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Samsung 850 Pro 128GB SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 1, 2014 3:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Samsung

Final Thoughts




Even with a controller that is a year old, the Samsung 850 Pro is the most advanced SSD on the market. What is amazing is that the factory where the new V-NAND comes from is also around a year old. Not a yearlong into production but the new factory broke ground around 1 year ago. It's impressive to say the least.


Also impressive is the 850 Pro 128GB's performance. All the way around, not matter how you test it, the 850 Pro 128GB is the fastest SATA consumer SSD in this capacity size. With RAPID Mode enabled, things get even better. The latency is amazing with RAPID Mode enabled, something I can speak for also from the 840 EVO as well.


The 'as well' is where the 850 Pro 128GB starts to run into problems. With RAPID Mode enabled, the 840 EVO and 840 PRO offer the same level of performance when it comes to latency, at least very close to it. Without RAPID, the 128GB 850 Pro is on a special island though, it's the fastest there is and that does matter.




Sadly, the 850 Pro 128GB is also on another island, this one not so pleasant. At roughly $1 per GB our high praise starts to sink into the ocean. We had to wait on the price to come in from Samsung, we didn't have it while testing the 850 Pro products in the lab. Maybe the company wanted us to be blown away by the performance and then drop the price bomb on us. No matter the delivery method, the price is a real concern but to be honest. With a new flash type and moving back to 3xnm lithography, we weren't expecting 50 cents per GB either.


To be fair, there are not any 128GB SSDs at 50 cents per GB. The manufacturing costs of the controller, case, package and accessories are the same for all SSDs in the same series. The flash price is what changes so it's impossible to get to 50 cents per GB in this capacity size. The problem really comes into play when shopping by price because there ARE 256GB class SSDs at 50 cents per GB so that means you can find 256GB drives that actually cost less than the 850 Pro 128GB.


Looking at the 850 Pro objectively as an enthusiast and gamer, things get even cloudier. The 850 Pro 128GB has a very high TBW rating, 150TB endurance. The number on its own is impressive, even higher than some enterprise class SSDs. The thing is you have to use your drive for all 150 TB written for it to matter. What is the true use time for this drive for enthusiasts and gamers?




A more appropriate question is this, how long do you plan to take before buying a SSD based on PCI Express technology? The same market the 850 Pro 128GB resides in is also the same market with a high turnover rate. Samsung already has a faster 128GB m.2 PCIe based SSD for sale, although you need to jump through some hoops to get it ( makes it easy though) and it does demand an even higher price premium. The Samsung XP941 128GB even delivers the same latency in all tests as the 850 PRO 128GB with RAPID Mode enabled. Across the board, it is a faster product. The hoops do slow the PCIe adaption rate and the 850 Pro makes for a much easier upgrade path today.


I saved the largest deterrent for last when it comes to the 850 Pro 128GB. I just don't see enthusiasts, gamers or prosumer users stepping back to a 128GB capacity size SSD at this point. Cheaper 256GB capacity drives like the 840 EVO and SanDisk Extreme II make for better stopgap parts while waiting for PCIe and NVMe based parts that are here now and right around the corner.


That doesn't mean the other capacity size 850 Pro products are in this same category. I just think it's time to move beyond the 128GB capacity size for high performance products and leave this area for the low cost drives going into your mom's surfing computer.



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