Saturday, 18 June 2016

Samsung 750 EVO SSD

Samsung 750 EVO SSD

Samsung consolidates their SATA SSD range with a new model

As a rule, the numbering of technology parts goes up, inferring better performance or a higher spec. When it goes down, as it has with the new Samsung 750 EVO, then usually a lowering of expectations is in order.

As I’ve referred to before, SATA SSDs have run into a cul-de-sac performance wise, as they’ve hit the ceiling of what bandwidth SATA-3 offers. That leaves price as one of the few differentiating factors that hardware makers can easily adjust.

Those who want ultimate performance are moving from SATA to PCIe NVMe, though the SATA drives remain popular because they’re a drop-in replacement for conventional hard drives.

The history of the Samsung 750 EVO part is slightly odd, because it was made available in Japan to system integrators a while back, but initially only in 120GB and 250GB capacities.

Clearly seeing an opportunity, Samsung has now added a 500GB model and pushed it out into the retail market worldwide. Its intention seems to be to replace the 850 EVO while presumably preparing a new high-end offering to eclipse the 850 PRO.

Comparing the specifications of this drive with the 850 EVO makes for interesting reading, because initially they don’t seem that different.

They use the MGX controller, have a read speed of 540MB/s and write of 520MB/s, and on the 250GB and 500GB models the IOPS are almost identical.

The differences are mostly to do with the reliability side of this equation, as the 850 EVO had a five-year warranty and was rated for either 75TBW (120/250GB) or 150TBW (500GB/1TB). The 750 EVO is only covered for three years and just 35TBW on the 120GB, 70TBW on the 250GB and 100TBW on the 500GB.

Part of this is to do with the type of NAND used in each case and what sort of usage it can handle. The 850 EVO uses Samsung’s 3DV-NAND, whereas the 750 EVO uses planar (2D) TLC flash on the 16nm lithography node – a cheaper process.

There isn’t a 1TB or 2TB version of the 750 EVO, but then the 1TB and 2TB 850 EVO weren’t part of the same hardware lineage as the other EVOs, as they used a different MEX and MHX controllers.

The obvious conclusion is that you’re trading long-term reliability for a lower price, but realistically most users would have a hard time hitting the TBW of even the 120GB model within the new shorter warranty period.

In terms of cost per gigabyte, the 120GB is actually the most expensive at about 38p, and it gets better as you move up to 28p for the 250GB and 500GB. For that reason and the lower TBW, I’d probably avoid the 120GB.

What’s curious is that if you shop around, these prices are close to what you can get the 850 EVO for, as it's currently discounted by some retailers. Once those prices return to their normal levels, should they do that, then the EVO 750 will be better placed to be the go-to choice for entry-level SSD buyers.

Samsung 750 EVO specifications

One very desirable feature that it has, which surpasses both the 850 EVO and 850 PRO, is in respect of power usage. With a maximum consumption of just 2.5 watts and an average of 2.3 watts, the 750 EVO might well be the ideal SSD for use on a laptop system.

Performance wise, this drive is exactly where it's supposed to be, maxing out SATA-3 effectively. Samsung sent me the 500GB model for this review, as it has the best IOPs of each model, though frankly they’re peas in a pod as far as sequential read and write are concerned.

For desktop users, I’d recommend you stick with the 850 EVO for now, if only for the longer warranty, though most people would be hard pressed to notice the difference. Mark Pickavance

Entry-level SSD with fine overall performance.