A few months ago we reviewed the the little brother to the Samsung 850 Pro, the Samsung 850 EVO in its SATA III 2.5’’ form factor. Now it’s time for the spotlight to shift to a new form factor, M.2. Just as with the 2.5″ model, this M.2 variant utilizes their new 32-layer TLC 3D V-NAND technology as well as their latest MGX dual-core SATA controller. This combination paired with TurboWrite technology enables this SSD to achieve some awesome speeds. Furthermore, the M.2 models do not show performance degradation comparatively to the other form factors of the Samsung 850 EVO, which is great considering the amount of NAND used on this form factor.
The M.2 form factor is especially good in environments where there is not a lot of space, e.g. a laptop or notebook. We have seen in the last few months more companies making M.2 SSDs for personal and OEM markets. Even though they are starting to become a standard for the flash market, Samsung has taken the reigns of the M.2 SATA form factor and is leading all of its competitors in a performance heavy direction. Now, let us delve into the review of the Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA SSD in both the 120GB and 500GB capacities.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The Samsung 850 EVO M.2 form factor comes in three capacities, 120GB ($79.99), 250GB ($129.99), and 500GB (229.99). As one would expect, the M.2 model uses the same Samsung MGX controller as the other form factors. Packed with their 32 layer TLC 3D V-NAND, the sequential speeds of the M.2 model are rated for 540MB/s read and 500MB/s write for all capacities. Furthermore, the read IOPS for 4KB, QD1 performance is rated at 10,000 IOPS and write is rated for 40,000 IOPS. 4K queue depth 32 performance is rated for up to 97,000 IOPS read and 89,000 IOPS write. Compared to the SATA III 2.5″ form factor these speeds are just 1,000 IOPS shy of their QD32 IOPS ratings.
The 850 EVO comes with AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption (FDE) TCG/Opal V2.0 and support Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667) which can be easily activated with instructions from within Samsung’s Magician software. Samsung will be updating Magician to 4.6, in which Rapid Mode can be enabled for this SSD. Furthermore, TRIM is supported when there is OS support. They feature S.M.A.R.T. and garbage collection as well as a five year warranty. Among the value and mainstream tiered SSDs a five year warranty is pretty nice comparatively to most that have only a three year warranty.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The box that the SSD ships in is a very clean white design. This makes the green and black M.2 SSD and the lettering on the front stick out against the blank background. The back in mostly grey, white, and black which brings your eyes back to the front where most of the color is at showing off the Samsung M.2 SSD. Overall the packaging is very professional and eye catching.
When we look at the SSD we see that it has one NAND on each side of the Samsung controller and one DRAM chip on the front. Covering the chips of the front there is the product information sticker which includes the serial number, model number, capacity, and power rating.
Conversely, there is nothing on the back of the PCB save for a name sticker.
The NAND, controller, and DRAM are the same as the other form factors of the Samsung 850 EVO. The NAND is Samsung’s new 32-layer TLC 3D V-NAND coupled with the MGX controller and the DRAM used is 512MB of LPDDR2.
The picture in the middle above shows the M and B-key connectors, showing us that this M.2 SSD utilizes the SATA III interface.