Samsung 850 Pro SSD Review – Showing Off With 3D V-NAND

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 850 Pro ssd eXTRA

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.

Samsung 850 Pro SSD Angle

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.

Samsung 850 Pro Package Front SHSamsung 850 Pro Package Back SHSPECIFICATIONS 

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.

Samsung 850 Pro SSD fRONTSamsung 850 Pro SSD BackPower 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.blank

Check out the Samsung 850 Pro 128GB SSD Report by our newest team member, Sean Webster, at Technology X!


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.

Samsung 850 Pro SSD PCB Front

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.

Samsung 850 Pro SSD PCB Back


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    waahhhh a price point would be nice as well

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    Not worth the price premium IMO. I don’t care much about SSDs faster than the Crucial M550 or Samsung 830 Evo until the interface becomes faster (ie. SATA Express next year)

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    > Each chip has a RAW value of 128GB
    That is wrong. you will find different types of flash chips on both sides of the ssd:

    16 x 86 GBit = 172 GByte x 4 = 688 GByte
    8 x 86 GBit = 86 GByte x 4 = 344 GByte

    Sum: 1032 GByte

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      Benjamin Hojnik

      So basicly inside the packages there is no need for stacked dies, since there are already so many tranzistors packed on each other.. Is this correct or can 3D nand have multiple dies aswell ?

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    It looks like this drive is the new king – of SATA 3 drives. That and well, it seems to be bottlenecked by SATA 3. I imagine an XP941-like drive with V-NAND would be awesome.

    I’m not sure what to make of it though.
    – PCI-E, M.2, and likely SATA Express drives will probably be faster
    – Among the PCI-E drives, well, the MX100 is offering literally double as much storage for the same price, assuming these MSRPs are to be believed

    Other issues.
    – Then there’s the risk of V-NAND issues if things don’t work out
    – On the upside, if it does, well V-NAND because it’s using a bigger process than the others, ought to have pretty awesome endurance. We are looking at 40 nm V-NAND here.

    Hmm … at 20 nm, the amount of storage available in a few years ought to be like 16Tb? Especially if they get more layers of V-NAND on the chips.

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    Benjamin Hojnik

    Hopefully samsung brings this to mainstream drives aswell. It would be awsome to see a MX100 killer 🙂

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    No supercaps on this model ???

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    You gave a 5 star for performance of the Sandisk Extreme Pro.
    And Samsung 850 Pro is MUCH! FASTER and MUC MORE POWERFUL! than the Sandisk Extreme Pro.
    But you give only 4.5 star for the performance of Samsung 850 Pro.
    I do not trust the Honesty of your reviews any more.

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    Ben Van Deventer

    After updating to Magician 4.4 last night and enabling RAPID, my 840 EVO reads at nearly 8GB/s. Again, not sure if it’s real-world noticeable, but maps seem to load PFQ.

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    My 1TB EVO 840 was only $400, I don’t see paying the $320 or so difference for this drive. It’s not worth the extra money.

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    Nickolai Leschov

    Where did you get the figures of 3W for active and .4W idle power consumption?

    Official site is mum on the specifications so far.

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    What would be of great interest to many is the result of enterprise benchmarks (those used for 845DC Pro) run on 850 Pro that was formatted (overprovisioned) to match 845DC Pro capacity – i.e. to 400GB or 800GB.
    If benchmark results are comparable, it seems possible to save tons of money by using 850 Pro in a more read-oriented server environments (lack of supercaps can be dealt with at the system – not SSD – level).
    Any chance you can run those tests?

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    Aris Karamessinis

    A 850 Pro 512 GB (with Rapid mode) or a M2 XP941 512 GB would be the most performant option for a new X99 build?

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    Why is “The performance of this Crystal DiskMark result is the highest we have ever had, bar none”? Most of the results are lower than the 840 Pro, by almost half in the sequential results:
    850’s results:
    It would be nice if the results were all clear-cut (e.g. drive A is superior to drive B in every rating in every test) instead of the rock-paper-scissors game, but that’s the way it was for my 840 Pro pick to begin with.

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