Editors' note: The review was updated on July 6, 2015, when the new 2TB version was released.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Samsung SSD 850 Pro.
It's the first SSD on the market that uses the innovative 3D vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory for top performance and ultra-high endurance. It comes with a rarely seen 10-year warranty and, among other features, has a Rapid mode that further boosts its performance. What's more, it's one of the first drives available in the all-new 2TB capacity, along with its sibling the.
Naturally, though, all of that comes at a price. Depending on the capacities, the new Samsung drive is one of the most expensive among standard SSDs, currently costing $98, $152, $255, $489 and $1,000 for 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB respectively. (That's about £63 to £640 and AU$128 to AU$1,310 converted.) Note that the pricing for the newly released 2TB version is the suggested retail price, and its street price will likely be lower.
If you don't mind paying the premium, the Samsung delivers the best performance, highest capacity and longest warranty time currently available on the market. It's especially great for those who regularly need to write a huge amount of data to the internal drive every day. But if you're on stricter budget, the 850 Evo is cheaper, with comparable performance in many tests.
For more options on great internal drives, check out this list of top SSDs on the market.
3D memory cell strings, ultra-high endurance
The Samsung SSD 850 Pro is a standard internal drive that supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) standard and will work in any instance where a regular SATA hard drive is used. Similar to most SSDs, it's 7mm thick. Like most standard drives, it's a square device that's 2.5 inches diagonally, with the standard SATA port on one of its sides. The new drive looks exactly the same as the.
On the inside, however, the new drive is the first that brings 3D vertical NAND flash memory to SSDs, called Samsung second-gen 86-gigabit 40nm MLC V-NAND.
Traditionally, NAND flash memory cells -- the storage units on an SSD -- are placed flat on the surface of the silicon wafer, limiting the number of cells you can cram into a square inch. In the case of the Samsung drive, cells are also stacked up to 32 layers. This allows for packing significantly more memory cells in the same amount of wafer bits, which greatly increases the density. That plus Samsung's customized firmware and the improved MEX controller, allow the drive to also offer great performance and ultra-high endurance.
Endurance is the number of program-erase (P/E) cycles an SSD has before you can't write onto it any more -- read more about SSD endurance here. Samsung says you can write at least 150TB (on the 128GB and 256GB capacities) or 300TB (on the 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities) of data to the 850 Pro before it runs out of P/E cycles, almost twice that of the SanDisk Extreme Pro, which has an endurance of 80TB. This means most of us won't use up the drive's endurance in our lifetime.
Samsung SSD 850 Pro specs
|Design||2.5-inch 7mm||2.5-inch 7mm||2.5-inch 7mm||2.5-inch 7mm||2.5-inch 7mm|
|Controler||Samsung MEX Controller||Samsung MEX Controller||Samsung MEX Controller||Samsung MEX Controller||Samsung MHX controller|
|Flash memory||Samsung 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC||Samsung 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC||Samsung 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC||Samsung 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC||Samsung 3D V-NAND 2bit MLC|
|Sequential Read||550 MB/s||550 MB/s||550 MB/s||550 MB/s||550 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||470 MB/s||520 MB/s||520 MB/s||520 MB/s||520 MB/s|
|Random Read||100K IOPS||100K IOPS||100K IOPS||100K IOPS||100K IOPS|
|Random Write||90K IOPS||90K IOPS||90K IOPS||90K IOPS||90K IOPS|
|Power consumption (idle)||2mW||2mW||2mW||2mW||2mW|
|Power consumption (read | write)||3.3W | 3.0W||3.3W | 3.0W||3.3W | 3.0W||3.3W | 3.0W||3.3W | 3.0W|
|Endurance (Terabyte written, at least)||150TB||150TB||300TB||300TB||300TB|
|Suggested US retail price||$130||$230||$430||$730||$1,000|
Helpful software, improved Rapid mode
As with the 840 Pro and, the 850 Pro allows you to manage all of its features via the Samsung Magician software, which is currently only available for Windows.
For example, you can use the software to turn on or off encryption, over-provisioning -- a feature that uses part of an SSD's storage space to enhance the drive's performance -- and Rapid mode. Rapid mode is unique to Samsung SSDs and is the most interesting and appealing feature.
Rapid is an acronym, standing for Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data. It basically means that it uses the available system memory (RAM) on the host computer as an input/output cache to boost the performance. Since most new computers come with a large amount of RAM, Rapid is a welcome feature.
Previously with the 840 Pro and 840 Evo, Rapid used up to 1GB of RAM for cache. Starting with the 850 Pro, Rapid now can use up to 4GB or 25 percent of the host computer's RAM, whichever is larger, as cache. More cache means better performance. In my testing, I found no reason why you shouldn't use Rapid mode.