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Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD Review

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD Review

Samsungs successor to the world's bestselling SSD. The 860 EVO takes 3-bit flash over the SATA interface to new heights while keeping costs low.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Mon, Feb 26 2018 8:00 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications, Pricing & Availability

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With competitors inching closer to matching the aging 850 EVO's performance, Samsung is countering with a successor to the world's bestselling SSD. Samsung's new 860 EVO is designed to keep the TLC SATA performance crown firmly in Samsung's camp. The 860 EVO comes armed with Samsung's fourth generation V-NAND technology and a new Samsung ARM-based MJX controller. Samsung's MJX controller offers many improvements over previous models including expanded system compatibility, a refined ECC algorithm and improved queued TRIM for Linux systems.

The technologies incorporated into the 860 EVO assure long-term dependable performance with minimal performance degradation. The 860 EVO provides up to a whopping 51% better-sustained performance compare to that of its predecessor. Additionally, the 860 EVO is rated for up to 6x better endurance than the 850 EVO. The 860 EVO's potent combination of Samsung's MJX controller and the newest V-NAND architecture delivers sequential read/write speeds of up to 550/520 MB/s and random read/write performance of up to 98K/90K IOPS

Samsung has also revamped their TurboWrite technology. Samsung's new Intelligent TurboWrite technology is dynamic in nature. Intelligent TurboWrite automatically determines how much space to allocate to the EVO's TurboWrite cache region based on the workload demand. Compared to the 850 EVO, the 860 EVO can allocate up to 6X the capacity for TurboWrite during the most demanding write-intensive workloads.

On the security front, the 860 EVO does not disappoint. The 860 EVO is equipped with an AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption engine ensuring absolute security for your data at all times. Samsung's SED (Self Encrypting Drive) technology is hardware-based, ensuring full protection without suffering performance degradation that is common with software-based encryption. Additionally, the 860 EVO is fully compliant with TCG Opal and Encrypted Drive-IEEE1667 advanced security management solutions.

Samsung's 860 EVO Series comes with Samsung Data Migration and Samsung Magician software via download. Both are free for 860 EVO users. Samsung Data Migration software allows you to easily migrate your OS and all data contained on your old system disk to your new 860 EVO with a couple of clicks.

Samsung Magician software is SSD toolbox software that makes monitoring and maintaining your Samsung SSD a simple task. With Magician, you can automatically update firmware, check your SSDs health status, overprovision the drive, optimize the OS for SSD use, check performance, secure erase and encrypt your Samsung SSD. Want even more speed from your 860 EVO? With Magician you can enable Samsung's RAPID DRAM assisted SSD caching technology if you are running in AHCI mode.

The successor to the world's bestselling SSD has a lot to offer, let's see how it does on the test bench.

Factory Specifications

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The 1TB model we have in the lab sports the following specifications:

  • Sequential Read: up to 550 MB/s
  • Sequential Write: up to 520 MB/s
  • Max 4K QD32 Random Read: up to 98,000 IOPS
  • Max 4K QD32 Random Write: up to 90,000 IOPS
  • 4K QD1 Read: up to 10,000 IOPS
  • 4K QD1 Write: up to 42,000 IOPS
  • Endurance: 600 TBW
  • MTTF: 1.5 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • Avg. Active Power: 3W
  • DEVSLP 2.6 mW
  • ECC
  • SMART
  • TRIM
  • Garbage Collection
  • Software: Samsung Magician, Samsung Migration Software

Availability: Currently selling at retail outlets.

MSRP: 1TB $329.99

Samsung's 860 EVO is available in capacities ranging from 250GB - 4TB

Drive Details

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD

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The 860 EVO is packaged in an attractive black and orange themed box. There is an image of the enclosed drive on the front. The drives capacity, V-NAND and SATA interface are advertised here.

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The rear of the packaging advertises the drive's 5-year limited warranty.

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Included with the drive is a printed installation guide.

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The top and sides of the enclosure is made cast aluminum.

