Samsung SSD 870 EVO: High-Capacity V-NAND For Huge Capacites
Samsung is expanding their line-up of SATA-based solid state drives, with a new series of products designed to balance performance and capacity. A few months back, the company launched the SSD 870 QVO series of drives, based on QLC, or quad-level cell, V-NAND. These new Samsung drives launching today – the Samsung SSD 870 EVO series – are similar in many regards, but EVO SSDs feature Samsung’s latest TLC (triple level cell) V-NAND, with the commensurate firmware to match.
These new TLC-based drives also offer slightly higher performance than their QLC-based predecessors, with longer warranties and better endurance ratings as well. Take a look at the Samsung SSD 870 EVO series’ full list of features of specifications below, and then we’ll dig in a bit further on the particulars and look at performance…
The Samsung SSD 870 EVO series of drives are built around the company’s latest 100+-layer, 3-bit per cell TLC (triple level cell) V-NAND. That NAND is paired to a proprietary Samsung MKX controller and some LPDDR4 DRAM cache. Details are scarce on the controller itself, but the amount of DRAM installed on each drive is listed right in their specs – there is essentially 1GB of DRAM per 1TB of drive capacity.
All of the drives in the family, which will range from 250GB on up to 4TB, are rated for 560MB/s reads with 530MB/s writes, with 98K / 88K read / write random IOPS, which is about as fast as the SATA interface can handle. Endurance / TBW is class-leading with these drives as well. Samsung rates the 4TB model at 2,400TB, or 600x the total capacity. And all of the drives carry a solid 5-year limited warranty.
Externally, Samsung continues with their traditional design aesthetic. The SSD870 EVO series drives are the usual 2.5” 7mm form factor (as you would expect), with the top side of the drives emblazoned with Samsung branding and a sole, colored square. The bottom is home to a decal with all of the particulars, serial number info, etc.
Three pentalobe screws secure the enclosures together – one screw is visible and two reside under the decal. Disengage those screws and the enclosures pops right open to reveal the PCBs inside; there is no adhesive, thermal pads, or thermal interface material to speak of in these designs.
What you see pictured here are the internal PCBs of the 1TB and 4TB Samsung SSD 870 EVOs. As you can see, the PCBs are tiny, and fill only a small portion of the 2.5” enclosure. In total, there are only 4 chips inside the 1TB drive – the controller, one piece of DRAM, a microcontroller of some sort, and a single piece of NAND, in addition to some surface mounted components. The 4TB drive has a slightly larger PCB, with 4 pieces of NAND, two on the front, two on the back.
Like most previous-gen Samsung SSDs, the 870 EVOs use a portion of the NAND like a variable SLC write buffer. This allows the TLC NAND to perform more like an SLC drive for writes, giving write performance an overall boost. With previous-gen Samsung drives, we’d normally see performance drop off at some point when the buffer was exhausted, but both the 1TB and 4TB drives’ variable buffers are large enough — and flush data fast enough — to maintain peak performance across the entire capacity. We should also mention that both drives support Samsung’s latest data migration tools and Magician SSD utility as well, though the only thing included in the boxes are the drives and a basic lit pack.
Samsung SSD 870 EVO Benchmarks
Under each test condition, the SSDs tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a separate drive used for the OS and benchmark installations. Out testbed’s motherboard was updated with the latest BIOS available at the time of publication. The SSDs were secure erased prior to testing (when applicable), and left blank without partitions for some tests, while others required them to be partitioned and formatted, as is the case with the ATTO, PCMark, and CrystalDiskMark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates, and screen savers were all disabled before testing and Windows 10 Quiet Hours / Focus Assist was enabled. In all test runs, we rebooted the system, ensured all temp and prefetch data was purged, waited several minutes for drive activity to settle, and for the system to reach an idle state before invoking a test.
Video Card –
|AMD Threadripper 3990X
MSI TRX40 Creator
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
32GB G.SKILL DDR4-3200
Integrated on board
Corsair MP600 (OS Drive)
Chipset Drivers –
|Windows 10 Pro x64 (1909)
HD Tune v5.75
First up we have SiSoft SANDRA, the the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant for some quick tests. Here, we used the File System Bandwidth test and provide the results from our comparison SSDs. Read and write performance metrics, along with the overall drive score, are detailed below.
The new Samsung SSD 870 EVO drives technically led the pack overall, but we are talking about some miniscule performance deltas separating all of the Samsung drives here. The Toshiba drive is a couple of percentage points off the mark, but still competitive nonetheless.
ATTO is another “quick and dirty” type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5KB through 64MB transfer sizes and a queue depth of 4 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO’s workloads are sequential in nature and measure raw bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc.
In ATTO’s read and write bandwidth tests, the new Samsung SSD 870 EVO drives competed at the top of the charts, across the entire curve. The drives bump into the limits of the legacy SATA interface, however, as expected.
There’s not much separating these SSDs in terms of IOs either. Save for the previous-gen Samsung SSD 860 Pro and OCZ drives, which trail slightly with the smallest transfer sizes, all of the Samsung drives once again perform similarly overall.
Next up we ran the Compression Benchmark built-into AS SSD, an SSD specific benchmark being developed by Alex Intelligent Software. This test is interesting because it uses a mix of compressible and non-compressible data and outputs both Read and Write throughput of the drive. We only graphed a small fraction of the data (1% compressible, 50% compressible, and 100% compressible), but the trend is representative of the benchmark’s complete results.
The compressibility of the data being transferred across the drives has no impact on performance and all of the drives put up numbers within a couple of megabytes per second. There’s only so much headroom a modern SATA SSD has to play with.
Samsung SSD 870 EVO: More Benchmarks And Our Verdict
EFD Software’s HD Tune is described on the company’s website as such: “HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive’s performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.” The latest version of the benchmark added temperature statistics and improved support for SSDs, among a few other updates and fixes.
Burst rate performance was mixed for the Samsung SSD 870 EVO drives we tested, but sequential transfers and access times led the pack, albeit by relatively small margins.
CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers using incompressible data. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to SSD performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.
CrystalDiskMark showed the Samsung SSD 870 EVO drives trailing ever so slightly in the sequential transfer tests. In the random 4K transfer tests, however, Samsung’s latest SATA SSDs led the pack once again — at least in terms of reads. Writes were still top of the charts, but trailed by a tiny bit, which falls within the margin of error in this benchmark.
We like PCMark 10’s new quick storage benchmark module for its real-world application measurement approach to testing. PCMark offers a trace-based measurement of system response times under various scripted workloads of traditional client / desktop system operation.
Samsung’s new SSD 870 EVOs also topped the charts according to PCMark 10 as well. Their overall score, bandwidth rating, and access times were the best of the bunch by more significant margins this time around.
Samsung SSD 870 EVO Review Summary And Verdict
(Update 1/20/21: Samsung reached-out and let us know pricing has was reduced from the MSRPs originally communicated.)
- 4TB ($529.99 $479.99)
- 2TB ($269.99 $249.99)
- 1TB ($139.99 $129.99)
- 500GB ($79.99 $69.99)
- 250GB ($49.99 $39.99)
Those prices are actually in-line or slightly lower than the QLC-based SSD 870 QVO drives that launched a few months back, which were originally price at $129 for the 1TB model and $499 for the 4TB model, but street prices trended lower for those drives once availability ramped.