Pros: Fastest SSD on the market, 3d V-NAND, RAPID mode, Low power usage, Long lasting
First we will start with an unboxing and physical overview. The box isn't overwhelming like some products are. It only actual features, not useless marketing terms
Inside all we get is an SSD and an installation guide. There are no cables or accessories.
The unit features the same color scheme as the 840 Pro series. The design is very minimalistic with only an orange accent.
The back lists some specifications as well as standard disclaimers.
The unit is very thin. It is thinner than a pencil.
Other than that there isn't too much else. It is a metal box. The magic is on the inside and for that, we will move on to the product's features.
The most notable feature is Samsung's new 3D-VNAND. It is a new manufacturing technique in which 32 cell layers are stacked on top of each other allowing for higher density and performance. This performance boost is carried throughout all of the models.
The next big feature is RAPID mode. It uses extra RAM as a high speed cache for the SSD. This generates insane speeds on synthetic benchmarks where the same data are written over and over, but less so in real world applications. For mission critical or workstation applications, I would not recommend RAPID. The performance gain is not worth the risk as RAM is volatile. There are definitely tangible performance gains visible in my benchmarks. For the average home user with RAM to spare, RAPID Mode is great.
The final big feature is the longer lifespan. The 850 Pro is designed to endure 150TB of writes over its lifespan. This may not seem like a lot compared to the size of the drive, but it is actually unheard of. It is more than double that of the 840 Pro. I personally used an 840 Pro as my boot drive everyday for over a year. It that time I wrote less than 10TB to the drive. That should give a good idea of how insane these numbers are. There are even stories of drives that have more than 1PB TBW.
Now moving on to benchmarks. I tested the 850 Pro 512GB against an 840 Pro 128GB (Note: write speed is lower than 256GB and 512GB models), a Kingston HyperX 3K 256GB, and a standard 512GB mechanical HDD. Starting with synthetic benchmarks we have AS SSD. The light blue and green bars are with RAPID enabled. They are physically scaled down as they would not fit on the chart otherwise. We can see the 850 Pro as the clear winner. Its overall score is 200+ points higher than the 840 Pro which is widely believed to be the previous fastest SATA III drive.
Next up on the synthetic benchmarks is Crystal Disk Mark. The 850 Pro is again in the lead. It does extremely well in the 4K tests compared to other drives.
The final synthetic benchmark I ran was ATTO. I reported on a wide spectrum of transfer sizes. It appears that ATTO didn't like RAPID mode so much on the reads. The results are pretty close between the 3 SSDs, but the 850 Pro pulls out in front again.
Now moving on to real world benchmarks. Synthetics only tell one side of the story. They write very similar data over and over which SSDs are great at doing. Real world benchmarks test situations that a user would actually face. First up is boot times. These numbers may seem high compared to other review sites, but those sites only test the time the Windows logo is displayed. That will give the raw boot time, but not how long it takes for the computer to actually be usable. Why would a user care about an 8 second boot time if they can't actually open a program until 30 seconds. That is why I believe my test is more representative of real world applications. For the test I started the timer when Windows started loading and stopped it when all my standard icons loaded and a startup program loaded. This is the full boot time and the computer is fully usable. For anyone still worried, I still got the same sub 8 second boot time other sites may report when using their testing methods.
Finally we have program load times. Loading a single web browser or document was so quick that I had to expand the test. These results are from loading 10 instances each of Firefox, Excel, and Word, and a single instance of a media player. The percent on the side is the speed difference compared to the standard 850 Pro. A higher percent indicates a faster drive.
Moving on the the software. Samsung offers great data migration software as well as their SSD Magician. SSD Magician allows you to turn on RAPID mode, update firmware, encrypt the drive, and much more. It is one of the best SSDs suites on the market.
The software includes some basic optimization. This can help you get the most out of your SSD.
Here is where RAPID mode is enabled. It requires the 840 Pro or later and at least 2GB of free RAM.
Next are data security options. Samsung includes many enterprise grade security modes.
Finally my only complaint: the price. The 512GB unit I tested comes in at $400. The price has come down but it is still very expensive compared to other models. However, when you look at models in the same performance range, it isn't too bad. As a final conclusion, Samsung's 850 Pro line of SSDs are undoubtedly the fastest on the market. They represent the next generation in manufacturing, but one of the last generations of Sata III SSDs. If you are looking for the fastest no compromise SSD, this it the answer hands down. If you can afford it, buy it. You will be glad you did.