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Samsung 860 QVO SSD (SATA, 2.5 inch) Review

Christian Hintze, 👁 J. Simon Leitner (translated by Mark Riege), 11/28/2018

The affordable 860 model. Samsung has added a new model for the SATA-3 connection to its 860 series. In addition to the Evo and the Pro, now there is also the 860 QVO, which is significantly more affordable than its siblings (in theory). Our test clarifies where you have to lower your sights for the reduced price.

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This past January, Samsung provided us with test units of the 860 Evo and the 860 Pro. In terms of their performance, those two SSDs already come close to the SATA limits, but were also quite expensive. The 1-TB Evo model cost 369.99 Euros (~$419) and Samsung even asked 499.99 Euros (~$566) for the Pro version.

Now we received a new test sample from the manufacturer, allowing us to test the new Samsung 860 QVO even before its official release. The QVO is also an SSD in the conventional 2.5-inch format with a SATA connection, and our test unit also has a 1-TB capacity. Besides the technical differences to be considered, the customer will particularly notice one thing: at 159.99 Euros (~$181; $149 in the US) for the model with 1 TB, the price is significantly lower than the entry price of the Evo or Pro (see chart). 

However, just before we finished this article, Samsung has sent new price information. Initially, the 1-TB model was supposed to cost 139.99 Euros (~$158), but now it is 159 Euros (~$181). The price increase becomes especially noticeable for the 4-TB model, where 529.99 Euros (~$600) became 619.99 Euros (~$702; $599 in the US)! You can find out in the verdict what this means compared to the street prices of the Evo in light of the current storage price drops.

Model Storage Capacity, Price in Euros (~ US $)
Samsung 860 QVO 1 TB, 159.99 (181), 2 TB, 309.99 (351), 4 TB, 619.99 (702)
Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB, 369.99 (419), 2 TB, 729.99 (826), 4 TB, 1559.99 (1765)
Samsung 860 Pro 1 TB, 499.90 (566), 2 TB, 989.90 (1120)

We test whether the user has to expect any cuts with the more affordable QVO model and if so, which ones. We also compare the SSD with its siblings in the benchmarks and explain any other differences between them. To clarify, we also compare it with the Samsung 960 Pro, which is an M.2 SSD with a significantly faster NVMe connection.

Technical specifications of the 860 QVO
Technical specifications of the 860 QVO

The brand-new Samsung 860 QVO is available with a storage capacity of 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB. By the way, "QVO" stands for "quality and value optimized." While the Evo used 3-bit TLC and the Pro 2-bit MLC storage, the QVO uses the new 4-bit MLC NAND storage. On one hand, this enables relatively large storage capacities (supposedly up to 16 TB in the 2.5-inch form factor) and on the other hand a relatively low price. However, the more complex technology might also result in some performance penalties, but with optimizations, Samsung promises a similar performance as the 860 Evo. Supposedly, the new model hardly has any performance disadvantage compared to the 3-bit TLC technology. The MJX controller is also the same as that in the Evo and the Pro, so the SSD is also suited for Linux.

The performance penalty is supposedly kept at a minimum via the TurboWrite technology. As in other SSDs, a small area of the fast SLC storage is made available to serve as a speedy buffer. However, in the Samsung this area is larger and furthermore configurable. The predefined TurboWrite storage has a capacity of 6 GB, so all the user processes up to that size are particularly fast. In addition, the software analyzes the user behavior automatically and is therefore able to make up to an additional 36 GB available as quasi-SLC storage. However, this only works as long as there are at least 168 GB of storage still available on the SSD. By the way, this is not supposed to negatively impact the longevity.

On the other hand, if you work with very large files, the performance drops considerably. Only 80 MB/s of the technically 520 MB/s write performance are supposed to be available then. 

Under load, the consumption is at about 2.2 watts, while it increases to 3.1 watts in the two larger models (2 & 4 TB). 

