On paper, the Samsung 850 Pro 512GB should be the most exciting SSD for our normal audience. The 850 Pro drives we've already tested, the 128GB and massive 1TB, were both faster than competing products in their capacity sizes, and offer the longest warranty terms. When it comes to SATA III, we can't imagine a better SSD.
For the 850 Pro launch, we tested the two extremes of the capacity range, the smallest and the largest. The 850 Pro 128GB is a blistering fast small capacity SSD thanks to Samsung's new 3D V-NAND technology. The only problem is most gamers and enthusiasts require more than the capacity offered, 128GB. The massive 1TB 850 Pro is every enthusiast's dream, it just happens to cost $699.99 right now at Newegg, the same price as a decent notebook.
Dreams aside, the two most popular capacity sizes right now are 256GB and 512GB. That's what we're looking at this week. And today, we're kicking things off with the 850 Pro 512GB drive.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Samsung released four capacity sizes for the 850 Pro - 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and the 1TB. The buzz around the 850 Pro product line has centered on the performance, but this series has a lot more to offer users than just that. All four capacity sizes ship with a 10 year warranty that is covered for 150 TBW - even the small 128GB capacity size has the same TBW rating. Samsung won't go on record about how good the new 3xnm V-NAND flash is when it comes to endurance, but we've heard rumors of up to 35,000 PE cycles. To put that into perspective, we know there are some SSDs on the market shipping with 1,500 PE cycle flash and others rumored to have just 1,000 PE cycles. So, in comparison, the 850 Pro is head, elbows, waist, knees and toes above everything else shipping today, hence the long warranty.
The 850 Pro also ships with all of the latest check boxes filled in. On the security side, the drives use AES 256-bit full disk encryption and support both TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE1667 (Microsoft eDrive).
All four capacity sizes show a sequential read speed of 550 MB/s and a 4KB random read at queue depth 1 of 10,000 IOPS. It should be noted that Samsung is the only SSD manufacturer to deliver 10K IOPS at QD1 read. The 128GB model can write sequential data at 470 MB/s, while the three largest capacity sizes are capable of 520 MB/s. As you'll see later in this review, Samsung sandbagged on most of the claimed performance numbers - we managed to post higher performance numbers in nearly every category.
A quick scan at Newegg showed that all four capacity sizes are now available. The 128GB is the only model over $1 per GB. As you work your way up the capacity scale, the price per gigabyte decreases. The 512GB we're testing today still isn't cheap by today's mainstream SSD standards, but I'd say the $399.99 price point isn't out of line for what it offers.
The 850 Pro ships with a 10-year warranty and includes Samsung's Data Migration software for cloning you existing data to the new drive. Samsung's Magician software, now up to version 4.4 at the time of writing, also works with the 850 Pro. We'll take a look at the software later in this review.