For our power consumption testing, we have the drive connected to the system as a secondary drive. To record the wattage, we use an Amprobe AM-270 multimeter connected in line with the 5v power on our SATA power cable to the drive. The multimeter records the min/max amperage draw from the drive over our testing period.
We also record the drive’s sequential and random read and write power draw using Iometer. We then take the values recorded and calculate the wattage of the drive. Some of the results may seem high compared to a standard notebook HDD because as these are peak values under load. When we see average power draw, SSDs are still more power efficient because they only hit max power for a short period of time.
Overall, based on the max wattage observed, we can see that the PM863 consumes nearly twice the power the SM863 does. We can see that the reason is due to the TLC vs MLC NAND in each drive, with TLC demanding a much more power in most cases. The PM863 is rated for 2.9W during reads and 3.8W during writes. Based on our data the drive pulls a bit more power than the rated spec when it comes to writes, but is spot on for reads. The SM863 on the other hand is rated for up to 2.2W for reads and 2.9W for writes. Again, the SM863 consumed a bit more than its rated specs for read, but write was in line with them.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
When released the Samsung 845DC EVO and 845DC Pro both delivered fast speeds, low latency, and consistent performance. The PM863 and SM863 are no different in that matter. The focus on these SSDs is deliver a product that can deliver the best value to small and medium sized businesses in both read-intensive and mixed workloads. They come with a strong feature set including power-loss protection and Dynamic Thermal Guard Protection to keep your data safe and reliable. Looking at the overall package, we feel Samsung did a great job at developing these drives for both the entry and mid-tier SATA SSD segments. One thing which we may suggest is encryption support as many competitors are now offering SSD models with SED capability standard.
Performance matched the listed specs in our 100% read and write workloads and during our server profiles they excelled. The PM863 reached read speeds of up to 558MB/s and write speeds of up to 510MB/s, which actually surpass the SM863’s performance of 533MB/s read and 488MB/s write! In terms of 4K IOPS the PM863 and SM863 reached just over 97K. In writes the PM863 reached nearly 20K and the SM863 reached 28K. In the server profile results it was obvious that the SM863 was the top performer. We saw that the Crucial M510DC was greatly overshadowed in all tests and just could not keep up after QD4 against both the Samsung SSDs. Finally, looking at power consumption, we saw an interesting trend that revealed the PM863 having nearly twice the maximum power consumption of the SM863. The SM863’s power consumption, on the other hand, really shows how efficient MLC V-NAND is over planar NAND. Taking a look back at our M510DC review we can see that the M510DC consumes about double what the SM863 does even though it is half the capacity, which is quite eye opening. Talk about efficiency!
Samsung is the biggest player in the SSD market with over 30% market share. By leveraging Samsung’s latest TLC and MLC V-NAND the PM863 and SM863 continue to solidify their lead by delivering fast and consistent performance. Not only that, but it allows them to pack in a whopping 3.84TB in a 2.5″ 7mm form factor! It can easily be seen that the PM863 is the greatest benefactor when it comes to the utilization of V-NAND. It allows for larger capacities and great performance, as well as much better endurance over the 845DC EVO which had planar NAND. Not only that, but MSRPs are also very competitive at about $0.57/GB.
The SM863 on the other hand, while it performs better than the PM863, it does not surpass its predecessor in much else besides price per GB. It has lower endurance and lower performance, although this can be increased through manually over provisioning. The MSRPs for it are much more attractive, however, at about $0.67/GB.
You may be wondering why Samsung would release a new product with lower specs to replace the 845DC Pro. It is quite simple, they are very good at reading market trends. Right now the majority of the market does not need SATA drives that deliver 10 drive writes per day endurance and 50K write IOPS performance. Sure some do, but Samsung basically left that market segment to let the other companies take care of them, or for those who want to, they can purchase PM863s and SM863s and manually over provision their drives for better performance as can be seen here.
As we stated in our Micron M510DC review, the majority of demand is for decently performing, cheap, and low endurance (1-3DWPD) SATA SSDs. Why bother with the low demand and small margin, high-end SATA market when you can continue being the leader in the majority of where sales elsewhere? Focusing on the majority segment allows Samsung to take even greater advantage of economies of scale so they can bring out even more competitive pricing and remain the 3D V-NAND riding power house they are today. It will be interesting to see how the other fab owners will stir up the market once they start releasing products with their own 3D NAND, but for that we will have to wait just a bit longer.
Overall, the PM863 and SM863 both offer customers a great value in their respective segment. Assuming you are looking for a low endurance enterprise SATA SSD with great consistency and performance, you will really be hard pressed to find a much better deal than these two SSDs. Because of this, we award them our Goal Seal!