Four months ago Samsung introduced the world to TLC V-NAND in the form of SSD 850 EVO. It did well in our tests and showed that 3D NAND technology essentially brings TLC NAND to the level where planar MLC NAND stands today. The initial launch only included the most popular form factor in 2.5", but did not address the upgrade market where mSATA and M.2 are constantly growing in popularity. With today's release, Samsung is expanding the 850 EVO lineup with M.2 and mSATA models.

The move isn't really surprising because Samsung released an mSATA version of the SSD 840 EVO a bit over a year ago and when the 850 EVO was originally launched we were told that mSATA and M.2 models would follow later. The addition of M.2 is new to Samsung's retail lineup, but it makes a lot of sense given that many PC OEMs have switched from mSATA to M.2, and ultimately M.2 will be replacing mSATA in full.

Architecturally the mSATA and M.2 models are not any different from their 2.5" sibling. The heart of the drives is still Samsung's own MGX controller (excluding the 1TB model, which is powered by the older MEX controller) and the NAND is 32-layer 128Gbit TLC (3-bit per cell) V-NAND that is manufactured using 40nm lithography. TurboWrite (Samsung's pseudo-SLC caching) is also included and the cache sizes have remained unchanged from the 2.5" model. DevSleep and TCG Opal 2.0 (eDrive) are both supported too and endurance comes in at a respectable 75TB for 120GB/250GB and 150TB for 500GB/1TB models.  

Given the similarity with the 2.5" model, I strongly suggest that you read our 850 EVO review for a full scope of TurboWrite, TLC V-NAND and other tidbits as I won't be covering those in detail in this review. 

Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA Specifications
Capacity 120GB 250GB 500GB 1TB
Form Factor mSATA
Controller Samsung MGX Samsung MEX
NAND Samsung 40nm 128Gbit TLC V-NAND
DRAM (LPDDR2) 512MB 1GB
Sequential Read 540MB/s 540MB/s 540MB/s 540MB/s
Sequential Write 520MB/s 520MB/s 520MB/s 520MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD1) 10K IOPS 10K IOPS 10K IOPS 10K IOPS
4KB Random Read (QD32) 95K IOPS 97K IOPS 97K IOPS 97K IOPS
4KB Random Read (QD1) 40K IOPS 40K IOPS 40K IOPS 40K IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 88K IOPS 88K IOPS 88K IOPS 88K IOPS
Steady-State 4KB Random Write Performance 3.1K IOPS 4.9K IOPS 6.8K IOPS 9.7K IOPS
DevSleep Power Consumption 2mW 2mW 2mW 4mW
Slumber Power Consumption 50mW
Active Power Consumption (Read/Write) Max 3.5W / 4.3W
Encryption AES-256, TCG Opal 2.0, IEEE-1667 (eDrive)
Endurance 75TB (41GB/day) 150TB (82GB/day)
Warranty Five years

Like its predecessor, the 850 EVO mSATA offers capacity of up to 1TB, which still remains the highest capacity mSATA drive in the industry. Samsung has a substantial lead in its NAND packaging technology because currently no-one else is shipping 16-die packages in high volume and by comparison Samsung has been doing this for quite some time now. I've heard Toshiba has some 16-die packages available, but the yields are very low and pricing comes in at about a dollar per gigabyte, whereas other packages are priced at ~30 cents per gigabyte. Micron also has 16-die packages on paper, but I've yet to see them used in any actual products.

Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 Specifications
Capacity 120GB 250GB 500GB
Form Factor M.2 2280 (single-sided; SATA 6Gbps)
Controller Samsung MGX
NAND Samsung 40nm 128Gbit TLC V-NAND
DRAM (LPDDR2) 512MB
Sequential Read 540MB/s 540MB/s 540MB/s
Sequential Write 500MB/s 500MB/s 500MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD1) 10K IOPS 10K IOPS 10K IOPS
4KB Random Read (QD32) 97K IOPS 97K IOPS 97K IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD1) 40K IOPS 40K IOPS 40K IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 89K IOPS 89K IOPS 89K IOPS
Steady-State 4KB Random Write Performance 2.8K IOPS 4.1K IOPS 5.8K IOPS
DevSleep Power Consumption 2mW 2mW 2mW
Slumber Power Consumption 50mW
Active Power Consumption (Read/Write) Max 2.4W / 3.5W
Encryption AES-256, TCG Opal 2.0, IEEE-1667 (eDrive)
Endurance 75TB (41GB/day) 150TB (82GB/day)
Warranty Five years

Unfortunately the M.2 version tops out at 500GB. The reason lies in the fact that the M.2 is a single-sided design, which only has room for two NAND packages. There are quite a few laptops that use the single-sided M.2 2280 form factor as it allows for thinner designs, but I still would have liked to see a 1TB double-sided version. It is worth noting that while both PCIe and SATA based devices can have M.2 form factors, Samsung is only releasing the 850 EVO M.2 in the SATA format at this time.

With a 128Gbit die and sixteen die per package, the maximum capacity for each package comes in at 256GiB, yielding a raw NAND capacity of 512GiB, of which 500GB is usable in the 850 EVO.

AnandTech 2015 SSD Test System
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.5GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z97 Deluxe (BIOS 2205)
Chipset Intel Z97
Chipset Drivers Intel 10.0.24+ Intel RST 13.2.4.1000
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers 15.33.8.64.3345
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 8.1 x64
Performance Consistency
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  • WackyDan - Saturday, April 04, 2015 - link

    Eh... Nope. These won't work in the ThinkPads. Reply
  • blanarahul - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Hopefully, this drive will put an end to the mSATA/M.2 versions of the 840 non-EVO that companies are shipping in their laptops. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    DoH! I just paid $20 more for the M550 (basically the MX100) 512GB M2 drive, which is double-sided and needs to be crammed into my laptop :\ Reply
  • kgh00007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Hey, is there any chance you could fill one of these m.2 drives with data, power it off for a month then check the read speeds when you power it back on?

    I need some sort of evidence that this TLC V-nand does not have the same issues as the TLC in the 840 EVO.
    Otherwise I'm not going to be able to buy one of these!

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • goodyes - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    What the hell does not the charts compares with 840 ev msata ? Bad numbers Why not true sequential test ??
    And this site posting SUCKS, Why in the world I cannot use my facebook or so login, Did you know about disquss ? Get out the absurd captcha that fucking me 30 times or so trying to get a magical potion to know what the words saying,. THIS IS NOT ADVANCE IN TECH THIS IS TRASH
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    This is the third review with the new 2015 SSD Suite and I've only had limited time to test drives, hence the lack of 840 EVO in the graphs. Reply
  • goodyes - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    Ya, but results that I have a 1TB 840 msata and write sequential at more than 500MBps around 520max MBps, and now I see than new 850 msata tops at ?? 480MBps ?? cannot be possible what my eyes look, AND WHY THE HELL NO ONE REVIEWER COMPARE With olders 840 msata, so I must think that all of you guys are a paid reviewers and you get money from samsung, if not, YOU MUST compare to older model Reply
  • cgorange - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    Other than providing samples, I can assure you that Samsung doesn't pay Anandtech to review its products Reply
  • Ekitrak - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    The Final Words page has 2 entries of "Samsung 840 EVO mSATA" on the Amazon Price Comparison. I'm guessing this is an error and one of them is supposed to be the Sata III version? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - link

    I'm not seeing this -- maybe you accidentally mixed up the 850 EVO mSATA and 840 EVO mSATA as they are both in the table (or maybe this was already fixed by another editor). Reply

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