Samsung 850 EVO SSD Review (120/500GB) – Showing Off 3D TLC V-NAND

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as Xbox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

PCMARK VANTAGE RESULTS

In PCMark Vantage, both capacities performed very well. The Samsung 850 EVO 120GB (results pictured left) achieved a Total Score of 88,025 points with a high transfer speed of 454.55MB/s during the Windows Media Center phase. The Samsung 850 EVO 500GB achieved a Total Score of 87,456 points with a high transfer speed of 457.66MB/s when testing Windows Vista startup. The application loading benchmark results was the lowest with both drives reaching 360.64MB/s and 350.98MB/s respectively.

Looking back at our 850 Pro review, the 120GB 850 EVO has actually surpassed the 850 Pro at the same capacity in PCMark Vantage. TurboWrite is proving to be quite impressive.

120GB

Samsung 850 EVO 120GB PCMark Vantage

500GB

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB PCMark Vantage

As a bit of comparison as to how the 850 fares, we have maintained a PCMark Vantage Heirarchy Chart, which for the most part has been consistent in its representation of upper tier SSD.  This chart is based solely on PCMark Vantage Total Point scoring and no other benchmarks but, as we can see, the 850 EVO fares very well against even the best!

Samsung 850EVO Chart

PCMARK 8 EXTENDED STORAGE

WORKLOAD CONSISTENCY TESTING

For our last benchmark, we have decided to use PCMark 8 Extended Storage Workload in order to determine steady state throughput of the Samsung 850 Pro.  This software is the longest in our battery of tests and takes just under 18 hours per SSD.  As this is a specialized component of PCMark 8 Professional, its final result is void of any colorful graphs or charts typical of the normal online results and deciphering the resulting excel file into an easily understood result takes several more hours.

There are 18 phases of testing throughout the entire run, 8 runs of the Degradation Phase, 5 runs of the Steady State Phase and 5 runs of the Recovery Phase.  In each phase, several performance tests are run of 10 different software programs; Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop Heavy and Photoshop Light, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word, as well as Battlefield 3 and World of Warcraft to cover the gaming element.

  • PRECONDITIONING -The entire SSD is filled twice sequentially with random data of a 128KB file size.  The second run accounts for overprovisioning that would have escaped the first;
  • DEGRADATION PHASE – The SSD is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 10 minutes and then a single pass performance test is done of each application.  The cycle is repeated 8 times, and with each time, the duration of random writes increases by 5 minutes;
  • STEADY STATE PHASE – The drive is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 45 minutes before each application is put through a performance test.  This process is repeated 5 times;
  • RECOVERY PHASE – The SSD is allowed to idle for 5 minutes before and between performance tests of all applications.  This is repeated 5 times which accounts for garbage collection; and
  • CLEANUP – The entire SSD is written with zero data at a write size of 128KB

PCMARK 8 RESULTS

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB PCMark 8 Consistency

Now, after a run of PC Mark 8’s consistency test, we can see that the results are definitely that of a client SSD. We tested only the 120GB model as the 500GB model would have taken too long to test. Throughout the entire degrade and steady state stages the performance for each test was roughly the same. The lowest results in the degrade/steady states were around 25MB/s during the Photoshop Heavy steady states. The highest came in the gaming benches for BF3 and WOW, averaging just under 200MB/s. Overall its degraded/steady state performance averaged out to around 70MB/s.

It wasn’t until the recovery stage that the 850 EVO was able to run at a faster pace. Photoshop Light reached a nice boost up to over 400MB/s and Photoshop Heavy hovered around265MB/s. The lowest result in the finally recovery states was about 155MB/s from Illustrator. Quite frankly, for the EVO to pull even this off in PCMark 8 says quite a bit about the caliber of this SSD.

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lorki
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lorki

I think an 120gb 850 evo usb thumb drive would be awesome .

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

You can already buy flash drives with ssd controllers. Sandisk and mushkin are making those for example

lorki
Guest
lorki

i know that, still, the evo would be faster

Benjamin Hojnik
Guest
Benjamin Hojnik

Not when its limited to usb3 interface …

numeric
Guest
numeric

Yes, it would be faster. SanDisk U100 is rated 2300 write IOPS. This 850 EVO is rated 40000 write IOPS. But this is not suitable for use as Stick. SanDisk ‘cruzer extreme’ SDCZ80 is U100 SSD; SanDisk U100 does not use volatile cache. That is crucial for use as Stick: volatile write cache spells ‘data disaster’. And look at power rating: this 850 EVO current rating is 1.4 ampere. Not suitable for Stick. In fact, any 5V SSD is NOT suitable for use as Stick. Stick SSD should use lower voltage, such as 3.3 V, regulated down from USB VBUS.

lorki
Guest
lorki

why not? they are not limited by the usb3 interface, and the mushkin gets too hot and throttles all the time. check the review at anandtech. it will easily surpass them, even the corsair gtx

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Yes they are. And also you need usb -> sata bridge controller, which also usually kills IOPS aswell.

