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Samsung 860 QVO SSD Review - RIP Consumer HDDs

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Nov 27, 2018 3:00 pm

Final Thoughts

 

Samsung envisions the 860 QVO as an SSD to unite storage in systems currently running two separate storage devices, a high-speed SSD and a moderate to large capacity HDD. For most of our readers, I don't see this series as a unification product. For enthusiasts that have already adopted a two-drive solution, the 860 QVO is a way to replace the hard disk drive while retaining the higher tier primary storage used to boot the system and hold a few key applications.

 

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That doesn't mean Samsung has the wrong vision; it's just the difference between the power users that read reviews in higher frequency (and upgrade more often) and those coming from a search engine for a three-year upgrade.

 

The 860 QVO performs well with sequential data, the type of content you keep on a second drive. This series with the current firmware isn't a particularly good drive for applications compared to Samsung's previous offerings. This is the company that introduced us to 10,000 random read IOPS at queue depth 1 after all. That high mark achieved in the 840 EVO, circa 2013. Samsung has lost its random read advantage. That came first in SATA with the Crucial MX500 and later in the Silicon Motion SM2262 NVMe SSDs that also use Micron 64-layer TLC. The QVO doesn't close the gap, it increases it.

 

 

The situation wouldn't be as bad if Samsung's pricing reflected this reality. On day 1, the 1TB 860 QVO costs more than the superior 860 EVO in two of the three initial capacities for this series. We're not sure why, but with 24 hours to go before the release of the QVO series, Samsung changed the pricing. Most of this review was written under the assumption that the QVO would cost at minimum $10 less than the current 860 EVO selling price for the 1TB model.

 

This brings us back full circle with the start of this page. The 860 QVO, for our readers, is a product for secondary storage, where sequential data performance is more important than random data performance. Secondary drives need to meet two requirements. The first is capacity and the QVO series has that. The second is very aggressive pricing and this is where this series falls short in all but the 4TB model and that is only in relation to the current cost of a 4TB 860 EVO that only a few would consider to start with. In time Samsung's 860 QVO series will be an important series for many users.

 

Samsung will figure out pricing, or the resellers will figure it out for them by not stocking it due to low sales (remember the 750 EVO?). Samsung has struggled to have a third performance tier in years past, but with QLC it's different. This isn't the same flash, or just the remains of an obsolete technology. The company has a significant investment in QLC and wants to grow it to the point where it overtakes TLC as the dominant memory on the market. QVO needs to sell for less than the EVO SATA series and for enthusiasts that have already adapted high-speed NVMe technology, the companies need to see this as a secondary storage product rather than an entry point to flash-based storage for late adapters that haven't even ponied up $35 for a 256GB SSD that would hold all their data.

 

There is one more aspect of this QVO series that we haven't addressed yet and it also revolves around mass storage. Samsung's documentation talks about full compatibility with Linux, the operating system commonly found on NAS. This series supported queued TRIM. The launch day prices are not aggressive enough to start thinking about filling a four to eight-bay NAS with 4TB drives, but we are getting closer. Using flash eliminates buffering issues for 4K HDR Atmos streams over the network (high-resolution video from a NAS to a player like an NVIDIA Shield TV). Media junkies have quickly found that hard disk drives are not fast enough without a powerful processor in the NAS to keep the data flowing smooth. The QVO, with better pricing, would fill this role.

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