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Samsung 860 Evo and Samsung 860 Pro SSD (SATA) Review

Christian Hintze, 👁 J. Simon Leitner, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Karim Allaoui), 01/26/2018

Maxed out. Samsung launches the SSD-860 series for the SATA-3 interface in order to support upgrading users without a fast M.2 connection. What is the difference between the 860 Evo and 860 Pro? How fast are the new models and who should buy one? All this is clarified in our test of the 1 TB storage version.

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Just last December we tested the new and fast Samsung 960 Evo and 960 Pro NVMe SSDs for the M.2 interface. Now the manufacturer has supplied us with test samples for the new SATA 3 860 Evo and 860 Pro models. At least on paper M.2 SSDs with NVMe protocol offer significantly higher data transfers than SATA 3 SSDs with AHCI protocol. However, the M.2 interface is not yet integrated in every PC and although in many notebooks there is already M.2, it is only with the slower SATA instead of NVMe connection.

Unlike the 960 Series, Samsung's new 860 Series feature the old interface, giving all mainstream users without NVMe-M.2 connectivity a fast upgrade option by using the new storage devices to take advantage of the interface. Compared to conventional hard disks, they also offer a huge speed advantage. The difference to the faster NVMe models is usually more measurable than noticeable, unless you transfer large amounts of data every day.

The two test models offer a capacity of 1 TB, but the series also includes sizes from 250 GB to 4 TB. We have the two new models compete against each other. We are also throwing the two predecessor models into the test ring. For the sake of illustration, the Samsung 960 Pro is included in the comparison group to illustrate the differences between the two interfaces.

Specifications 860 Evo
Specifications 860 Evo
Specifications 860 Evo
Specifications 860 Evo
Model Samsung 860 Evo Samsung 860 Pro
Storage capacity in GB 250 / 500 / 1.000 / 2.000 / 4.000 256 / 512 / 1024 / 2048
Prices in Euro 109,99 / 189,99 / 369,99 / 729,99 / 1.559,99 145,90 / 259,90 / 499,90 / 989,90

In terms of storage technology, both 860 models are equipped with 3D-V-NAND. The 860 Evo offers a 3-bit TLC memory, while the Pro version is set to 2-bit MLC. The 2-bit MLC memory potentially increases speed and longevity even further. However, the Evo version is cheaper. Samsung grants a 5-year limited manufacturer's warranty for both models.

In contrast to the predecessor, the continuous power capability is said to have increased by 25% (Pro) and 50% (Evo), respectively. The total write data volumes increase by a factor of up to eight times of the 850 series, up to 2,400 TB TBW (Total Bytes Written) for the Evo and up to 4,800 TB TBW for the Pro. The figures for the maximum gain refer to the models with 4 TB. In the case of the 1 TB variant, the total amount of write data still increases fourfold and the increase for the smaller models declines correspondingly.

Test System

Our test system is led by an Intel Core i5-4570 with four cores and 3.2 GHz clock rate. It has 8 GB of memory and an ASRock H87 mainboard. A GeForce GTX 770 ensures the graphics performance and the operating system is Windows 10 Home 64-bit. The desktop PC Storage drives are connected via SATA 3, but there are also variants for M.2 2280 SATA and mSATA, which of course are also suitable for notebooks equipped with the respective interfaces.

Synthetic Benchmarks

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ATTO vs. AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark

As expected, the new Samsung models deliver good performances, at least for the SATA interface. They can again easily beat the two successful and popular predecessor models. However, the sequential read and write values have not improved significantly. Nevertheless, the general reading score of the respective test software is increasing. This is particularly due to the improved 4K (-64) values.

In addition, access times have also been optimized so that the new Evo can easily pass the old Pro. In this case, the new Pro is even better while the normally better M. 2-SSD 960 Pro comes out worst in terms of access times.

Otherwise, the differences between the two new 860 models are extremely small. Here, too, it becomes clear that the room for improvement is extremely limited. In the 850 series, Evo is still separated by approx. 30% from the Pro. In the 860 series, they are almost equal in terms of overall ranking, with a difference of around 3%.

AS SSD 860 Evo
AS SSD 860 Evo
CrystalDiskMark 860 Evo
CrystalDiskMark 860 Evo
AS SSD 860 Pro
AS SSD 860 Pro
CrystalDiskMark 860 Pro
CrystalDiskMark 860 Pro


