Samsung 860 QVO 1TB Review

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The evolution of SSDs differs a great deal from that of other key components, such as CPUs and GPUs. In those and other areas, we are used to a steady march forward. New production processes are commonly thought to improve performance and efficiency continuously. Solid state drives and NAND Flash memory is a bit more complex in that regard.

The NAND Evolution Paradox

All other things being equal, a smaller production process (as measured in nanometers), results in worse durability and performance – and adding bits per cell (from SLC, via MLC and TLC to QLC) exacerbates these problems at an exponential rate.  This article explains the background in more detail. Basically, it’s a cost-cutting exercise involving some very sophisticated engineering. The reasons are mainly to use the higher densities to lower the production cost. In time, this should lead to even lower prices on QLC drives than today’s budget TLC SSDs.

In any event, it’s now 2019 and SSDs that use quad-level cell (QLC) NAND are not only widely available but often perform better than MLC drives did ten years ago, even if they’re literally not created equal. Samsung’s 860 QVO is one of the first SSDs to target the large market for consumer 2.5″ SATA drives. At this writing, Samsung is still mostly competing with its own EVO and PRO models, so pricing is not overly competitive. There are also 2TB and 4TB capacities, but here we’ll take a look at the entry-level, 1TB model.

Samsung QVO

860 QVO Vs. EVO Vs. PRO

Product
Price
Samsung 860 QVO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q4T0B/AM)
Value
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
Performance
Samsung 860 EVO PRO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P4T0BW)
Image
Samsung 860 QVO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q4T0B/AM)
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
Samsung 860 EVO PRO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P4T0BW)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
550 MB/s
550 MB/s
560 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
520 MB/s
520 MB/s
530 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
97,000 IOPS
98,000 IOPS
100,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
89,000 IOPS
90,000 IOPS
90,000 IOPS
Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
7,500 IOPS
10,000 IOPS
11,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
42,000 IOPS
42,000 IOPS
43,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
619 Reviews
7,028 Reviews
302 Reviews
Warranty
3 years
5 years
5 years
Endurance rating
1,440 TBW
2,400 TBW
4,800 TBW
Price
$449.99
$579.09
$925.95
Price
Product
Samsung 860 QVO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q4T0B/AM)
Image
Samsung 860 QVO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q4T0B/AM)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
550 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
520 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
97,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
89,000 IOPS
Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
7,500 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
42,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
619 Reviews
Warranty
3 years
Endurance rating
1,440 TBW
Price
$449.99
Value
Product
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
Image
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
550 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
520 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
98,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
90,000 IOPS
Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
10,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
42,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
7,028 Reviews
Warranty
5 years
Endurance rating
2,400 TBW
Price
$579.09
Performance
Product
Samsung 860 EVO PRO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P4T0BW)
Image
Samsung 860 EVO PRO SSD 4TB - 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P4T0BW)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
560 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
530 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
100,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
90,000 IOPS
Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
11,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
43,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
302 Reviews
Warranty
5 years
Endurance rating
4,800 TBW
Price
$925.95

Last update on 2019-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The specs indicate that there’s not much of a difference in performance between the QVO and the EVO/PRO. But once the 860 QVO runs out of SLC-mode cache – or Intelligent TurboWrite, as Samsung calls its implementation – write speeds will drop to mechanical hard drive speeds at around 80 MB/s. This is a rare occurrence in end-user systems though, as it will take many minutes of sustained writes to get there.

What might be more important for most potential buyers is the 860 QVO’s endurance and warranty terms, as both are well below the higher-end alternatives. Endurance is unlikely to be an issue for most users, even in the event that the 860 QVO is used as a system drive. The 360 TBW rating equals about 0.3 drive writes per day (DWPD) throughout the warranty period, which is extremely unlikely to happen in any situation that this drive is intended for.

However, there’s no escaping the fact that the warranty period is shorter and that real-world performance will not be on par with the 860 EVO (TLC NAND) or the high-end 860 PRO, one of the last remaining MLC drives on the consumer market.

860 QVO Benchmarks

Anvil’s Storage Utilities

Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a comprehensive benchmark that measures all the key aspects of an SSD, including access times, transfer rates and IOPS, with a focus on 4K chunks of data.

AS SSD Benchmark

The AS SSD benchmark measures sequential read and write speeds using incompressible data. Here, we see again that the sequential read and write speeds are not overly impressive, but still within the margin of error of what can be expected.

CrystalDiskMark (CDM)

At the default settings, CrystalDiskMark (CDM) uses random data, but you can also use compressible data (0Fill). Samsung’s MJX controller has no problems with either. In CDM, the 860 QVO’s sequential results are really impressive – exceeding the rated read/write specs by far at more than 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s, respectively.

Conclusion

For anyone looking for a competent SSD with a decent capacity and a price tag to match, the 1TB Samsung 860 QVO will be a tempting option. The 860 QVO performs better than many TLC-based drives, and even some of the older MLC ones. However, considering the cheaper and less durable NAND, it wouldn’t hurt if it was even more affordable compared to the 860 EVO and PRO. At its current price, it’s therefore also tempting to spend a little extra for an 860 EVO.

Samsung has an excellent track record in terms of reliability, but it’s still unfortunate that the warranty is three years instead of the usual five. Prices could fall further once there are more QLC-based competitors to the QVO on the market.

7.5 Total Score
Lower Cost, Shorter Warranty

The 1TB Samsung 860 QVO is a solid mainstream SATA SSD that offers more than decent performance. However, at the current prices and lack of competition in the QLC SATA segment, the 860 EVO may look more attractive.

PROS
  • Good SATA performance
  • Samsung's reliability track record
  • Decent endurance for a QLC drive
CONS
  • 3-year warranty
  • Not inexpensive enough
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