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The bottom of the enclosure is formed from sheet aluminum. There is a manufacturers' label that lists the particulars of the SSD.

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The enclosure is held together with three pentalobe screws, two of which are located under the label on the back of the enclosure. The small PCB is held in position by two locator pins.

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This side of the PCB houses a Samsung MJX controller, a 1GB DDR4 DRAM cache package and one of two 512GB V-NAND packages.

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This side of the PCB houses one of two 512GB V-NAND packages.

Test System Setup and Properties

Jon's Consumer SSD Review Test System Specifications

We would like to thank ASRock, Crucial, Intel, Corsair, RamCity, IN WIN, and Seasonic for making our test system possible.

Drive Properties

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD OS Disk 75% Full

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The majority of our testing is performed with our test drive as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing your SSDs for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results. We are utilizing Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS for all our testing. Empty Windows 10 benchmark screenshots are shown on our MOP (Maxed-Out Performance) page.

System settings: Cstates and Speed Stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High-Performance power plan is enabled. Windows write caching is enabled, and Windows buffer flushing is disabled.

Please note: When comparing our results to those of other review sites, look at page 10 Maxed Out Performance-Windows 10 which is done with the disk empty.

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil's

ATTO

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.05

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products. With ATTO, we are looking at maximum sequential performance with compressible data as well as the performance curve.

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Compressible sequential read/write transfers max out at 564/535 MB/s. Both figures exceed factory specs. Keep in mind this is our OS volume, and it is filled to 75% of its total capacity.

Sequential Write

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The 860 EVO gives us what we are looking for. A nice smooth performance curve that ramps up quickly. The 860 EVO's performance curve is identical, if not slightly better, than the 860 Pro. Here we can see the 860 EVO delivering better performance than the 850 EVO.

Sequential Read

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We are looking for a nice smooth performance curve and good small-file performance. The 860 EVO gives us both. The 860 EVO performs slightly better than the 850 EVO it is replacing.

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark designed to measure the storage performance of SSDs. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K QD16. With Anvil's, we are focused on the total score.

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We consider 10K IOPS at QD1 random read a milestone that very few SSDs are capable of delivering. Only the best can do it. The 860 EVO is delivering to us 12K 4K random read IOPS at QD1. It is important to keep in mind that Intelligent TurboWrite SLC technology is boosting performance here.

Scoring

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Anvil's scoring typically provides us with a good indication of a drive's overall synthetic performance. Whenever we get a score of over 5,000 we take notice. The 860 EVO sets a new lab scoring record for TLC SATA SSDs by delivering a massive total score of 5,852.

(Anvil) Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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With a partition on the drive and 75% full, we are not quite able to hit factory max random read specs. Close enough though.

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Intel's 545s leads the field at QD1-QD2. At QD4 and higher, the 860 EVO trades blows with the 860 Pro for supremacy. Compared with the 850 EVO, the 860 EVO shows massive improvement.

(Anvil) Write IOPS through Queue Scale

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With a partition on the drive and 75% full, we are not quite able to hit factory max random write specs. Close enough though.

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The 860 EVO delivers the best performance curve for a SATA SSD that we've seen to date. It's better than we are getting from the 860 Pro. Again, huge improvement over the 850 EVO.

Synthetic Benchmarks - CDM & AS SSD

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

CrystalDiskMark is disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy. Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at QD4. With this version of CDM, we are focused on 4K random performance at QD1 and QD4.

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Focusing in on 4K QD1 and 4K QD4, we see the 860 EVO offers a nice improvement over the 850 EVO. The performance delivered at QD4 by Samsung's 860 Series is as good or better than many NVMe SSDs on the market today.

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The 860 EVO just slightly trails the 860 Pro across the board. The Samsung offerings are in a class of their own at low queue depths.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.8.5611.39791

AS SSD determines the performance of SSDs. The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. We focus on total score when evaluating AS SSD results.