CDInfo
CDInfo

For the sake of completeness, as another disadvantage we should also mention the potentially lower life cycle in the form of less read/write cycles. The reason is that the more bits are used per cell, the higher becomes the potential vulnerability for a loss of several bits at a time. This also shows in the warranty, where Samsung is officially offering a limited 3-year warranty. For the Evo and the Pro, this was 5 years. The 3-year warranty is only valid if the allowed maximum rate in terms of write performance has not been exceeded yet. This is up to 360 TB (Evo = 600 TB) for the 1-TB model (QVO 4 TB = 1440 TB; Evo = 2400 TB), measured according to the JESD218 standard (see www.jedec.com).

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Test System

Our test system is driven by an Intel Core i5-4570 with four cores and a 3.2 GHz clock speed. This is supported by 8 GB of working memory, and the motherboard is the H87 from ASRock. A GeForce GTX 770 handles the graphics display, and the operating system is Windows 7 64 bits. The Samsung 860 QVO in the desktop PC is connected via SATA 3.

Synthetic Benchmarks

AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark

The affordable 860 SSD really does not need to hide from its expensive siblings in the tests. At least the write performance is almost identical to the two other 860 models, and the access times are also similar, if not even slightly better. While you have to accept some cuts in the read performance, it also depends on the test here. AS SSD shows some clear advantages of the more expensive models, which turn out 90% better in the read performance. However across all the values, the advantage of the Evo in AS SSD is merely 17%, and the Pro is 20% better.

These values are put more into perspective if you run additional tests. For example, CrystalDiskMark 3 only finds slight differences of about 4% between the SATA-SSD models. On the other hand, the 960 Pro with the fast NVMe connection is way ahead in all the tests, with about 150% separating it from the SATA models.

AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD Copy Test
AS SSD Copy Test
CrystalDiskMark 3
CrystalDiskMark 3
CrystalDiskMark 5
CrystalDiskMark 5


Samsung SSD 860 QVO 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Evo 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Pro 1TBSamsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB m.2 NVMe
AS SSD
17%
20%
179%
Copy Game MB/s
316.67
301.11
-5%
307.34
-3%
833.33
163%
Copy Program MB/s
234.4
240.2
2%
240.27
3%
401.75
71%
Copy ISO MB/s
401.56
369.87
-8%
453.38
13%
1291.95
222%
Score Total
1106
1682
52%
1687
53%
4187
279%
Score Write
444
426
-4%
433
-2%
1337
201%
Score Read
430
825
92%
822
91%
1911
344%
Access Time Write *
0.03
0.03
-0%
0.03
-0%
0.052
-73%
Access Time Read *
0.036
0.041
-14%
0.037
-3%
0.051
-42%
4K-64 Write
285.03
268.49
-6%
274.45
-4%
1056.91
271%
4K-64 Read
342.81
731.51
113%
726.82
112%
1605.37
368%
4K Write
110.16
107.41
-2%
108.88
-1%
70.42
-36%
4K Read
35.32
40.83
16%
42.89
21%
31.74
-10%
Seq Write
491.62
498.15
1%
498.58
1%
2092.36
326%
Seq Read
519.57
524.35
1%
525.31
1%
2738.05
427%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
4%
4%
144%
Write 4k QD32
270.3
267.6
-1%
243.6
-10%
401.8
49%
Read 4k QD32
308.8
299.9
-3%
299.5
-3%
479.9
55%
Write 4k
121.5
122.8
1%
124.5
2%
77.46
-36%
Read 4k
36.86
43.31
17%
47.79
30%
31.61
-14%
Write 512
504.1
511.1
1%
510.8
1%
1728
243%
Read 512
429.1
494.2
15%
480.4
12%
1261
194%
Write Seq
512.9
517.5
1%
517.3
1%
2087
307%
Read Seq
540.6
543.7
1%
544.7
1%
2452
354%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
11% / 12%
12% / 14%
162% / 167%

* ... smaller is better

ATTO

The same goes for the ATTO SSD test. If you disregard the obvious outlier of the 860 Pro, all three SSD models are at the same performance level. The NVMe SSD is again significantly faster with an advantage of more than 300%.

