A few weeks ago, Samsung announced that it had started production on its 32-layer 3D V-NAND flash memory for solid-state drives. Today the company has officially introduced the first product to make use of that new 3D V-NAND, the 850 Pro family of SSDs, designed for workstations and high-end desktop PCs.
The "V" in V-NAND stands for "vertical," as Samsung stacks the data cells vertically to improve density and performance over the horizontal layout of conventional NAND flash. The first generation of V-NAND had 24 layers, but this latest iteration ups the total to 32.
The company claims that the 850 Pro line will offer twice the speed and endurance of conventional SSDs. It comes in four capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Samsung says the 850 Pro drives can provide sequential read speeds of 520MB/s and write speeds of 550MB/s via the SATA III interface, with random read speeds of 100K Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and write speeds of 90K IOPS.
Beyond performance, the 850 Pro drives include 256-bit AES encryption, and Samsung offers a generous 10-year warranty for them. The company claims the SSDs can handle workloads of up to 80GB of data writes per day. They also protect against overheating using Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to automatically adjust drive temperatures to keep data safe.
All of this comes at a cost, however — literally. Newegg has the drives up for pre-order, with prices ranging from $129.99 for the 128GB model to $729.99 for the terabyte edition. That's roughly a $50 premium for the lowest-capacity drive compared to more budget-friendly SSDs, while Samsung's 840 Evo 1TB drive can be had for more than $200 less than its new sibling.
Apparently, you're paying for superior performance, just as Samsung claims. The first reviews from sites like AnandTech, HotHardware, Tom's Hardware, and TweakTown all agree: The 850 Pro is pretty much the fastest SATA III consumer SSD out there.