.2) devices with the proper adapter.

PC Perspective would like to thank Intel, ASUS, Gigabyte, Corsair, Kingston, and EVGA for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.125 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Sabertooth X99
Memory 16GB Micron DDR4 @ 3333
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750
Video Drivers GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version N/A
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro X64 (update)
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT

Video News

January 23, 2018 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Neapilitan6th (not verified)

I wonder how much cost is saves by moving to more dense nand and a smaller pcb footprint? Seeing the performance, it looks to me this was more of a shrink than a improvement.

January 23, 2018 | 04:01 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Agreed. It's as if they were trying too hard to make the SSD as economical as possible to produce, causing it to fall short in some areas.

January 24, 2018 | 01:51 PM - Posted by SkOrPn

It is a SATA SSD, they can't improve the performance much until the SATA bottleneck is lifted on the host side. Perhaps SATA IV is in order but I believe that will never happen. The 850 series already maxed out the SATA bus, so not exactly sure what performance improvements you would like to magically see Samsung improve upon. They already implemented improvements via M.2 PCIe ssd's. If you want faster than SATA, you have to move on from SATA. Simple as that.

January 24, 2018 | 10:34 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

I agree: it's as if the storage "oligopoly" has conspired
to maintain an artificially low ceiling on 2.5" SSD speeds.
Several years ago, we proposed a "SATA-IV" standard that
upped the transmission clock to 8G (like PCIe 3.0 lanes)
and changed the 8b/10b legacy frame to the 128b/130b
"jumbo frame" that is already standard in PCIe 3.0:
8 GHz / 8.125 bits per byte = 984.6 MB/second
i.e. exact same throughput as a single PCIe 3.0 lane.
Admittedly, that is not a massive increase; nevertheless,
one could easily approximate one NVMe port with
four such SSDs in a RAID-0 array, and the wiring
topologies for such a RAID array are ubiquitous.
FYI: here's a copy of our SATA-IV Proposal to the
Storage Developer Conference in 2012:

January 24, 2018 | 10:42 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

And, now that the PCIe 4.0 standard has been released,
a future SATA-IV standard should support a 16 GHz clock:
16G / 8.125 bits per byte = 1,969.2 MB/second.
Thus, 4 such SSDs in a RAID-0 array should max out
at ~ 7.87 GB/second (no overhead). Yes, the SATA
protocol does have more inherent overhead, but
its installed base is already HUGE. Increasing the
clock rate and upgrading to jumbo frames should be
a piece o' cake for storage industry manufacturers.
And, RAID controllers could still support PCIe 3.0
edge connectors, while increasing the clock speed
on their SATA connectors to 16 GHz. Maybe Allyn
could offer this suggestion to Areca?

January 26, 2018 | 10:01 AM - Posted by ew (not verified)

I doubt there will be another SATA spec for SSD drives. SSD drives will move too PCIe and SATA will be for slower bulk storage.

January 23, 2018 | 05:39 PM - Posted by Jann5s

Allyn, I think the last trim chart may have the wrong x-label, not sure, I got confused there.

January 23, 2018 | 06:57 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

You are correct! Thanks for the catch. It is now fixed.

January 23, 2018 | 10:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous1 (not verified)

Hopefully the price of the 850's will go down rather than be discontinued.

January 24, 2018 | 12:49 AM - Posted by mouf

Allyn, pop quiz of the day.

I have 3 256gb 850 pros in RAID 1 on my boot drive (I have no sensitive data on the raid). I have all my programs/games on this "drive". I am approaching 200gb of free space left. As you know with todays games that could be 4 new AAA titles. I have toyed with the idea of getting a single 500gb drive windows and all apps, leaving my 7xx gb raid for Steam only. Is there any benefit to doing that with one of these drives or should I just snatch up another 256gb 850 pro and increase my raid?

***I am on Z97 so an NVME boot drive isn't possible.

January 24, 2018 | 08:32 AM - Posted by Gunbuster

RAID 1 with three drives?

