Samsung SSD 860 Pro Review: Fast, Reliable SATA Solid State Storage

The Samsung SSD 860 Pro Review

Bleeding-edge NVMe solid state drives are a hot commodity in the enthusiast space and the premium laptop market, but there are still billions of legacy SATA ports out there just waiting to be attached to fast, reliable solid sold state storage. To that end, Samsung is delivering some band new SATA-based solid state drives today using the company’s latest 64-layer 3D V-NAND flash memory and a new controller – the Samsung SSD 860 PRO and 860 EVO Series drives.

We’ve got a 2TB Samsung SSD 860 Pro in-house and have put it through its paces alongside some other recently-released SATA-based solid state drives. Before we dive into the numbers though, take a look at the specs for these latest drives to see what they have in store. The numbers may not be as sexy as some killer NVMe PCIe-based SSDs, but as you’ll see in the end, the Samsung SSD 860 PRO is still a heck of a performer...
samsung ssd 860 pro box
Samsung SSD 860 PRO and 860 EVO SATA Solid State Drives
Specifications & Features

Samsung’s new SSD 860 PRO drives look just like their predecessors and most other 2.5” solid state drives currently on the market for that matter. They conform to the same 2.5-inch form factor as most other SATA-based drives and feature a basic, metal enclosure with Samsung’s logo emblazoned on the top, and serial number and other identifying information on the bottom. Save for the “860”, these drives look identical to the older 850 PRO. Although we don’t have one here to show you, the SATA 860 EVO will feature a similar form factor, though it will also be offered in M.2 and mSATA flavors as well.

samsung ssd 860 pro top

The SSD 860 PRO features a 7mm Z-Height, with an enclosure secured using a trio of pentalobe screws, that are more obscure than the typical Torx or even Hex screws used on most other drives. Should you have the necessary tools to open one of Samsung’s new drives up, however, you’ll see that the standard 2.5” enclosures are way bigger than they need to be.

samsung ssd 860 pro bottom

Below is the PCB in a 2TB Samsung SSD 860 PRO. As you can see, there are eight pieces of flash memory, 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. The LPDDR4 cache will vary in size depending on the capacity, but will max out at 4GB.

samsung ssd 860 pro pcb 1asamsung ssd 860 pro pcb 2a

All of the Samsung 860 PRO drives are also outfitted with the company’s latest 512Gb or 256Gb 64-layer three-dimensional (3D) Vertical 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.

Samsung is also upping the endurance rating on the SSD 860 PRO series to up to 4,800 TBW on the max-capacity 4TB drive and up to 2,400TB on the 2TB drive we have here. The company is also offering a full 5 year warranty on the drives. That’s good for a consumer-class product, though it’s only half of what was offered with the 850 PRO series.

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