Let’s first step back a few years, to when SSDs first
started to appear. They were very expensive, low capacity affairs. Sequential
speeds were faster than HDDs, but not by much. Access times were much faster
than HDDs, and of course small file random performance also was, in general,
much better than any HDD could achieve.
Samsung was one of the first manufacturers to introduce an
SSD, although this largely went unnoticed in Europe and North America. Things
really started to take off for Samsung when they introduced the 830 series of
SSDs a few years ago. Since the 830 series, Samsung has gone from strength to
strength with the 840 Pro, and the 840 EVO series of SSDs. Not only were they
top performers, they were also very affordable.
It’s no secret that Samsung has been working on a new type
of NAND, dispensing with the ‘planar’ arrangement and the ‘charge pump device’
(CPD), by moving to a 3D vertical stacking cylindrical cell arrangement
(V-NAND) where the cells are stacked vertically, with up to 32 layers, allowing
a much higher density. In V-NAND, the CDP is also gone, being replaced by a
Charge Trap Flash (CTF). A CPD stores the charge in a semiconductor where
imperfections in the material can cause electrons to leak, and thus reduce NAND
endurance. A CTF stores the charge in the isolating layer, where leakage is not
a problem. A CTF also requires much less voltage to store the charge, so as an
added benefit, V-NAND requires much less energy to store the charge.
Moving to a vertical cell stacking arrangement rather than
the planar design also has a huge advantage. Because stacking cells vertically
takes up less space, it allowed Samsung to take a step back in the cell node
size, so instead of shrinking the current 19nm node size, Samsung have been
able to use a larger node size, most likely around 30nm. Increasing the node
size means better endurance. Couple the new CTF method of storing the charge
with the increased node size, and Samsung estimates that V-NAND could have as
much as ten times the endurance of NAND based on the 19nm planar design.
Another advantage of using a larger node size, is NAND page
programming times are reduced substantially. Typically, 19nm planar NAND takes around
twice the time to program a NAND page when compared to 30nm 3D V-NAND. The end
result is you get higher performance which is much more sustainable.
OK, that’s enough of the technical stuff, so let’s get to
the point of this article. Allow me to introduce the first consumer grade SSD
to implement 3D V-NAND, the Samsung 850 Pro range of SSDs. The 850 Pro range of
SSDs are available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities. The 850 Pro SSD
that Samsung very kindly provided for review is the 1TB version.
The Samsung 850 Pro is squarely aimed at the professional
consumer, where sustainable performance and endurance are paramount.
One should keep in mind that the review Samsung 850 Pro SSD
that I received was a pre-production model, with pre-production firmware, and
the final production 850 Pro SSD may not behave exactly as the pre-production
sample that I am featuring in this article.
So let’s find out how this new SSD performs in our range of
Samsung company information
Samsung should need no introduction, but those of you who
would like to find out more about Samsung, can do so at their website.
The Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD
Now it’s time to take a look at the drive itself and what it
came shipped with.
The review sample I received was a pre-production unit, and
was simply shipped to me in a padded envelope.
Samsung 850 Pro SSD package
NOTE: The warranty information displayed on the bottom of
the box is incorrect. The Samsung 850 Pro comes with a 10 year limited
warranty, and not 5 years as displayed on the packaging.
The case of the Samsung 850 Pro review sample is an all
Now let’s head to the next page, where we look in more
detail at the Samsung 850 Pro 1000GB SSD…..