Closer Look: Samsung SSD 850 PRO
Solid state storage devices have gained quick popularity with performance-minded consumers because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple computer systems. Likewise, these drives install quite easily into both desktop and notebook platforms without any modification necessary. The Samsung SSD 850 PRO is designed for the high-performance user segment, and gives personal computers a much faster response time that can help boost productivity. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the 256GB Samsung SSD 850 PRO solid state drive.
Samsung SSD 850 PRO solid state drives are available in 2.5″ SATA form factor only, as they’re intended for the retail consumer market. Samsung Electronics offers the SSD 850 PRO series in four capacities for the SATA interface: 128, 256, 512GB and 1TB. Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology is designed to sustain an 80 GB daily workload, which equates to 150 Terabytes Written (TBW) over five years, and lends to Samsung’s industry-leading 5-year limited warranty.
Using in-house firmware to drive the Samsung 3-core MEX controller inside these Samsung SSD 850 PRO drives, the 128/256/512GB/1TB models are all specified to reach 550 MB/s sequential read and 520 MB/s sequential write speeds for 256/512GB/1TB models. Although Samsung’s higher-capacity models offer the fastest write-to performance ratings, the 128GB model performs closely with 470 MB/s.
Unlike fragile the older Hard Disk Drive (HDD) magnetic storage products, SSDs are not nearly as sensitive to impact damage and do not require (or benefit from) any kind of special vibration dampening or shock-proof enclosures. Once installed the SSD is usually hidden away from view, which explains why the Samsung SSD 850 PRO has maintained such a conservative appearance.
The Samsung SSD 850 PRO features a 7mm thick chassis that comes painted black with beveled silver metal finish along the edges. Samsung utilizes a standard two-piece metal enclosure for the Samsung SSD 850 PRO, with product branding at the top panel and product information label on the bottom. Internal components are revealed by removing a small counter-sunk screw located at the bottom of this solid state drive.
Standard 2.5″ drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled into the SSD chassis with fine screw threading, allowing this drive to fit directly into notebook computers that use SATA connections. For older notebooks that fit a 9mm drive, users should purchase a plastic adapter that fits atop this 7mm SSD. The threaded mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my notebook computer, and after only a few minutes of upgrading I booted-up from a restored Windows Backup Image with ease.
Backwards compatible with SATA 1.5 GB/s and 3.0 GB/s interfaces, the SATA 6.0 GB/s Samsung 3-core MEX controller offers: TRIM support and active garbage collection for supported Operating Systems (such as Microsoft Windows 7/8), Microsoft eDrive compatibility, power loss protection, ECC (Error Correction Code), and basic Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set. All Samsung SSD 850 PRO drives are TCG/Opal V2.0 and IEEE 1667 compliant, and include a proprietary data integrity algorithm that provides a defense against data corruption with hardware-based AES-256 full data encryption and adaptive thermal monitoring and protection.
Samsung claims that 850 PRO provides the lowest “Device Sleep” (DEVSLP) mode of any 2.5” form-factor SSD, with idle power approximately the same as the 840 PRO while the average active write power has been reduced by up to 40% due to Samsung 3D V-NAND technology.
In the next few sections we’ll test the Samsung SSD 850 PRO, and compare this solid state drive to other retail products intended for notebook and desktop installations.