ATTO Samsung 860 QVO
ATTO Samsung 860 QVO
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 QVO 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Evo 1TBSamsung SSD 860 Pro 1TBSamsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB m.2 NVMe
ATTO Disk Benchmark
-0%
90%
324%
8192KB write
533315
533315
0%
532140
0%
2079890
290%
4096KB write
531555
530242
0%
532874
0%
2090010
293%
2048KB write
534199
532874
0%
531555
0%
2090010
291%
1024KB write
534199
530242
-1%
531555
0%
2100230
293%
16KB write
458850
469762
2%
458850
0%
1102410
140%
8192KB read
563151
563151
0%
561841
0%
2960680
426%
4096KB read
563151
563151
0%
561841
0%
3019900
436%
2048KB read
563151
563151
0%
561841
0%
3026480
437%
1024KB read
560538
563151
0%
5631520
905%
3263860
482%
16KB read
500029
480847
-4%
479651
-4%
1257110
151%

PCMark

The PCMark 7 and PCMark 8 appear to be in disagreement about the result difference between the storage media. While the PCMark 8 storage test shows no significant advantage of the more expensive models, PCMark 7 attests the Evo advantage with about 13% better results in the storage test. The 860 Pro is able to move ahead of the QVO by about 20%. The differences in the storage test are smaller (6 - 8% difference) than in the RAW storage test (20 - 30%).

PCMark 7 Storage 860 QVO
PCMark 7 Storage 860 QVO
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 7 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Storage 860 QVO
PCMark 8 Storage 860 QVO
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Evo
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Pro
PCMark 8 Storage 860 Pro
Test \ Model 860 QVO 860 Evo 860 Pro Test \ Model 860 QVO 860 Evo 860 Pro
PCMark 7

13%

20%

PCMark 8

2%

2%

Secondary Storage

5247

5573 +6%

5663 +8%

Storage Score V2

4892

4999 +2%

5007 +2%

Raw Sec. Storage

6023

7212 +20%

7914 +31%

Data Compression

Our impression concerning the dilemma of the SATA connection that we already had during the test of the Evo and Pro is confirmed in the data compression. With the 860 series, Samsung is reaching the absolute limits of the aged protocol, and fortunately this also is no different with the more affordable QVO. There are hardly any differences or larger fluctuations between the models. Only the graph of the 960 Pro with the NVMe connection shows more variations and swings, with the basic value also being significantly higher.

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

Verdict

Samsung 860 QVO, provided by Samsung
Samsung 860 QVO, provided by Samsung

For users who do not have an M.2 slot with an NVMe connection in their computer, the 860 series from Samsung represents a good upgrade option. With all three models, the manufacturer is reaching the SATA limits. The new Samsung 860 QVO loses only a small distance to its sibling models, with the difference remaining between 0 and 20% depending on the benchmark program. The main penalties lie in the warranty period (3 instead of 5 years) and the corresponding maximum life cycle in terms of write cycles.

For price conscious buyers without an M.2 slot (NVMe), the Samsung 860 QVO can be recommended. But only if its price drops further, since the Evo currently costs almost the same in stores. In terms of its speeds, the QVO is only slightly behind the supposedly more expensive models, but its longevity is less good.

Another word on the price: due to the current strong price drop of flash memory, the 860 Evo only costs about 160 Euros (~$181) instead of 339 (~$384)! This makes the Evo and QVO practically cost the same. However, we expect that the QVO will also become more affordable soon. But if the introductory price stays, you should definitely prefer the Evo, since it clearly offers the better price-performance ratio at that price.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung 860 QVO SSD (SATA, 2.5 inch) Review
Christian Hintze, 2018-11-28 (Update: 2018-11-28)