Some time ago, Samsung introduced their 3D V-NAND (vertical NAND) to the world and NAND flash memory took on a whole new look with what some might call, very high aspirations. Samsung was quick to point out that, as demands for reduced memory sizes increased, achieving a smaller footprint meant increased error rates and performance limitations. An example of this was seen in lower SSD capacity write performance where manufacturers found solutions in software and their own firmware engineering expertise. Nonetheless, the reality of lower capacity write performance was evident.
Samsung’s 3D V-NAND was introduced as a natural solution to these concerns. With 3D V-NAND, Samsung promises twice the density of conventional memory, up to twice the write performance, half the power consumption, along with an incredible 10 times the endurance of what we might typically see in today’s storage solutions. As much as we might typically like to jump in to our SSD report, we think this video represents a great understanding of this technology and how it is already changing the way we look at our gadgets:
The Samsung 850 Pro 6Gbps SSD is the first SSD in the world to use 3D V-NAND. Samsung’s confidence in the 850 is evident with their 10 year warranty, speaking directly to product quality and endurance. Samsung went much further though and, before approving this memory for the retail market, mass-produced and incorporated it within data centers. By changing from a planar structure, Samsung built a 32-layer cylindrical cell structure, stacking more cells vertically and resulting in a smaller footprint and higher density. Having said this, the maximum capacity of the 850 Pro remains to be 1TB.
And then there are SATA 3 performance limitations… As much of a bottleneck that SATA 3 creates, it has forced manufacturers to try to stay ahead of the game by including features in SSDs that, only a very short time ago, were exclusive to enterprise SSDs alone. What started as higher IOPS (something so many consumers still don’t understand), has now progressed to consumer SSDs with eMLC NAND, power fail protection, and most recently, SATA performance at or above enterprise products still available today.
The Samsung 850 Pro SSD is a SATA 3 SSD, backwards compatible with SATA 2 and 1,5, and is a 2.5″ notebook size with a ultra-thin thickness of 7mm. There are no immediate plans to market the 850 Pro as a mSATA or M.2 retail product. It will be available in capacities of 128, 256, 512GB and 1TB, and performance is listed at 550MB/s read for all, with 520MB/s write for all capacities other than the 128GB size. Performance for the 128GB version is listed at 470MB/s. AT 4K-QD32, IOPS performance is listed at 100K read and 90K write. The 850 pro is chalk full of features to include TRIM, SMART, AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0, as well as IEEE1667 compatibility.
Power consumption is listed at just above 3W for active read and write, while idle drops to .4W and DEVSLP comes in at 2mW. Perhaps the two most striking features, however, are Samsung’s guaranteed lifespan of 150TBW and 10 year warranty; this speaks volumes. As for pricing, MSRP is listed at $129.99 (128GB), $229.99 (256GB), $429.99 (512GB) and $729.99 (1TB). Be ready for it though as the popularity of Samsung SSDs pretty much guarantees that retailers will have higher pricing to benefit their own needs, at least initially. Check Samsung’s own Stock for Pricing at Amazon.
850 PRO SSD COMPONENTS
The Samsung 850 Pro has the Samsung 3-core MEX controller as it’s engine and our 1TB sample contains a 1GB chip of LPDDR2 DRAM cache memory. The PCB is only a 3/4 size PCB in length and contains only 8 NAND flash memory chips to accommodate its 1TB capacity, four on the front and four on the back.
In looking at the memory closely, we can see that there are two differing product numbers, K9PRGY8S5M and K9USGY8S7M. Until we can gain further confirmed information clarifying the difference between each, we will simply rely on the fact that the SSD is advertised as a 1TB SSD and, once formatted, there is 954GB of available user space once formatting the SSD is formatted.