Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review

Not that long ago, Samsung acquired a software company
‘NVELO’ who specialise in SSD caching software. At the time, I and many others
were rather puzzled why Samsung made this acquisition. Well, now it becomes
clear.

For the purpose of this review, Samsung provided reviewers
with a beta version of Magician (version 4.4) which supports the Samsung 850
Pro range of SSD’s. As well as support for the 850 Pro, the beta version also
brings an update to the Rapid mode driver, with new caching algorithms, and
will support up to 4GB of cache where the PC has 16GB or more of system memory.

Basically what ‘Rapid’ does is use system RAM as a cache,
where regularly used applications and data are stored in Rapid’s cache. Since
system RAM is very much faster than NAND, a huge boost in performance can be
gained. This is especially true for small random files at low queue depths.

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Rapid mode uses a filter driver which monitors the file
systems I/O activity, and will intelligently cache the data that the user
accesses most frequently. Up to 25% or a maximum of 1GB of system RAM will be
used for "Rapid’s" cache.

I decided to run some tests, comparing ‘Rapid’ mode with
normal mode, and will present the results below by simply showing screenshots
of the two modes. In each test I will first show the result of ‘Rapid’ mode,
then follow that with the result obtained in normal mode.

AS SSD

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

As we can see, reading and writing speeds have risen by a
huge margin.

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Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

Incompressible data is difficult to cache on the writing
side, as it’s totally random in nature. Reading data is a different matter, and
reading speeds have risen by a huge margin. Sequential writing speeds have more
or less stayed the same, however, 4K random writing speeds have seen an nice
improvement.

IOMeter 4K random write (QD1)

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

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In this test the zero fill data is easy to cache, and we can
see a massive boost in performance, with 4K random writes up from 152.09 MB/s
to 789.16 MB/s.

IOMeter 4K random read (QD1)

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

Once again we see a massive boost in performance, up from
41.31 MB/s to an incredible 981.66 MB/s.

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IOMeter sequential write (QD1)

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

Low queue depth sequential writes receive a huge boost in
performance, up from 507.60 MB/s to 6292.56 MB/s. Once again we are dealing
with zero fill data which is very easy to cache.

IOMeter sequential read (QD1)

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

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Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

Once again we see a massive increase in performance.

PC Mark 8

To see what would happen with a real world scenario, I also
ran PC Mark 8 HDD suite in Rapid mode.

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Rapid mode

Samsung 850 PRO 1TB SSD Review
Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD – Normal mode

The ‘storage bandwidth’ score has risen substantially in
‘Rapid mode’.

Summary

As we have seen from these tests, there is a large boost in
performance to be had from running in ‘Rapid mode’, at least with synthetic
benchmarks. So how will this translate into the real world?

Time did not allow for an extensive study into real world
performance with ‘Rapid mode’ enabled. For the short time I did have Rapid mode
enabled on the Samsung 850 Pro SSD, there was the feeling of the system being
more responsive, but this is difficult to quantify. The PC Mark 8 score did
rise, which is a good indication that you will see an improvement in
performance from running in Rapid mode.

So what is the downside of using Rapid mode?

I would say that before you even contemplate using ‘Rapid
mode’, you should ensure that your system is 100% stable. As you’re going to
have your data in a RAM cache for a time before it’s permanently committed to
NAND, a system crash, or for that matter a power outage, could result in data
loss.

Having said that, I didn’t encounter any problems with Rapid
mode during the testing period.

 

Now let’s head to the next page, and see how well the
drive performs after heavy use….

 

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