There isn't a clear winner today because both the Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO are great SSDs. That doesn't mean you can't leverage one drives strengths over the other to choose a product best suited for your specific needs.
The $92.99 500GB MX500 has the highest random read performance of any SATA SSD we've ever tested. With your operating system loaded on the drive, your system feels brisk. Even coming from a four or five-year-old SSD, the MX500 gives you that first SSD performance all over again. The drive can get sluggish during and for a few minutes after you write a lot of data to the drive. This isn't a drive you want to run with most of the capacity full because the dynamic SLC buffer shrinks as you load the flash cells.
Crucial did a good job with the endurance of this series, but it's not the best available. If you write a lot of data to your SSD this is not your best option. In this capacity, you get 180 terabytes of data writes under warranty. It is a tremendous amount of data, but some of us do not have any issues downloading 180TB in just a couple of years.
The Samsung 860 EVO is not the company's workstation model, but it shares the same 5-core controller with the 860 Pro. The extra cores allow the EVO to deliver superior performance under intense workloads. The secret is dedicating cores to background activities and predictive algorithms. Under normal consumer workloads, the 860 EVO is nearly as fast as the MX500. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference in a back-to-back sitting, but there is a small difference with two systems sitting beside each other.
Samsung gets the nod for endurance. The 500GB 860 EVO gives users 300 terabytes of data writes under warranty. The series leads the industry in every capacity after you overlook the 860 Pro that doubles the endurance of the EVO series.
Both drives are amazing and represent the pinnacle of SATA SSD development. They may be the last of the breed. Pressure to make SSDs cheaper, emergence of QLC, and the performance ceiling of SATA III will all weigh heavily on next-generation products. Moving forward the high-performance products will move to NVMe and SATA will move to cold storage for enthusiasts. M.2 SATA SSDs are simply a transition product between the two eras.
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