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Dec 09 2014

Gifts for Geeks, Pt. 1: Samsung SSD 850 EVO

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It's the holiday season again, and just like every year, ICT vendors are churning out new compute devices and electronics that sport a certain geek (or nerd) appeal. Far from being a buyer's guide, our little series introduces a few of the most convenient, innovative and useful gadgets to put under the tree.

The first in line of these novelties is Samsung's latest addition to its solid state drive portfolio, the SSD 850 EVO. Eagerly awaited by storage experts from Anandtech to ZDNet, this new drive serves as the 'consumer edition' of last summer's SSD 850 PRO, which means it builds on the same 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology as the enterprise model. According to Samsung's press release, the SSD 850 EVO is intended to bring "a new caliber of performance and endurance" to home offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia later this month – so maybe not quite in time for Christmas, but still early enough to speed up your PC in 2015.

First reviews show that the new drive generally lives up to the PRO version's promise. Though not as blazingly fast as Samsung would like, they delivered very respectable sequential read and write speeds of 515 and 497 MB/s in Anandtech's AS-SSD benchmark, which uses incompressible data throughout all transfers. 4 KB random read and write speeds are similarly impressive and max out at 90,000 and 80,000 IOPS during tests (officially 98,000 and 90,000 according to Samsung's own key specifications). All told, the SSD 850 EVO series easily outperforms most other consumer SSDs and may even compete with various professional and enterprise models, including some of Intel's older data center drives. The same goes for latency or, as Anandtech calls it, "service time": here, the SSD 850 EVO scored an astonishing 1.067 microseconds – only Samsung's SSD 850 PRO and SanDisk's Extreme Pro did slightly better, reaching 0.93 and 0.96 microseconds respectively, which makes for a negligible difference. Finally, there's the endurance factor. Samsung offers 5 years of limited warranty for all SSD 850 EVO drives. That's pretty much an industry average, even among data center SSDs, although some vendors will offer 10 years for their flagship models. Warranty periods, however, may be less interesting than the estimated lifespan, and this is where the new EVOs also excel, because even under extreme conditions, they may easily last between 10 and 20 years.

The Samsung SSD 850 EVO drives will be available in four sizes of 120, 250 and 500 GB and 1 TB. Pricing starts at $100 (€92) for the smallest edition and ends at $500 (€458) for the terabyte monster. For more information, please see the product page.

 
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