Samsung SSD 860 EVO M.2 SATA Review: Fast, Affordable Solid State Storage

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The Samsung SSD 860 EVO Review

Samsung recently launched its latest SATA-based solid state drives, the SSD 860 Pro and SSD 860 EVO, featuring 2-bit (MLC) or 3-bit (TLC) versions of the company’s 64-layer 3D V-NAND flash memory. We’ve put up a review of a 2.5” Samsung SSD 860 Pro 2TB drive a couple of weeks back, but have something a bit different in store for you today. On tap here is an evaluation of a 2TB Samsung SSD 860 EVO, but of the M.2 variety. This drive is still packing a SATA interface, but is designed for the sleeker, more modern M.2 2280 form factor.

In the current PC landscape, which is chock full of relatively affordable NVMe-based M.2 solid state drives, a SATA-based M.2 offering may seem kind of quizzical. The SSD 860 EVO has a couple of things going for it though, especially its pricing. Take a look at its main feature and specifications alongside its big brother below, then step through the pages ahead to see how the drive performs…
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Samsung SSD 860 PRO and 860 EVO SATA Solid State Drives
Specifications & Features

Although we are showing you the M.2 flavor of the Samsung SSD 860 EVO here, the drives are actually offered in the more common 2.5” and mSATA form factors as well. In terms of their features and performance, however, all of the drives will perform similarly – it’s only their form factors and available capacities that are different.
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What you see here is a 2TB Samsung SSD 860 EVO. There are only a couple of pieces of flash memory on board, along with some DDR4 DRAM cache and a controller. The Samsung MJX controller used here is new and reportedly improves host communication performance and improves compatibility with Linux, though it is the same controller found on the Pro model. The LPDDR4 cache will vary in size depending on the capacity, but will max out at 4GB. The 2TB drive shown here has 2GB of DRAM cache.
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All of the Samsung 860 EVO drives are also outfitted with the company’s latest 64-layer three-dimensional (3D) Vertical TLC NAND (V-NAND) flash memory. This NAND utilizes Samsung's proprietary vertical cell structure based on 3D Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology and also uses vertical interconnect process technology to link the 3D cell array. By employing both of these technologies, Samsung's 3D V-NAND is able to provide better scaling than planar NAND flash, at least according to Samsung’s data. This latest V-NAND, in conjunction with the new controller and firmware tweaks also allowed Samsung to increase the endurance ratings on these drives, versus the previous-gen 850 EVO.
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Samsung is upping the endurance rating on the SSD 860 EVO series to up to 2,400 TBW on the max-capacity 4TB drive and up to 1,200TB on the 2TB drive we have here. The company is also offering a full 5 year warranty on the drives. Those aren’t other-worldly endurance ratings, but they are quite good for an affordably priced SSD such as this.

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