A closer look at the Samsung 850 Pro hardware.
PCB top side
The top side of the PCB contains the Samsung MEX SSD
controller, four Samsung 3D V-NAND chip packages, a cache chip, and a few
The underside of the PCB hosts another four 3D V-NAND chip
packages, and a few more support components.
The SSD controller
The SSD controller is labelled as S4LN045X01-8030, or better
known as the Samsung MEX. The MEX boasts 3 cores, and is clocked at around 400MHz.
The NAND is Samsung’s own 3D V-NAND MLC, and for more
details see the top of the first page of this article. There are 8 NAND chip
packages onboard the 1TB version of the Samsung 850 Pro, meaning each chip can
store 128GB of data.
Samsung uses its own LPDDR2 cache chip package. With 256MB
on the 128GB version, 512MB on the 256GB and 512GB versions, and 1GB of cache
on the 1TB version.
DATA encryption and protection
The Samsung 850 Pro series is a self encryption based
solution, which is compliant with TCG-OPAL 2.0.
Drive maintenance features
For Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, and some distributions of
Linux, the Samsung 850 Pro series SSD supports ATA TRIM to keep the NAND clean.
The Samsung 850 Pro series also has advanced garbage collection to clean the
NAND during drive idle periods.
Samsung SSD Magician
The SSD Magician software allows the user to maintain the
SSD, and has the following features.
The version that reviewers were provided with was a new beta
version 4.4, which provides support for the 850 Pro SSD, and also updates RAPID
mode, to allow up to 4GB of system RAM to be used as data cache on systems with
16GB or more of RAM.
- Disk drive: Brings up useful information about the
SSD, including its health status and how much data has been written to the
- System info: Allows the user to see system and
- Performance Benchmark: Performs a very basic
benchmark on the SSD.
- Performance optimization: Performs a manual TRIM of
- OS Optimization: Allows operating system features
that can affect SSD performance, to be switched on or off.
- Firmware Update: Allows the Samsung 840 EVO
firmware to be updated.
- Secure Erase: Sends a Secure Erase command to the
SSD, clearing all NAND and returning the SSD back to its default factory
- Over Provisioning: Allows the user to set aside a
given amount of NAND as a manual over provisioning area.
- SSD authenticity test: Checks to make sure
that the SSD is a genuine Samsung SSD.
- Enable Rapid mode: Enables the NVELO ‘Rapid’ cache
Let’s head to the next page where we take a look at our
testing methods and the review PC….