Samsung 860 PRO and EVO SSD (fast review)

Samsung is a global leader in V-NAND memory technology and has released the updated 860 PRO and EVO SSD (solid state disks). They are fast.

In comparison with its first generation 850 PRO/EVO they are only marginally faster but use a 64-layer V-NAND coupled with an LPDDR4 buffer and new MJX controller to deliver up to 560/530 MB/s read/write speeds.

I tested both drives – a 2TB 860 PRO and 2TB 860 EVO using both a USB 3.0 to SATA6 interface dongle (external drive) and in late model ASUS desktop that supports NVMe and SATA 6Gb/s.

The difference between the PRO and EVO is small.

  • The PRO uses 2-bit MLC V-NAND, and the EVO uses 3-bit MLC/TLC V-NAND.
  • The PRO 2-bit is warranted for 4,800 Terabytes Written (TBW) and the EVO 3-bit for 2,400 TBW.
  • The PRO is marginally faster at 560/530MB/s read/write against the EVO at 550/220 MB/s.
  • The PRO comes in 2.5” SSD and the EVO comes in 2.5” SSD, M.2 and mSATA formats

In summary, the PRO is supposed to be for professional use, and the EVO is aimed at consumers.

Out of the box

  • The drive – that’s it

Documentation does mention a retail version with the USB 3.0 to SATA adaptor and screws!

Installation is straightforward. In Windows, launch Administrative Tools, Disk Management, allocate a volume and do a quick format.

The drive supports hardware AES 256-bit full disk encryption and a non-operating shock of 1500Gs.

USB-SATA 6Gb/s (connected to a Surface Pro 4)

Both drives delivered (based on a mix of test file sizes from 1GB to 10GB

  • 220MB/s read
  • 170MB/s write
  • 110MB/s read and write to itself

By comparison, I tested the new second generation Crucial MX500, and it was marginally slower on the same files.

Desktop test using CrystalDiskMark and a range of file types and sizes

  • 526 MB/s read
  • 507 MB/s write
  • 494MB/s read and write to self

Using the test files

  • 335MB/s read
  • 315MB/s write
  • 295MB/s read and write to self

These are spectacular results but not hugely above their predecessors or competitors. Where they are better is in the file read/write with a mixture of file types and sizes – where some files are compressed, some are video etc. Frankly, the drives could be much faster, but the SATA 6 interface tops out at 600MB/s in theory anyway.

I cloned an existing WD Blue 1TB boot drive to the EVO. Using the EVO as a boot drive reduced a complete boot from 68 seconds to around 18 – instant on!

Samsung Magician

Ironically the documentation mentions Samsung Magician Software for drive health checks, firmware update, and secure erase but the current version does not yet support the 860 series.

GadgetGuy’s take

As a drop-in replacement for a hard disk you cannot beat the 860 EVO or PRO – but if you can bag a bargain on the older 850 range don’t pass that up either.

True that you can get a 1TB spinning disk drive for under $100, and a 1TB EVO will cost closer to $400 but the age of spinning disks is over – if you want fantastic boot speed, application performance, responsive games, and large file manipulation then the 860 PRO and EVO are for you.


  • More speed than you need
  • Low power use
  • Hardware encryption
  • Five-year warranty


  • Would have been nice to have the SATA to USB adapter in the box
  • I have noted that the suggested pricing is a little high so shop around


  • Overall: 4.8 – as you would expect
  • Features: 5 out of 5
  • Value for Money: 4 out of 5 – but shop around
  • Performance: 5 out of 5
  • Ease of Use: 5 out of 5 – idiot proof install
  • Design: 5 out of 5 – it is under the bonnet, so you never see it


Online sites list approximate EVO prices as follows

  • 250GB – $150
  • 500GB – $250
  • 1TB – $500
  • 2TB – $1000
  • 4TB – TBA $2,000

The PRO version is 20-30% dearer.

Key Specifications

Category 860 PRO 860 EVO
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Form Factor 2.5-inch 2.5-inch, mSATA, M.2
Storage Memory Samsung V-NAND 2bit MLC Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC/TLC
Controller Samsung MJX Controller
Cache Memory 4GB LPDDR4 (4TB)
512MB LPDDR4 (256/512GB)
512MB LPDDR4(250/500GB)
Capacity 2.5” – 4TB (coming), 2TB, 1TB, 512GB, 256GB 2.5” – 4TB, 2TB,1TB,500GB, 250GB
[M.2] – 2TB, 1TB, 500GB, 250GB
[mSATA] 1TB, 500GB, 250GB
Seq.Read/Write Speed Up to 560/530 MB/s Up to 550/520 MB/s
Ran.Read/Write Speed (QD32) Max. 100K IOPS / 90K IOPS Max. 98K IOPS / 90K IOPS
Device Sleep 2.5 mW for 1TB
(Up to 7 mW for 4TB)
2.6 mW for 1TB
(Up to 8 mW for 4TB)
Management SW Magician Software for SSD management
Total Byte Written (TBW) 4TB: 4,800TB
2TB: 2,400TB
1TB: 1,200TB
512GB: 600TB
256GB: 300TB
4TB: 2,400TB
2TB: 1,200TB
1TB: 600TB
500GB: 300TB
250GB: 150TB
Warranty 5 years or up to 4,800 TBW 5 years or up to 2,400 TBW

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
The fastest SATA 6GB/s interface SSDs yet
A little pricey