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Samsung SSD 850 Evo review: Top performance for a low price

RAPID stands for Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data and it uses the available system memory (RAM) on the host computer as an input/output cache to boost the computer's performance. Since most new computers come with a large quantity of RAM, RAPID is really a welcome feature.

To use RAPID on the 850 Evo, you'll need to install Magician 4.5 (included on a CD, though you can also download it). The software supports the new RAPID version v.2.1 that now, according to Samsung, enhances error handling and fixes some compatibility issues. Once enabled, RAPID mode works by itself and automatically adjusts the amount of RAM it uses based on availability. Generally, RAPID mode uses up to 4GB of RAM or 25 percent of the host computer's total system memory, whichever is less.

Other than that, you can use the Samsung Magician software to manage other features and settings of the drive. For example, you can use the software to enable or disable over-provisioning (a feature that uses part of an SSD's storage space to enhance the drive's performance) and encryption, as well as apply different settings that are optimized for the drive's performance, endurance or reliability.

Affordable pricing

The 850 Evo is the cheapest Samsung SSD at launch with most capacities currently costing just slightly more than 30 cents per gigabyte. Even the latest 2TB capacity has the suggested price of just $800 (or 36 cents per gigabyte) and its street price will likely be lower. Overall, with this pricing and the great performance as detailed below, the new Samsung SSD 850 Evo is an excellent buy, and a better deal than its higher-end SSD 850 Pro.

SSD US street price

WD Black 2 Dual Drive
$0.12
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB)
$0.33
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (1TB)
$0.33
Transcend SSD370S (512GB)
$0.34
SanDisk Ultra II (480GB)
$0.35
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB)
$0.36
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (2TB)
$0.36
OCZ ARC 100 (240GB)
$0.37
SanDisk Ultra II (240GB)
$0.38
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB)
$0.38
Transcend SSD370S (256GB)
$0.39
Crucial MX200 (250GB)
$0.40
Crucial MX200 (500GB)
$0.40
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB)
$0.40
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (1TB)
$0.44
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (2TB)
$0.45
SanDisk Extreme Pro (480GB)
$0.46
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (512GB)
$0.50
Plextor M6S (256GB)
$0.52
OCZ Vector 180 (480GB)
$0.53
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (120GB)
$0.54
Intel SSD 730 (240GB)
$0.55
SanDisk Extreme Pro (240GB)
$0.57
OCZ Vector 180 (240GB)
$0.58

Note:

Measured in cost per gigabyte based on current price on Amazon.com. MSRP used for the 2TB capacity. Lower numbers indicate better value.

Excellent performance

I tested the 850 Evo with a midrange computer running a Core i5 processor with 8GB of system memory, and it really made a big difference in the machine's performance, even when compared to other SSDs.

In sequential data transferring test, which is a test that gauges the drive's raw copy speed, the new drive scored a sustained speed of 183MBps when doing both writing and reading at the same time. When RAPID mode is turn on, it did much better, at 221MB/s. Overall, while very fast, compared to the SSD 850 Pro, however, the 850 Evo is still clearly behind.

CNET Labs' SSD data transfer performance

SanDisk Extreme Pro
250.98
450.59
457.46
Samsung SSD 850 Pro
246.25
454.32
448.11
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
236.18
269.78
270.8
OCZ Vector 150
231.42
265.32
200.46
SanDisk Extreme II
224.27
255.86
203.42
Seagate 600 SSD
192.26
259.01
275.21
Intel SSD 730 Series
189.52
265.53
266.84
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
182.78
114.45
205.63
WD Black 2 Dual Drive
174.65
114.66
228.2
OCZ ARC 100 series
163.53
289.39
385.71
Plextor M6S
155.34
144.78
227.89
Transcend SSD720
145.26
230.58
269.55
SanDisk Ultra II
126.49
210.21
319.23

Legend:

As OS drive (read and write)
As secondary drive (write only)
As secondary drive (read only)

Note:

Measured in megabytes per second.

In tests with the PC Mark benchmark suite, the new Samsung SSD 850 Evo came in very close and even edged out the 850 Pro by a small margin.

PC Mark 8 overall storage performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo (RAPID)
5013
384.38
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (RAPID)
5005
368.13
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
4983
276.16
Samsung SSD 850 Pro
4979
267.32
SanDisk Extreme Pro
4957
244.17
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
4948
236.18
SanDisk Ultra II
4922
208.55
OCZ ACR 100 series
4948
203.72

Legend:

Storage Score
Storage bandwith (MB/s)

Note:

Higher number means better performance.

PC Mark test also revealed that showed that the Samsung SSD 850 Evo is on par with the 850 Pro in terms of improving the application performance, especially in RAPID mode.

PC Mark 8 storage application performance

Samsung SSD 850 Pro (RAPID)
58
133.9
355.7
28.2
9.1
9.1
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
58
133.4
359.2
28.2
9.2
9.2
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (RAPID)
58
133.5
354.3
28.1
9.1
9.1
Samsung SSD 850 Pro
58.1
133.8
369.8
28.3
9.1
9.2
SanDisk Extreme Pro
58.4
133.9
361.1
28.3
9.2
9.2
SanDisk Ultra II
58.8
134.6
363.1
28.4
9.3
9.3
OCZ ARC 100 series
58.9
134.7
362.3
28.4
9.4
9.3
Standard Laptop HDD
138.9
366
565.19
51.7
26.6
27.4

Legend:

World of Warcraft
Battlefield 3
Adobe Photoshop
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint

Note:

Measured in seconds. Shorter bars means better performance.

Overall, the Evo's performance is quite interesting. While its copy speed wasn't the best, its application performance was great,topping the chart in certain tests when used an the RAPID mode. This means if you computer has a lot of system memory (8GB or more) the Evo is an ideal drive to get.

Conclusion

The new Samsung 850 Evo isn't the fastest SSD on the market, especially in terms of copy speed, but in random access speed, which contributes to the overall performance of a computer, it's neck to neck with the top-tier 850 Pro. And, like the Pro, it's now also available in 2TB capacity.

So if you want to get the most value from your dollar, the Evo is clearly a better choice. Though its 5-year warranty time is short compared to the 10-year of the Pro, that's still one of the longest on the market. And after using both drives for months now, I believe chances are you won't need to use the warranty at all. On the other hand, if you want the top SSD with no compromises, the SSD 850 Pro is the way to go if money is not an issue.

All things considered, though, the Samsung SSD 850 Evo is for now the best deal for anyone looking to upgrade their computer to a super fast and reliable internal drive.

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