January 24, 2018 | 09:18 AM - Posted by mouf

Yea... I mean raid 0. Got ahead of my self last night.

January 24, 2018 | 09:39 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

So long as you are good at backing up, I'd just add another 256 to the RAID-0. If your stripe size is lower, you will see a nice boost to QD1 sequentials that are larger than the stripe size (since those transfers are split across multiple drives). You're good for up to 6 SSDs in RAID on that board. While you'll hit the DMI throughput limit at ~4 SATA devices, there are still advantages to splitting your IOs across additional SSDs - even when they are bottlenecked.

January 24, 2018 | 11:21 AM - Posted by mouf

I appreciate it. It all started when I found a smoking deal years ago on two 256gb drives, and has grown from there. I guess another 256gb 850 pro is on the horizon. The more the merrier right!?

I have a FreeNAS for redundancy and a WD Blue 2tb drive in my system as well for the important stuff. I am pretty sure my ISP hates when I re-install windows yearly and re-download my whole steam library though. :D

January 24, 2018 | 05:43 PM - Posted by Wes (not verified)

You have multiple drives and you redownload your Steam library upon Windows installation? That's just irresponsible.

January 24, 2018 | 09:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous_bug (not verified)

On page "" at the end of the page you guys wrote "Being a PRO series SSD, the 2TB unit contains only MLC flash and no SLC cache.".

The one being tested on that page is the 4TB version, there is no 2TB version being tested/shown.

January 24, 2018 | 09:32 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Thanks! Fixed!

January 24, 2018 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous5363746476 (not verified)

So there will be 4TB M.2 variants? How long until we see a 4TB PCI-e M.2 from Samsung?

January 26, 2018 | 01:31 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It’s down to PCB space. Not enough room on M.2. Less room on mSATA.

January 24, 2018 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Prodeous13 (not verified)

I was wondering, with older platform such as dual Xeon socket 2011 (v1) if there would be M.2 versions of these, would they function via an adapter?

I guess it would also be a general question on older platforms with NVME SSD or even Optain functioning or should I consider upgrade time to Threadripper/Ryzen?

January 24, 2018 | 11:21 AM - Posted by Prodeous13 (not verified)

Granted M.2 versions of these drives are not NVME, but a chance to remove cables would be a nice positive. Hence question stands for PCIE to M.2 adapters on older platforms for SATA/NVME/Optain

January 26, 2018 | 01:30 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

You’d have to use an M.2 to SATA (not PCIe) adapter card.

January 29, 2018 | 09:51 PM - Posted by Redacted (not verified)

The link at your article's outset concerning the 850 line's "silent migration to 64-layer V-NAND" actually links to your piece detailing the 850 EVO's transition from 32- to 48-layer NAND. If a story exists about the switch to 64-layer NAND, I must have missed it.

In a similar vein, do you know if anyone has done testing to compare the 48-layer MLC/TLC versions of the 850 series drives to their 64-layer replacements?

It would be interesting to find out if the mixed workload performance and TRIM issues exhibited by the newly released 860 series were also present on the third revision of the 850 series, possibly indicating a limitation of the denser NAND rather than a bug in the new controller or firmware.

February 9, 2018 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Anonymoose (not verified)

Hey, just to make sure: you did all the benchmarks in an identical environment and there was no possible microcode/Windows update for Meltdown/Spectre in between the benchmarks for the old and new SSDs, right?

May 19, 2018 | 03:06 AM - Posted by Hi..... Help me. (not verified)


860 pro cant support Raid ability?????????

September 4, 2018 | 09:16 AM - Posted by nichitapavel

It's been 8 months since the review, do you know if the TRIM issue has been fixed?
I'm deciding between the 850 or 860 currently.

March 19, 2019 | 03:18 AM - Posted by Irfan Ahmed (not verified)

Allyn have they fixed the TRIM issue?

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