Samsung 860 Pro review

The world's best SATA SSD made even better

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Our Verdict

Between the small speed increases and big internal upgrades, the Samsung 860 Pro is a worthy successor to the world's best SATA SSD. But it's ultimately an iteration most users can skip.

For

  • Slightly faster speeds
  • New 4TB capacity model
  • Improved security and reliability

Against

  • SATA III limits maximum write and read speeds

With modern solid-state drives practically flooding the bandwidth cap of SATA III, we didn’t think anyone could improve in this field any further. Leave it to Samsung to break new ground more with the secure and incredibly dependable 860 Pro SSD.

Although it’s only a very slight tick faster in terms of read and write speeds, the Korean electronics firm has completely overhauled the world’s best SATA SSD and made it even better.

Features

Powered by Samsung’s latest 64-layer V-NAND technology, the 860 Pro series gets a slightly bump up on its 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s sequential read and write speeds. Overall, that only adds an additional 10 MB/s to the Samsung 850 Pro’s original read and write speeds, but we’re really rubbing up against the theoretical 600 MB/s limit of SATA III at this point.

The denser memory structure has also allowed Samsung to introduce a new 4TB capacity version of the 860 Pro, though it comes with a ridiculously-high $1,899 (about £1,360, AU$2,380) price tag. 

Thankfully there are more sensibly sized and priced drives starting at $139 (about £100, AU$170) for 256GB, $249 (about £180, AU$310) for 512GB, $479 (about £340, AU$600) for 1TB and $949 (about £680, AU$1,190) for 2TB.

On top of the new 2bit MLC V-NAND architecture, Samsung has integrated a new MJX control to help ensure speed and reliability. As ever, you can expect your data to stay secure with AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption and Self—Encrypting Drive security technology.

Last but not least, Samsung assures us that the 860 Pro will last through the wear and tear of writing 4,800 terabytes of data without fail – eight times the “Total Bytes Written” (TBW) guarantee attached to the Samsung 850 Pro.

Benchmarks

Crystaldisk Mark (Sequential) Read: 562.9 MB/s; Write: 532.7 MB/s
Crystaldisk Mark (Random) Read: 353.5 MB/s; Write: 345.2 MB/s
ATTO Benchmark (Sequential) Read: 564.5 MB/s; Write: 535.5 MB/s

Performance

Compared to the last generation 850 Pro, the 860 Pro SSD isn’t exponentially faster. Rather, after all our testing, we only found a negligible 1 to 2 MB/s speed increase.

Ultimately, though, this isn’t a shortcoming of Samsung’s new 64-layer V-NAND, but the 6 Gbps limitation of the SATA III standard. There’s simply isn’t any more bandwidth left and it’s to the detriment of all SATA-based solid-state drives.

That said, the Samsung 860 Pro offers the fastest data transfer speeds we’ve seen from any SATA SSDs. Meanwhile, the new MJX controller and all the other underlying improvements help it stand out from its rivals.

Final verdict

If you recently bought a Samsung 850 Pro or even 850 EVO SSD, you won’t be missing much here. The security, reliability improvements and availability of a new 4TB model the Samsung 860 Pro brings will be most useful to enterprise users.

Because of the limitations of SATA III, there just isn’t much of a speed increase to warrant an upgrade or purchase of this drive over Samsung’s last generation SSDs – which will more than likely be more affordable in the coming months.