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Samsung SSD 850 PRO Solid State Drive Review

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SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 64 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to “get up to speed”.

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD’s speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you’re comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original ‘pristine’ performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S’s will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid ‘dirty NAND’ performance degradation.

It’s critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as ATTO Disk Benchmark and Iometer are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

Samsung-SSD-850-PRO-Solid-State-Drive-Exploded

Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 EVO (Intel P67 Sandy Bridge Platform, B3 Stepping)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4 GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • System Memory: 4GB Dual-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel P67 Controller
    • AHCI mode – Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 11.7.0.1013
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel P67 Controller
    • AHCI mode – Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 11.7.0.1013
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit with Service Pack 1

Storage Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.6.4067.34354: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1a by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks
  • Iometer 1.1.0 (built 08-Nov-2010) by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Finalwire AIDA64: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • Futuremark PCMark Vantage: HDD Benchmark Suite tests real-world drive performance

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.


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14 comments

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  1. Matt M.

    If you can find your way past the numerous prompts to get to SSD support you “might” be able find the right person to answer your question.
    Don’t bother buying an SSD if you are using a NVIDIA controller. Think about getting a separate controller such as a SIIG as a partial work around the compatibility and speed issue.

    1. Olin Coles

      NVIDIA chipsets are decent, but they just aren’t as competitive as Intel or AMD boards. All of our testing is done on Intel chipsets, and I’ve had good experience with AMD motherboards, but I wouldn’t suggest NVIDIA-based motherboards for much anymore. Sorry!

  2. John P. Myers

    Samsung has updated their MSRP listings:

    128GB – $129.99 USD ($1.02/GB)
    256GB – $199.99 USD ($0.78/GB)
    512GB – $399.99 USD ($0.78/GB)
    1TB – $699.99 USD ($0.68/GB)

    1. Olin Coles

      The prices we published were those sent to us last night. If they’ve changed in the few hours since then, it’s only on paper. The only prices that matter are those at places like Amazon and Newegg.

    2. Olin Coles

      It turns out the prices we published were exactly correct, and match those found at Newegg and Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lCj1je

  3. joey

    Enable RAPID and nearly double those performance scores.

    1. Olin Coles

      RAPID would add system-supplemented performance to the benchmark, and would not be appropriate for a SSD review that compares apples to apples.

      1. Hank Tolman

        RAPID Mode actually doesn’t use the SATA channel to improve performance. It uses up to 1GB of RAM to cache data. RAPID mode analyzes all storage related activity by inserting itself as a filter driver in the Windows storage stack. It provides RAM caching based on a number of factors, like access frequency, file types, system status, and RAM availability. It also caches the ‘hot data’ across sessions and reboots.

        I consistently get 900+ MB/s using RAPID mode, but it doesn’t represent real SATA performance since it really just intelligent RAM caching.

        Read more at http://benchmarkreviews.com/15347/samsung-840-pro-solid-state-drive-review/

  4. Chris

    It’s fast, but the question is, is it worth paying almost 2 times as much in terms of capacity:cost as much as the MX100?

    – The MX 100 offers power loss protection
    – There is limited end to end data protection too in the MX100

    Against this, there’s the SSD 850 Pro, which is very fast, and has 40 nm NAND (which lasts longer).

  5. Caring1

    I’m still trying to figure out the difference from the 840 Pro.
    Didn’t that also come with Magician software and Rapid Mode?
    The Read/ Write figures look the same, so does the IOPS.

    1. Olin Coles

      Read the review. This is explained in the first two paragraphs, and also at the end of page two. Hint: 32-layer 3D V-NAND Flash, 200% write endurance in Total Bytes Written (TBW), and active write power has been reduced by up to 40% due to Samsung 3D V-NAND technology.

      1. Caring1

        Yep, I read the review before my previous post thank you.
        Strangely the article stated this > “Benchmark Reviews tests the 256GB Samsung SSD 850 PRO against the fastest solid state drives available.”
        Yet omitted to include the 840 Pro. Funny that considering what I already pointed out, the figures look the same!

  6. Stormprobe

    This review says it has a 5-year warranty, but it actually has a 10-year.

    1. Olin Coles

      That detail was published exactly how Samsung supplied it, so if they’ve increased the warranty it was done so after the product launch. Myself and others would like you to reference your source for this information.

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