Samsung 850 EVO SSD Review (1TB) – Differing Series Controllers Compared



For our last benchmark, we have decided to use PCMark 8 Extended Storage Workload in order to determine steady state throughput of the SSD.  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

In reading the results, the Degrade and Steady State phases represent heavy workload testing while the recovery phase represents typical consumer light workload testing.


As you can see, performance is recorded in terms of Bandwidth and Latency. Bandwidth (or throughput) represents the total throughput the drive is able to sustain during the tests during each phase. Latency, at least for the purposes of PCMark 8, takes on a different outlook and for this, we will term it ‘Total Storage latency’.  Typically, latency has been addressed as the time it takes for a command to be executed, or rather, the time from when the last command completed to the time that the next command started.  This is shown below as ‘Average Latency’.

PCMark 8 provides a slightly different measurement, however, that we are terming as ‘Total Storage Latency’.  This is represented as being the period from the time the last command was completed, until the time it took to complete the next task; the difference of course being that the execution of that task is included in ‘Total Storage Latency’.  For both latency graphs, the same still exists where the lower the latency, the faster the responsiveness of the system will be.  While both latency charts look very similar, the scale puts into perspective how just a few milliseconds can increase the length of time to complete multiple workloads.

For a more in-depth look into Latency, Bandwidth, and IOPS check out our primer article on them here.


These results show the total average bandwidth across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the higher the result the better.

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB PCMark 8 Average Bandwidth


These results show the average access time during the workloads across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB PCMark 8 Average Latency Compared


These results show the total access time across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB PCMark 8 Total Latency

PC Mark 8’s consistency test gives us some much better insight into the performance difference between the drives capacities and controllers. When it comes to heavy workload performance, the 1TB model blows the 120GB model out of the water. Average latency is almost three times lower and bandwidth is twice that of 120GB. And when it comes to light workloads, the performance gap becomes smaller, however, the 1TB capacity model still edges out all others.

What is interesting to note is the performance between the 1TB 850 Pro and the 1TB 850 EVO. They both features a 3-core MEX controller and 3D V-NAND, however, here we can start to compare the performance differences in 2-bit MLC vs 3-bit TLC. The inherent issue of increased latency and slower speeds is still present in the heavy workload results, however, we can see that when it comes to light workloads, the results are practically the same. Also, throwing in the Mushkin Reactor with 2D MLC, we can see that the 1TB EVO outperforms the value drive, which is still quite impressive considering the downfalls of TLC. The 3D manufacturing really does prove to make a difference.


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 Anvil Storage Utilities. 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.

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB Power Consumption

With just one quick glance of the above graph we can see that the power consumption of the 1TB 850 EVO is much higher than that of the lower capacities. Startup hits 4.25W, at idle it consumes nearly twice the amount at 50mW. And for the rest of the results we can see it continues to consume more power as well.


Throughout testing, the 1TB Samsung 850 EVO has proven to be quite the performer. Utilizing the same controller as the 850 Pro and 840 EVO, we were able to see great speeds in our synthetic tests. Reads and writes both pushing past 500MB/s. In our PCMark 8 testing, we were able to clearly see the performance difference between the two controllers in this product series. The 3-core MEX controller in the 1TB 850 EVO provides much lower latency over the MGX controller, however in our power testing, the 2-core MGX controller design definitely provides for greater power efficiency. Furthermore, in PCMark 8’s consistency test we were able to see just how much of a difference there is between TLC and MLC NAND. Overall, for light workloads there really isn’t much. It isn’t until the drive is put under heavy workloads that we can start to see a difference, but even then, Samsung’s 850 EVO still was able to outperform another value drive with planar MLC NAND.

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB Main

3D V-NAND truly helps to alleviate a lot of the issues with TLC NAND flash. Samsung’s early move to both 2-bit and 3-bit 3D V-NAND should continue to give them a bit of an advantage down the road when more manufacturers start theirs, especially with pricing.

