The Samsung 850 EVO SSD: Fast, furious, and in fabulous 3D

The Samsung 850 EVO Series SSDs are out and they're fast, furious, and in fabulous 3D. Check out Samsung's newest SSDs by the numbers on Linux and on Windows.

samsung-ssd-850-evo-7977-005.jpg
Josh Miller/CNET

The new Samsung 850 EVO SSDs (850s) are out and they're an impressive lot. Their speed, their 2.5-inch drop-in replacement size, their SATA interface, and their new prices makes them very hard to beat in the SSD market. The 850 is a slim and lightweight replacement for your old SATA, but the two are worlds apart in speed and durability. The 850 series features Samsung's new 3D V-NAND, which is a stacked NAND solution that delivers high performance at a low price.

But you don't have to take my written word for it, because you can see the 850 EVO 120GB SSD in action on Linux (Ubuntu 14.04-1) and a full Windows 7 Professional SP1 installation from start to finish.

SSD Size
(GB)
Model Number Price
120 MZ-75E120B/AM $99.99
250 MZ-75E250B/AM $149.99
500 MZ-75E500B/AM $269.99
1000 MZ-75E1T0B/AM $499.99

It's not all flash (pun?) and fancy with the 850 EVO series drives; they have attributes unrelated to speed going for them. For example, this new series is up to 50 percent more power efficient than the previous generation (840 EVO) disks were. And they're more reliable too--up to 30 percent longer life. In fact, Samsung has increased the 3-year warranty to a 5-year warranty for this new series.

The 850 EVO power savings comes from the 3D V-NAND technology in that it consumes half the power of planar (non-stacked) NAND. See the graphic comparison for the 840 EVO, 840 Pro, 850 Pro, and 850 EVO series drives.

On Windows, I ran CrystalDiskMark 3.03 for speed benchmarks.

120GB 850 EVO Benchmark

1TB 850 EVO Benchmark

In Linux, I used hdparm and dd to collect benchmark numbers. The hdparm command can be used to look at SATA/IDE device parameters. Specifically, the hdparm command is used here to gather data on sustained sequential data reads.

khess@Samsung120:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 8458 MB in 2.00 seconds = 4230.27 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1560 MB in 3.00 seconds = 519.70 MB/sec

khess@Samsung120:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 8222 MB in 2.00 seconds = 4111.59 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1558 MB in 3.00 seconds = 518.85 MB/sec

khess@Samsung120:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 8440 MB in 2.00 seconds = 4221.62 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1560 MB in 3.00 seconds = 519.42 MB/sec

khess@Samsung120:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 8350 MB in 2.00 seconds = 4176.03 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1558 MB in 3.00 seconds = 519.30 MB/sec

khess@Samsung120:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 8216 MB in 2.00 seconds = 4108.84 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1560 MB in 3.00 seconds = 519.64 MB/sec

As you can see from these test results, the disk's performance is very consistent at an average disk read performance of 519.38 MB/s. This number corresponds well with Samsung's own benchmark numbers.

The Linux dd command can be used to gather disk I/O data by performing data copying and data reading functions. I've seen several different commands for measuring disk I/O with dd, but the following commands are what I used to capture read and write data from the 120GB 850 EVO drive:

Read:

$ dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 0.17062 s, 6.3 GB/s

$ dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 0.166839 s, 6.4 GB/s

$ dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 0.167812 s, 6.4 GB/s

The reason these numbers are so high is that I didn't clear the buffer cache prior to running the command. I had previously done it, but not for these runs. When I cleared the buffer cache prior to running this read test, I received a result in the low 500 MB/s range.

Write:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync, notrunc

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 2.12659 s, 505 MB/s

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync, notrunc

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 2.10064 s, 511MB/s

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync, notrunc

1024+0 records in

1024+0 records out

1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 2.10146 s, 511MB/s

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The write tests are very consistent from test to test. I ran several of them throughout the day with similar findings each time. These results are typical for all tests.

From my tests with CrystalDiskMark , with hdparm, and with dd, I can write with confidence that Samsung's new 850 EVO Series drives with 3D V-NAND are fast. They're not enterprise server fast, but for a notebook, they're impressive. And with Samsung's five-year warranty, lower power consumption, and higher endurance, you'll be pleased.

When you're in the 500 MB/s read and write range, you're looking at near instantaneous response for a system regardless of age. My test system is at least three years old and it responds like a freshly minted one. Once you've maxed out your system's RAM, you're only hope for more speed is an SSD. The 2.5-inch format and SATA interface make these drives irresistible for an easy upgrade.

The prices are also lower for these new drives. At this time, I can honestly say that SSDs are affordable and are viable replacements for standard SATA disks. So, if you've waited for a price break in the SSD market, these disks make a great case for drop-in replacements for your old spinners.

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