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AS SSD is a demanding test. With AS SSD we are looking for a minimum score of 1000. The 860 EVO delivers to us the second-best point total for a SATA SSD, surpassed only by the 860 Pro. Keep in mind that with the limited bandwidth of the SATA III interface, a few points are a big deal because most SSDs are bottlenecked by the limitations of the interface. Here again, the 860 EVO outperforms the 850 EVO.

Benchmarks (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & More

Consumer Workloads

We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.

We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines. Steady-state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

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There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.

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The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance. We are looking for a minimum score of 50K when the drive is in a steady state.

With this testing, the 2TB 850 EVO's capacity advantage results in slightly better performance than we are getting from the 1TB 860 EVO. We don't have a 1TB 850 EVO in the lab for comparison, so we had to use the 2TB model which is slightly faster than the 1TB model. Samsung's 860 Pro and OCZ's VX500 both deliver better steady-state performance, which comes as no surprise considering both have MLC-flash arrays.

PCMark 7 - System Storage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0

We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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Whenever a SATA SSD scores 7K or above with PCMark 7 it is in an elite class. Capacity wins out again for the 2TB 850 EVO. The 860 EVO takes third place, but it's way out in front of the non-Samsung contenders.

PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304

We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices. We focus on the total score first and then storage bandwidth when evaluating PCMark 8 results.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's overall performance.

Samsung SSDs are still the only SATA SSDs to crack 300 MB/s storage bandwidth. They are really in a class of their own when running moderate workloads. This time the 860 EVO gets the better of the 850 EVO when running moderate workloads, and this is despite a significant capacity disadvantage. This is another lab record for a 1TB class TLC SSD.

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0.70

SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application-based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.

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Our systems are much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test systems. We will be running this test going forward and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.

We haven't tested a lot of SATA SSDs with SYSmark, but we are comfortable in saying that the 860 EVO likely delivers the best overall system performance of any SATA SSD with a TLC flash array. The 860 EVO sets another lab record for a TLC SATA SSD by scoring 1600 with the responsiveness test.

Note: we are replacing our PCMark 8 Extended testing with SYSmark because we believe SYSmark is much more relevant for consumer SSD testing.

Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfers

Iometer - Maximum IOPS

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure high queue depth performance. (No Partition)

Max IOPS Read

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Max IOPS Write

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The numbers we are getting here match exactly what we saw from our Anvil's IOPS testing. This indicates that the 860 EVO does not slow down at all when data is on the drive, which is a notable accomplishment for any TLC SSD.

Iometer - Disk Response

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure disk response times. Disk response times are measured at an industry accepted standard of 4K QD1 for both write and read. Each test runs twice for 30 seconds consecutively, with a 5-second ramp-up before each test. We partition the drive/array as a secondary device for this testing.

Avg. Write Response

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Avg. Read Response

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This testing bypasses any SLC buffer that may be on the drive which is why 860 EVO isn't delivering the goods like it does when reading data that is residing on its Intelligent TurboWrite layer.

DiskBench - Directory Copy

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

We use DiskBench to time a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) composed primarily of incompressible sequential and random data as it's transferred from our DC P3700 PCIe NVME SSD to our test drive. We then read from a 6GB zip file that's part of our 28.6GB data block to determine the test drive's read transfer rate. Our system is restarted prior to the read test to clear any cached data, ensuring an accurate test result.

Write Transfer Rate

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Read Transfer Rate

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When testing write transfer rates we have a rule of thumb. If any SSD cannot achieve 200MB/s with our write transfer test, that SSD will not receive a TweakTown recommendation. There are many TLC SSDs that do not pass our minimum, but we didn't include those on our chart.

Additionally, we recently updated to Windows 10 Anniversary Edition and with that update, sustained write performance greatly increased. This means our previous transfer tests cannot be compared with those run on the newer version on Windows 10. This is the reason we have drive's that differ from the rest of the review on this chart.

The 860 EVO ties with the 860 Pro for the best-read transfer rate for any SATA SSD we've tested to date. The drives on our chart that are powered by Micron and SanDisk 3D flash deliver better write transfer rates than the 860 EVO.

