Samsung 860 Pro 1TB SSD Test review

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Test of the Samsung 860 Pro, SSD SATA 6 Gbps successor to the Samsung 850 Pro.

New controller and memory Samsung SSD

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PRO: Higher performance with sustained loads between SATA SSDs; very high resistance; constant performance; excellent software package.

AGAINST: High cost.

VERDICT: The Samsung 860 Pro 1TB serves a market that is gradually reducing thanks to the release of several faster NVMe products. But if you are tied to the SATA bus and want the best in each category, the 860 Pro is what you need. It is also the first prosumer SSD suitable for NAS and should work well in RAID. In short, it is a product more for a professional audience than for a common user, who would do better to address the EVO or SSD series of other brands.

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The Samsung 850 Pro is already the fastest SATA SSD on the market for professional loads, so raising the bar with the 860 Pro is not an easy task. How to improve something that is already better? Samsung has given new life to the Pro range with the new MJX controller coupled to the 64-layer NAND flash 3D memory. According to the company this combination allows the 860 Pro to offer greater speed, compatibility, reliability and capacity.

The professional line of SSD SATA of Samsung is undoubtedly fast, but it came out from the sights of the fans almost immediately. Six months after the debut came the EVO range, which immediately entered the consumer thanks to the lower price and better overall performance with daily operations.

The 850 Pro range was so confined in the high-performance market, then supplanted by the much faster output of the PCIe NVMe models. In any case, the 850 Pro have remained unmatched in the world of SATA SSDs to date: only recently have we started to see products that can worry about EVO solutions in mainstream applications. With the 860 Pro range Samsung wants to create a proposal able to close the gap between the new 860 EVO and the entry-level NVMe SSDs. The new SSDs from Samsung may find space especially in pre-assembled desktop PCs.

Many of those systems can run professional software, but often only come with mechanical hard drives. Often we find SSDs of limited capacity for system boot and larger hard drives for storage. Those computers are a natural target for the new Pro series.

In the last year we have seen the total switch of manufacturers to TLC memory with 3 bits per cell. In the second half of 2017 Samsung even showed us a roadmap that did not indicate the existence of MLC memory (2 bits per cell) after 2017. Perhaps it was pure pretense: now that the other producers have removed the memory MLC from their roadmap, Samsung has decided to let the world know that the new SSDs adopt 64-layer MLC memory.

Samsung 860 Pro Technical Specifications
The Samsung 860 Pro and EVO families range from 256 to 4 TB. The 860 Pro series has arrived in the laboratory, but soon we will also try the EVOs. Samsung has improved the Pro range’s specifications slightly, but most progress is achieved at low queue depths – not shown in the table below. The 860 Pro is one of the few SSDs offering up to 11,000 random-read IOPS with QD 1. Samsung has improved that sequential performance at low QD, but the biggest improvements are between QD2 and QD4.

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Samsung indicates a sequential read / write throughput of 560/530 MB / s for all capacities. Random performance is also identical for each capacity, with read / write performance of 100,000 and 90,000 IOPS.

Samsung’s 860 series has an MJX controller that supports low-power DDR4 memory, so the integrated memory controller is new. Samsung did not share the specifications, but we suspect that the company produced the MJX controller with a lower production process that guarantees lower consumption, lower operating temperatures and lower production costs.

Samsung announced fourth-generation V-NAND memory production last year, explaining that the 64-layer NAND is 30% more efficient than the 48-layer NAND. The company has reduced the voltage from 3.3V to 2.5V and the programming time to 500 microseconds. The 860 series now supports hardware encoding with TCG Opal and Microsoft eDrive.

The firmware of the 860 Pro, although still maturing, is stable enough for a review. We measured consumption in idle and activity (peak) lower than previous generations of the product, but the 860 Pro seemed to spend more time completing activities in the background. This increases general consumption. The 860 Pro is coming to stores just this week, so the units could have the RVM01B6Q firware we tested.

In the past, Samsung’s SATA SSD could not execute TRIM commands in the queue in a Linux environment. The company has solved that problem with the new series. The 860 Pro is also the first consumer SSD advertised for use in the NAS environment. We do not expect Samsung to use this novelty to do maketing, or that consumer users see it as a big step forward.

Price, guarantee and resistance of ssd Samsung 860 Pro

We can not talk about the 860 Pro without comparing it to the new 860 EVO. The two product lines compete with one another.

The 860 Pro is expensive. The two most popular capacities are 512 GB and 1 TB. The Pro models are sold at 256 and 490 euros, respectively, but the 860 EVO are sold at 185 (500 GB) and 305 euros (1 TB). For the first time in five years a Samsung SSD is not the most desirable one, but rather the Crucial MX500 which is sold at 128 (512GB) and 260 (1TB) euros.

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