Conclusion

Samsung's update to their TLC SATA SSD is not quite as impressive as the improvements the MLC-based 860 PRO showed, but the Samsung 860 EVO's gains are still enough to put Samsung back on top in that product segment. The competition had caught up to the 850 EVO and surpassed it in several cases in recent months, but Samsung can still deliver a top-notch SSD.

The 860 EVO's performance did not improve in every metric, but on most of them it is slightly faster than the 850 EVO and it is usually as fast as any other TLC SATA SSD. The small handful of regressions should not have much effect on normal use and are not particularly severe even on synthetic benchmarks.

The Samsung 860 EVO's power consumption never goes much above 2W, regardless of the workload. At idle, it uses less power than any other drive in its class. However, total energy usage on our ATSB tests is still trailing behind some of the competitors, so the 860 EVO isn't the unqualified best choice for maximizing battery life.

Overall, the performance and power consumption of the Samsung 860 EVO make it a worthy successor to the 850 EVO. It does not offer any compelling reason for current users of an 850 EVO or similar SSD to upgrade, but the improvements are measurable, if otherwise usually imperceptible. For new systems, the 860 EVO is a reasonable offering for today's market, provided the price is right.

SATA SSD Price Comparison
  240-275GB 480-525GB 960-1050GB 2TB
Samsung 860 EVO $94.99
(38¢/GB)
$169.99
(34¢/GB)
$299.99
(30¢/GB)
$649.99
(32¢/GB)
Crucial MX500 $79.99
(32¢/GB)
$134.95
(27¢/GB)
$259.99
(26¢/GB)
$499.99
(25¢/GB)
Crucial MX300 $89.99
(33¢/GB)
$147.45
(28¢/GB)
$269.99
(26¢/GB)
$528.70
(26¢/GB)
Samsung 850 EVO $87.99
(35¢/GB)
$149.99
(30¢/GB)
$349.20
(35¢/GB)
$697.95
(35¢/GB)
SanDisk Ultra 3D $79.99
(32¢/GB)
$129.99
(26¢/GB)
$270.50
(27¢/GB)
$499.99
(25¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D NAND SATA $79.99
(32¢/GB)
$134.99
(27¢/GB)
$259.99
(26¢/GB)
$499.99
(25¢/GB)
M.2 $90.41
(36¢/GB)
$139.99
(28¢/GB)
$289.99
(29¢/GB)
$599.99
(30¢/GB)
Samsung 860 PRO $139.99
(55¢/GB)
$249.99
(49¢/GB)
$479.99
(47¢/GB)
$949.99
(46¢/GB)
Intel 545s $89.99
(35¢/GB)
$149.99
(29¢/GB)
   
Crucial BX300 $87.99
(37¢/GB)
$144.99
(30¢/GB)
   

Looking specifically at 2TB M.2 SATA alternatives to the drive in this review, we find the WD Blue 3D NAND is $50 cheaper, and the 860 EVO is definitely not worth $50 more. Broadening the price comparison to include 2.5" models, the competition is much stronger. The 860 EVO is still selling at MSRP, and those prices are not competitive. The 2TB Crucial MX500 for $500 makes a lot more sense than the 2TB 860 EVO for $650.

Across the full range of capacities, Samsung is trying to continue charging a premium that their product no longer justified, because the alternatives are just as good. 30¢/GB should be about the upper limit of pricing on the 860 EVO, instead of being the lower limit.

As 64L 3D TLC finds its way out to other brands and as the other NAND manufacturers start supplying their 512Gb 64L TLC parts in volume, the competition will only increase. Samsung's reputation can guarantee the 860 EVO a lot of sales, but there are better deals out there.

Power Management
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  • Reflex - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LB05YOO/

    Micron 1100 2TB for $379

    This is basically a clone of the MX300 marketed to IT departments. Cheaptest 2TB SATA option I've seen by far, and gets good reviews, essentially identical to the MX300 (same hardware, no surprise) but has a better warranty I believe.
    Reply
  • CherryBOMB - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    Thanks for the information comment on your experience. Reply
  • bug77 - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    I wonder what kind of warranty you get with those, since Micron branded products are not usually meant for retail. Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    https://www.nikktech.com/main/articles/pc-hardware...

    According to this review of the 256GB model of this drive, it is a 5 year warranty.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    The Crucial MX300 that it is a clone of has only a 3 year warranty, for reference. Reply
  • bug77 - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    Actually, in the provided Amazon link, the first question is about warranty and the seller says it's 3 years. I was just afraid these were sold as stripped parts and wouldn't be covered, but it seems that not the case. Reply
  • Reflex - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    The seller is not the OEM however, it's a third party. I have no idea if that is correct or the review I linked was correct. Micron's site is not helpful. Reply
  • xrror - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    How long has this drive been out???! Because I've been looking for an affordable 2TB option for the past half year and can't believe I never found this one.

    Thanks for the heads up on this model.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    I am unclear on how long it has been out, the review I linked is from late 2016, but the Amazon page implies its only been there since late 2017. My guess is its only sold into enterprise settings and a seller with stock listed it on Amazon. Regardless, its a great price for a brand that isn't questionable. Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, February 17, 2018 - link

    In case anyone is tracking this: I got mine in the mail yesterday. It is definitely intended for OEM markets, it came in a sealed anti-static bag with no other packaging. That said I popped it into a system and it was immediately recognized and is the capacity expected. No problems at all. Reply

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