Benchmarks - 70/30 Mixed Workload

70/30 Mixed Workload Test (Sledgehammer)

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

This test hammers a drive so hard we've dubbed it "Sledgehammer". Our 70/30 Mixed Workload test is designed to simulate a heavy-duty enthusiast/workstation steady-state environment. We feel that a mix of 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfers best represents this type of user environment. Our test allows us to see the drive enter into and reach a steady state as the test progresses.

Phase one of the test preconditions the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes at QD32. Phase two of the test runs a 70% read/30% write at QD32, full random 4K transfer workload on the drive for 1 hour. We log and chart (phase two) IOPS data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

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What we like about this test is that it reflects reality. Everything lines up, as it should. Consumer drives don't outperform Enterprise-Class SSDs that were designed for enterprise workloads. Consumer drives based on old technology are not outperforming modern Performance-Class SSDs, etc.

The 860 EVO doesn't win this test, it gets beaten by several others in our test-pool, but it does deliver the tightest, most consistent pattern we've ever seen from any consumer TLC SATA SSD. The 860 EVO is also trending upward, which is what we want to see.

Sustained Sequential Write

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

We write to the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes at QD32. We log and chart megabytes per second data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

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Again, we are seeing consistency that no other brand of TLC SSD can deliver. We would expect nothing less from such a finely engineered SSD as the 860 EVO.

Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)

Maxed-Out Performance

This testing is just to see what the drive is capable of in an FOB (Fresh Out of Box) state under optimal conditions. We are utilizing empty volumes of Windows 10 64-bit and Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit for this testing.

Windows 10 MOP

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD

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Windows Server 2008 R2 MOP MOP

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD

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This score is notable, because it's the first time any SATA SSD has achieved a score of 6,000.

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Final Thoughts

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The 860 EVO carries on the long-standing tradition of "for a few bucks more you can get an EVO". Samsung's 860 EVO is a worthy successor to their 850 EVO. It outperforms its predecessor and at the same time delivers better consistency.

This is one hell of an accomplishment over the bandwidth limited SATA interface. Like we stated in our 860 Pro review, we didn't think we would see another SATA-based EVO coming from Samsung, but we are glad to be wrong in this case. Samsung remains fully committed to pushing the boundaries of the SATA interface. The 860 Series represents Samsung's commitment to advancing and delivering the very best in the legacy space.

Samsung's fourth generation V-NAND, MJX controller and refined ECC algorithms give the 860 EVO, something that the 850 EVO was lacking - class-leading endurance. That's not to say that the 850 EVO didn't already have class-leading real-world endurance, because it did, (as proven through independent endurance testing) just not on paper. But, now with the 860 EVO, class-leading endurance is backed up with a factory warranty that covers the 860 EVO for up to 6x the endurance of the 850 EVO.

Like they did with previous EVO series, Samsung gives you the full nine-yards when you buy an 860 EVO. You get easy to use Samsung Migration software for cloning, you get the industries best SSD Tool-Box software, and you also get Samsung's award winning RAPID caching technology. We didn't cover RAPID in this review, but it can deliver a massive performance increase in certain scenarios, and additionally reduce write amplification significantly.

Looking back at our testing results, one thing becomes crystal clear - the 860 EVO is the second best performing SATA SSD on the market. The only better performing SATA SSD is Samsung's own 860 Pro. The 860 EVO easily outperforms competing SATA SSDs including more expensive MLC powered competitors.

Our sustain sequential write test showed that the 1TB 860 EVO doesn't suffer from low sustained write performance like we commonly see from TLC SSD. Our PCMark 8 testing showed that the 1TB 860 EVO is overall the best performing TLC SSD on the market when running moderate workloads.

Class-leading performance at a reasonable price is always TweakTown recommended.

Pros:

  • Overall Performance
  • Endurance
  • Random Write Performance

Cons:

  • Non-SLC Read Response
TweakTown award
Performance97%
Quality98%
Features98%
Value96%
Overall97%

The Bottom Line: Samsung delivers the goods in spectacular fashion with the 860 EVO. This SSD needs to be on your short list.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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