The increase from a 3-year warranty to a 5-year warranty is great and helps to improve this drive’s competitiveness in the market. Performance of the new Samsung 850 EVOs under light workloads is very impressive, however, the 1TB model seems to provide a clear advantage under heavy workloads. One thing we would have liked to see out of the new 850 EVO series would be some sort of extra power loss protection, as we have seen in other value oriented drives. Besides that, there isn’t much else. With the following Samsung has developed with their previous drives, we don’t see why this one won’t continue a similar trend in popularity.

If you are in the market for a new high capacity SSD, the 1TB Samsung 850 is a very competitive option to take a look at.

Check Out the 1TB Samsung 850 EVO at Amazon Todayblank!

Editors Choice-SSD copy Opt

Review Overview

Build Quality
Price and Availability

1TB of 3D V-NAND

Constructed with an MEX controller and 3D TLC V-NAND, the 1TB Samsung 850 delivers great performance under both light and heavy workloads as well as greater endurance. Pairing its great performance with features such as DevSleep and hardware encryption support make for this drive to be a very good buy.

User Rating: 4.9 ( 2 votes)


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    Any idea why this drive isn’t offered in a 1.5 or 2 TB version? There is room in the housing and there must be a market for larger drives.

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        Cost was a huge factor. Some one at Samsung asked me if I would be willing to spend $1,000 or more for a SSD I said no. they are having a hard time selling 1TB ssd’s.

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        Make them cheaper and they sure will sell 🙂

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        As we use affiliate sales, I cannot get into numbers but to say that Samsung has yet to market a SSD that doesn’t sell. Their choice of release timings for all of their products to date has been dead on with customer need.

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        I just bought 2X 1TB 850 evos. I can guarantee a 2TB drive will shortly become available just to spite me. That’s how it always works. The Want is there, but the product isn’t. Yeah fine the controller needs to be blah blah, and yada yada. they were already quick to strip 1 core off the MEX without any performance loss. How hard could it be. one thing I could say is though, the minute I see a 2GB SSD i’m picking it up, Samsung or not.

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      No demand really. Also more than 1TB requires more complex controller (ie more blocks to adress) or bigger block size.
      Given the EVO is a consumer drive, 1TB is just as much as it makes sense to sell right now. But that doesn’t mean there will be no 2TB+ drives in the near future.

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        NO DEMAND??? o_O Where have you been??? Many people are interested in 2TB SSDs.

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        Simply because you would like a 2TB SSD does not create demand. The interest is there but, even with present day sales, the validation that there is a need for large capacity consumer SSDs just isn’t there. This can be easily seen with lower capacity sales compared to even 512GB drives today, much less the 1TB capacity. Samsung will not market any drive unless they can be assured that there will be big sales.

      • blank

        Not that many though. Atleast not for consumer drives.

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      There certainly is a market for larger SSDs.

  2. blank

    Awesome review, thanks. 🙂

  3. blank

    Great drive, but pricing kills it right now. Its more expensive than competing options; infact 1TB is almost 120€ more expensive than ULTRA II for example.

  4. blank

    Hi! Thanks for your awesome site.
    I am loathe to join the forums when I have little to discuss, always forgetting and mislaying my login details between visits. Hopefully it is not too cheeky to ask for some advice here:
    If somebody wanted to buy a sata 3 SSD, contining a half-height PCB, for the purpose of a hack, can you recommend a manufacturer that do not use warranty-destroying security tape, or other measures to prevent this potential fun.

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    I have just installed 850 EVO 1TB in my mid 2012 Macbbok Pro (i5, 8GB RAM) having Mac OX Yosemite 10.10.3 . It has made computer blazingly fast and has made it better than any other computer I used till date. My question is whether I can install a third party TRIM as it is not provided by Mac OSX Yosemite.

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      Trim Enabler. The pro version costs 10 bucks, but the driver itself it free. Just installed the 850 on a 2012 MacBook Pro and it runs like a dream.

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    I have bought this drive and installed it on a macbook pro mid 2009 and so far so good. With the release of MAC OS X 10.10.4 with the TRIM enable option, should i enable it or not? Does this drive need this or not because of the native features? Thanks, Miguel.

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      If the ability to enable TRIM is there as a confirmation, we would always recommend such, although most drives are built well with Garbage Collection in their firmware as they have always had.

  7. blank

    850 is probably the most overhyped SSD I’ve ever seen. It’s not that great.

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