For best performance, sammy should design a ssd class controller around usb3 interface and its power restrictions.

lorki
Guest
lorki

no they are not. the usb to sata controller would probably lower the iops but it would still be faster than anything currently exists in usb thumb drives with ssd controller.

you can’t seriously expect samsung to develop a new controller around usb3. There isn’t a market for it

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

>you can’t seriously expect samsung to develop a new controller around usb3. There isn’t a market for it

They could just add usb3 interface to the existing controller.

And yeah, there simply just isn’t market for those kinds of things. And again, you’re restricted to how much power you can sip from the usb port.

Donny Stanley
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Donny Stanley

Corsair also makes one, the Voyager GTX.

Jim
Guest
Jim

I am not impressed. Degraded performance after TurboWrite? “…speeds returning to where they should when TRIM was allowed to run…”?

Your testing methodology was good but your observations, but not your conclusions, reveal weaknesses in performance that would appear to be characteristic of all SSDs.

You missed the mark.

Jim

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

I don’t hink you quite understand the report with respect to ‘after turbowrite’ and might suggest that you read it again in order to understand what ‘after turbowrite’ represents. As for when TRIM was allowed, you seem to be refering to the PCMark 8 testing which is the most demanding of benchmarks today. This is a consumer SSD with TLC memory and not intended for media workloads, or that tested through PCMark 8 as we did. It fared very well considering.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Oh, I understand it but I wonder if you do. The SSD chokes up and runs slower at some point and does not run faster again until TRIM is run. The demanding benchmark simply reached the choke point more quickly. I think highly of Samsung products, including this one, and I am simply critiquing your conclusions, not the product.

Jim

Sean Webster
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The Samsung 850 EVO is an SSD that is designed for client usage. Most client based activity requires small non-continuous writes, not large continuous transfers. TurboWrite will be working most of the time. If one is in need of better continuous write speeds, then they should look into SSDs designed for that type of work load. The 850 EVO is designed for client usage and it does that very well.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Your “client usage” criteria sells short people who are gamers, multi-taskers, or video aficionados. It would come as a surprise to Samsung if you are implying that this SSD is not recommended for that bunch.

Again, I am not critiquing the EVO. I am not critiquing your methodology. Maybe you should run the same tests on a few other drives and see if they choke, too.

Jim

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Jim, you seem to be running around in circles by stating that you are not critiquing and then doing just that. Are you suggesting we should recommend this drive for gamers, multi-taskers and video aficionados (whatever you classify that as)? This is a consumer SSD intended to be a high capacity low price product for the typical consumer. It is separate from the 850 Pro and I might think you would understand this. So what are you questioning… the benchmark results or our assessment of such? Are you suggesting that we should recommend it for more intense use scenarios? Are… Read more »

Sean Webster
Guest

I do not feel it sells short for gamers or multitaskers. But can you be more specific in terms of the workload? Large continuous write performance is not needed for gaming and rarely for typical multitasking. For gaming, typically after the initial install, the system will just read the game data and only modify config files here and there. And for multitasking, you need to be more specific as there can be many different workload levels when it comes to different people and multitasking. In terms of video aficionados, what aspect are you referring to, editors, streamers, etc? Yes, lower… Read more »

Donny Stanley
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Donny Stanley

I’m quite confused with your statements, as they seem to imply that gaming and video consumption requires large amounts of continuous writes, which they do not. All of these use cases you’ve mentioned are not only mostly read intensive they tend not to be largely different on one SSD or another (especially gaming, where using an SSD only drastically effects load times and not frame-rate or frame time variance).

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Great drive but pricing simply kills it. It runs just a few € cheaper than 850pro here in EU, which makes zero sense to buy.
Once this settles down to mx100/ultra ii prices, it will make a lot of sense. Especially considering 5 year warranty.

Donny Stanley
Guest
Donny Stanley

Agreed. However, (at least here in the US) the 512GB/500GB model is about $90 cheaper for the EVO than the Pro, when you consider performance its a pretty good deal.. but yeah Samsung definitely needs to better compete with other brands’ budget offerings.

ibmford
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ibmford

Don’t forget, the 850 Evo consumes less power over all and might be a better fit for ultra notebooks where as 850 Pro would be a better fit for a desktop or workstation class laptop like Thinkpad W series.

Donny Stanley
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Donny Stanley

Fantastic report as always Sean! This thing is awesome.

Sunshine
Guest
Sunshine

256GB SSD is useless for me and until prices for 500GB not drops below $160 I’m staying with HDDs.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Pretty self defeatiing statement I might say. It is sort of like saying you are going to walk until the price of gas goes down.

gu3st1
Guest
gu3st1

i agree, and i don’t think 152 dollars shipped for the 250 GB evo is that much money anyways, i own one myself right now and it is noticeably better than the 850 pro ( for qd1 read speeds which i normally look for ) and well worth the money.

Benjamin Hojnik
Guest
Benjamin Hojnik

FYI, you can get mushkin chronos for 169$ via newegg.com….

So if 9$ are keeping you away from SSDs, well then…

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