The Samsung 860 QVO SSD (2TB)
QLC based mainstream SSDs at a value price
Samsung releases their all-new 860 QVO series SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs. As the Q in the name indicates, this is all new QLC based NAND. Don’t worry, we’ll explain it all but the bottom line is that you will see a new value product series that offer more bang for your bucks and an increase in volume sizes. NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become cheaper thanks to the new 64-layer and upcoming 96-layer fabrication, this year and the next however we’ll see a move to QLC NAND as well. MLC writes 2 bits per cell, TLC 3 bits per cell and QLC four bits per cell. You can see both the complication and advantage here, you can store more data in the NAND cells, increasing volume sizes. But you can also see a performance hit with an increasing write bottleneck (which you can buffer with SLC cached, DRAM or Host Memory Buffer on NVMe). Endurance is also a factor, there should be less of it however with modern age wear and care technologies it still is not an issue. The 860 QVO makes use of revision MJX of Samsungs proprietary controller (which is also used on their 860 EVO and PRO), DRAM and features like TurboWrite (SLC cache) to offer proper performance for real-world computing experiences than that of HDDs and even reached the level of current TLC SSDs. It will be an SSD series targeted towards gaming laptops and entry-level up-to high-end PCs. The smallest volume size available will be 1 TB, followed by a 2TB version (tested today) as well as a whopping 4TB version. I stated it once in the past, I’ll do so again, QLC is going to replace HDDs long term for the consumer market. The MSRP prices in USD are $149,- for the 1TB model and we expect (but this is unannounced) $299.99 and $599.99 for the latter two. This SSD series offer peak read performance of up to 550 MB/s and a peak write speeds up to 520 MB/s. that is on all volume sizes. The random performance rated up-to 97K random read IOPS and up to 89K write IOPS.
64-cell layer QLC V-NAND
As you guys know, we’ve been testing NAND Flash based storage ever since the very beginning, and it is surprising to see where we have gotten. The SSD market is fierce and crowded though. While stability and safety of your data have become a number one priority for the manufacturers, the technology keeps advancing at a fast pace, as it does the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply breathtaking! You get between 450 MB/s to 500 MB/sec on SATA3 which is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Next to that, over the past year, NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become much cheaper as well. Prices a year ago settled at just under 1 USD per GB. That was two to threefold two years ago. These days a good SSD can be found under 40 cents per GB. With parties like Samsung, Toshiba and Micron the prices have now dropped towards and below the 30 cents per GB marker. This means that SSD technology and NAND storage have gone mainstream and, due to the lower prices, the volume sizes go up as well. A couple of years ago a 64 GB SSD was hot stuff, then slowly we moved to 120 GB, last year 240 GB for an SSD in a PC was the norm, this year we’ll transition to 500 GB per SSD as the default norm with corresponding prices. With the market being so huge, fierce and competitive, it brought us to where we are today, nice volume SSDs at acceptable prices with very fast performance. Not one test system in my lab has an HDD, everything runs on SSD while I receive and retrieve my bigger chunks of data from a NAS server here in the office. The benefits are performance, speed, low power consumption and no noise.
- Samsung MJX Controller: faster and more accurate – operates at up to 1 GHz vs 550 MHz last gen
- Intelligent TurboWrite Improvements: Up to 4 GB dedicated LPDDR4 cache memory, ability to allocate up to ~80 GB of TurboWrite region
- Best in class endurance: 360TB, 720TB and 1,440TB for the 4TB model
- Available in 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB
Samsung’s 860 QVO, EVO and Pro SSD product line are powered by the company’s latest iteration NAND controller, now at revision MJX. A controller with a low power design, this drive will be amongst the fastest SATA3 models ever tested, no matter what the workload is. It’s not just about performance though, it is about endurance as well. In a nutshell, endurance is the number of program-erase cycles an SSD has before you can’t write onto it anymore, our tested 2 TB model can manage 720 TB of writes before cells die off, you may halve or multiply that that by volume size. That means the 1TB can manage 360 TB of writes. IOPS numbers are reaching the familiar 90,000 marker. Overall, the 860 series performance is maxed out at whatever your SATA3 interface can handle. Sequential reads performance wise are 550 MB/s and write performance is set at 520 MB/s (sequential writes). Samsung guarantees the 1000 GB 860 QVO for 3 years or the TBW value, we’ll list that on the following pages though. Have a peek at the more budget-friendly SSD, after which we’ll dive into a rather in-depth review.