The Samsung 860 Evo has one of the world’s hardest acts to follow: the massively popular Samsung 850 Evo. Since it released in December 2014, the 850 Evo has enjoyed its placed in prominence, thanks to its blistering speeds, tested endurance and impeccable value.
Thankfully, the Samsung 860 Evo has inherited all of these same fine characteristics with even faster speeds and even greater endurance. After thoroughly testing both the 2.5-inch and M.2 SATA versions of the 2TB Samsung 860 Evo, we can confidently say it’s one of the best affordable solid-state drives (SSDs) you can buy today.
Features and price
As with Samsung’s recently revamped 860 Pro SSDs, the 860 Evo series is powered by 64-layer V-NAND technology. (V-NAND stands for vertical NAND, which contains flash cells stacked vertically and 3 dimensionally for greater density and speed) Additionally, the drives utilize a MJX SATA controller paired with 2GB of LPDDR4 DRAM – specific to 2TB models only – for enhanced speed and power efficiency.
Put all together, these specs allow the M.2 SATA version of the Samsung 860 Evo series to achieve sequential read speeds up to 560 megabytes per second (MB/s) and sequential writes up to 520 MB/s. The 2.5-inch drives from the same line differ with a slightly lower 550 MB/s maximum sequential read speed, but you’ll only find 4TB Samsung 860 Evo SSDs in this form factor.
Another facet Samsung has improved about the 860 Evo is greatly enhancing its endurance. Usually this aspect is measured by a unit known as Total Bytes Written, which is mostly meant to give users a sense of how long their drive should last. Whereas Samsung pinned its last generation 850 Evo series with a TBW of 300TB, the 860 Evo is rated for a TBW of 1,200TB – in other words, four times the endurance.
As ever, the Samsung 860 Evo series is designed to be both affordable and deliver a serious amount of solid-state storage. Prices for both the M.2 SATA and 2.5-inch versions start at $94 (£98, AU$139) for 250GB, ramping up to $169 (£169, AU$245) for 500GB, $329 (£329, AU$476) for 1TB, $649 (£629, AU$1,049) for 2TB and $1,399 (£1,399, AU$2,249) for 4TB.
In our testing, we saw small but noticeable improvements in the 860 Evo’s performance over its predecessor. Namely, there are 5-20 MB/s improvements in both sequential read and write speeds. The 2.5-inch version of the Samsung 860 Evo also achieved significantly higher random read and write speeds that are 60-70 MB/s faster.
One strange thing we noticed was the fact that the M.2 SATA version of the Samsung 860 Evo couldn’t achieve its maximum rated speeds in CrystalDisk Mark. The likeliest cause of these strange results are driver issues or incompatibilities with our benchmarking software, which we hope will be fixed in the near future.
Beyond that, ultimately nothing seems to be hampering the performance of the M.2 SATA drive, as it ran away with the fastest single file and file folder transfer by almost a full second in each regard.
Compared to Samsung’s flagship SATA SSD, the 860 Pro still reigns as king with a tick faster sequential read and write speeds on top of 10-20 MB/s quicker random read and write speeds. Both of which ultimately lead to faster – if imperceptibly faster – load times, booting sequences and general file transfers.
When stacked against an Intel SSD 540s Series SSD (2.5-inch), Samsung comes out on top with significantly faster speeds overall, not to mention it costs less. Whereas this 480GB Intel drive is priced at $199 (£199, AU$269), the 500GB Samsung 860 Evo runs for $169 (£169, AU$245).
The Samsung 860 Evo is an undeniably better series of solid-state drives than their predecessors. They achieve noticeably faster speeds and offer quadruple the endurance. While we struggled to see the 860 Pro as a noteworthy upgrade, Samsung has brought its budget SSD line to flagship spec – or at least the highest spec the aging SATA 3 standard will allow.