Samsung SSD 860 Pro 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Evo 1TBSamsung SSD 850 EVO 1TBSamsung SSD 850 PRO 1TBSamsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB m.2 NVMe
AS SSD
-3%
-32%
-3%
135%
Copy Game MB/s
307.34
301.11
-2%
462
50%
833.33
171%
Copy Program MB/s
240.27
240.2
0%
366
52%
401.75
67%
Copy ISO MB/s
453.38
369.87
-18%
474
5%
1291.95
185%
Score Total
1687
1682
0%
1030
-39%
1186
-30%
4187
148%
Score Write
433
426
-2%
398
-8%
472
9%
1337
209%
Score Read
822
825
0%
413
-50%
465
-43%
1911
132%
Access Time Write *
0.03
0.03
-0%
0.049
-63%
0.032
-7%
0.052
-73%
Access Time Read *
0.037
0.041
-11%
0.06
-62%
0.045
-22%
0.051
-38%
4K-64 Write
274.45
268.49
-2%
277.51
1%
321
17%
1056.91
285%
4K-64 Read
726.82
731.51
1%
331.86
-54%
378
-48%
1605.37
121%
4K Write
108.88
107.41
-1%
73.92
-32%
101
-7%
70.42
-35%
4K Read
42.89
40.83
-5%
29.7
-31%
35
-18%
31.74
-26%
Seq Write
498.58
498.15
0%
465.7
-7%
496
-1%
2092.36
320%
Seq Read
525.31
524.35
0%
510.92
-3%
526
0%
2738.05
421%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
0%
-8%
2%
138%
Write 4k QD32
243.6
267.6
10%
346
42%
351
44%
401.8
65%
Read 4k QD32
299.5
299.9
0%
339.9
13%
391
31%
479.9
60%
Write 4k
124.5
122.8
-1%
91.96
-26%
116
-7%
77.46
-38%
Read 4k
47.79
43.31
-9%
35.37
-26%
38
-20%
31.61
-34%
Write 512
510.8
511.1
0%
393.2
-23%
481
-6%
1728
238%
Read 512
480.4
494.2
3%
413.1
-14%
396
-18%
1261
162%
Write Seq
517.3
517.5
0%
439
-15%
494
-5%
2087
303%
Read Seq
544.7
543.7
0%
485.4
-11%
528
-3%
2452
350%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-2% / -2%
-20% / -21%
-1% / -1%
137% / 136%

* ... smaller is better

With Atto you can see the big differences to the 960 Pro with NVMe. The two 860 models differ only marginally from each other. A difference of about 9% (due to an outlier!) of both 860 models is compared to a lead of more than 274% of the 960 Pro with NVMe protocol.

ATTO Samsung 860 Evo
ATTO Samsung 860 Evo
ATTO Samsung 860 Pro
ATTO Samsung 860 Pro
ATTO Samsung 960 Pro
ATTO Samsung 960 Pro
Samsung SSD 860 Pro 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Evo 1TBSamsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB m.2 NVMe
ATTO Disk Benchmark
-9%
274%
8192KB write
532140
533315
0%
2079890
291%
4096KB write
532874
530242
0%
2090010
292%
2048KB write
531555
532874
0%
2090010
293%
1024KB write
531555
530242
0%
2100230
295%
16KB write
458850
469762
2%
1102410
140%
8192KB read
561841
563151
0%
2960680
427%
4096KB read
561841
563151
0%
3019900
438%
2048KB read
561841
563151
0%
3026480
439%
1024KB read
5631520
563151
-90%
3263860
-42%
16KB read
479651
480847
0%
1257110
162%

The chart shows that even in PCMark 7 storage, there are only minor differences between the new Evo and the Pro. At 6%, the 860 Pro is slightly ahead of the Evo overall, but it cannot really stand out.

The PCMark 8 benchmark reveals even fewer differences. In the test of the system memory, the 860 Pro has to settle for a single-digit point lead compared to the 860 Evo. The differences in the home score are even smaller with just 2 points. In both cases, the difference is less than 1%.

PCMark 7 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Home 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Home 860 Evo
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Home 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Home 860 Pro
Test \ Modell Samsung 860 Evo Samsung 860 Pro Samsung 860 Evo Samsung 860 Pro
PCMark 7

6%

PCMark 8
Secondary Storage

5573

5663 +2%

Storage Score V2

4999

5007 +0%

Raw Sec. Storage

7212

7914 +10%

Home Acc. V2

4508

4510 +0%

Data Compression

The dilemma of the SATA interface becomes evident graphically in data compression. Samsung's new 860 series is pushing the boundaries of the outdated protocol even further. There are almost no differences between the two models or fluctuations within them. This looks like a nice consistency, but in the end, there is no room to move upwards. The Pro's graph actually looks slightly smoother than the Evo's graph, but the minimal measurement differences are practically non-existent. For comparison, below is a picture of the 960 Pro, in which the base value is already significantly higher. The graph also shows more variations and swings.

Samsung 860 Evo
Samsung 860 Evo
Samsung 860 Pro
Samsung 860 Pro
Samsung 960 Pro
Samsung 960 Pro

Verdict

Samsung 860 Pro & 860 Evo, made available by Samsung
Samsung 860 Pro & 860 Evo, made available by Samsung

During the test, the new 860 series achieves very good results within its class and can once again outdo its popular predecessor. In particular, the 4K values and access times were further optimized. This makes Samsung's 860 Evo and 860 Pro models ideal for any notebook or desktop PC with the SATA interface only. With the new storage drives, the long overdue switch from a conventional hard disk or HDD is very smooth. Here, the gain in speed is particularly noticeable and definitely worthwhile.

However, the test results also show that the manufacturers are approaching the performance limits of the SATA interface leading to a decrease in speed gains. Efforts to push the limits even further to the limit are admirable, but major performance leaps as in M.2 SSDs with NVMe connectivity are not expected to happen.

Despite the improvement to its predecessor, the change is hardly worthwhile. The difference to the 850 Evo is still relevant, but the mainstream user will rarely notice it in practice. The SATA models are already obsolete for users who have an M.2 slot with a fast PCIe connection and NVMe protocol. Everyone else, on the other hand, can buy without hesitation. The purchase of the Pro model only makes sense for enthusiasts though, because the differences to the new Evo are insufficient to cover the price difference.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung 860 Evo and Samsung 860 Pro SSD (SATA) Review
Christian Hintze, 2018-01-26 (Update: 2018-05-15)