Reviews |Samsung 870 EVO

Samsung 870 EVO Review

Storage designed to keep up with your video editing

Samsung 870 EVO review
Review

Price when reviewed

£502

$549
Check current price

Our Verdict

At £50 more than the QVO yet sporting almost identical specification, you’d be hard pushed at first to see the benefit of the EVO drive. The different comes with the internal workings that see a V-NAND 3-bit rather than 4-bit MLC (Multi-Level Cell). The technicalities of this are somewhat complicated, but ultimately the lower MLC offers better endurance and performance when using sequential type applications such as video gaming and editing.
In use, the drive, connected through USB-C, kept up with 4K edits in DaVinci Resolve without issue. There were no noticeable dropped frames or lags. But then the same could be said for the cheaper 870 QVO.
At the end of the test, it’s hard to say if the EVO is any better than the QVO in terms of video performance, both excelled.
The real test comes down to longevity, and if I were to choose between the two for a working drive, I would have to opt for the EVO safe in the knowledge that it has been designed for this type of continuous heavy work.

For

  • Fast Transfer Speeds
  • High capacity
  • Compatible with most systems

Against

  • Slower than NVMe M.2
  • Expensive

What is the Samsung 870 EVO4TB SSD Hard Drive?

Storage is being put under greater demands than ever before, both in terms of speed and capacity.

Samsungs latest release the Samsung EVO 4TB is closely related to the excellent QVO drive that I looked at a couple of months back.

Samsung 870 EVO review

The difference? Price, for one thing, the EVO elevates the price point per TB. This price hike is down to service life and the drives ability to maintain performance under load. Put in simple terms the cheaper, but still not that cheap, Samsung 870 QVO drive is designed as fast mass storage and the EVO as ultra-fast working storage.

While the QVO has capacity and speed, as well as a service life that will inevitably outlast older optical equivalents, the EVO takes that performance and endurance up a step. It’s designed to provide performance and reliability over years. This difference in the two drives all comes down to the MLC of each drive. The QVO has a 4-bit MLC while the EVO has 3-bit and the older 860 Pro features 2-bit.

Traditional thought would say that the higher the bit, the better the performance, and to some degree, that’s true. But the higher bit value also draws more power and is less stable. So the lower 3 and 2-bit solutions offer better reliability and overall performance when a drive is used for sequential writing applications such as DaVinci Resolve and Premiere Pro.

Therefore looking at the specification, it might seem that the EVO is matched to the QVO, especially when it comes to transferspeeds but then the lower MLC value means that it should perform better when it comes to sequential writes.

Specification

  • Form Factor: 2.5-inch
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s Interface, compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s & SATA 1.5 Gb/s interface
  • Storage Memory: Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC
  • Cache Memory: Samsung 4 GB Low Power DDR4 SDRAM
  • Dimension (WxHxD): 100 X 69.85 X 6.8 (mm)
  • Weight: 48g

Features

At first glance, the specifications between the QVO and EVO may seem close, but that illusion is instantly broken when you see the price difference. The QVO is expensive, and the EVO accelerates past the QVO price point by a good £100 in general online shops.

Checking the Samsung website’s pricing and the price difference between the two should only be £50. However, checking the prices quoted on the Samsung website, they all seem to be a good £100 less than I could find anywhere online.

Samsung 870 EVO review

As with the 870 QVO, the form factor is that of a 2.5″ drive and features SATA (6Gb/s) interface. This means it will fit into an enclosure or a caddy so is compatible with most desktop PCs and Mac Pro 5.1’s.

The quoted read / write speeds are 560MB/s read, and 530MB/s write, so identical to the 870 QVO, more than fast enough for most photography and HD video editing needs.

The drive is available in 250, 500, 1024, 2048 and 4096GB versions; I’m looking at the 4098GB or 4TB model.

The DRAM cache is 4GB, and the DRAM memory type is LPDDR4.

The big difference between the two is the storage memory with the EVO featuring Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC and the QVO having Samsung V-NAND 4bit MLC.

Digging into the specifications a little further and seeing the Random reads of the EVO are 13,000 IOPS Random Read as opposed to 11,000 for the 870 QVO and 36,000 IOPS Random Write for the EVO as apposed to 35,000 IOPS for the 870 QVO. These figures give the EVO that slight edge for certain applications such as those used for video editing.

Aside from that, there is a weight difference with the EVO weighing in at 48g and the 870 QVO 54g.

Finally, as longevity is the main feature of this drive, it comes with a 5-year warranty, two years more than the 870 QVO.

Build and Handling

The 2.5-inch SATA form factor is common so finding either an enclosure or external caddy is easy enough.

In this test, I popped the drive inside an ICY BOX 2.5-inch USB-C enclosure.

Installation was straight forward and once installed and plugged into the Intel Skull Canyon. Windows recognised the empty drive, and the formating was quick and pain-free.

Samsung supply a series of software tools that can be downloaded and installed from the Samsung website, including the migration tool and the excellent Magician software.

I briefly looked at the Magician software when reviewing the 870 QVO, but this time with the EVO, I delved a little deeper and have to say I’m impressed. The tool is used for monitoring the performance and condition of the drive which is handy if you put your drives under a lot of strain working with video.

Performance

Before setting the drive into the external enclosure and crossing it from one platform to another, I started by popping the drive into an ATOMOS caddy and used it as a large capacity drive.

The drive was instantly recognised and formated and worked as expected. I’m not keen on using standard SATA SSD’s in the ATOMOS Ninja V for no other reason than they stick out of the side and a proper ATOMOS Micro SSD looks better.

Samsung 870 EVO review

If you’re not worried about the aesthetics, then the Samsung 870 EVO is a good fit and keeps up with all the resolutions and framerates the Sony A73 can throw at it.

Unplugging and linking into the MacBook Pro and the download speed was fast, 14.34GB took 32 seconds for 46 files ranging from 1.34GB to 41MB.

Using the drive with FCPX on the MacBook Pro and the speed of the drive during an hours 4K video editing was seamless. The only issue being the MacBook Pro powering down during the process despite being plugged into power, a sure sign that another MacBook Pro is for the Bin.

Reformatting to NTFS and editing restarted on the Ghost Canyon machine in DaVinci resolve, and again the speed of the drive kept up with everything thrown at it. The drive’s speed connected through USB-C to the PC kept up with the action, handeling edits and rendering with ease.

While the drive has so far performed well in all situations I’ve thrown at it; the final test is with the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test.

Here the results show what this drive is capable of. The results are:

Read: 520MB/s
Write: 483 MB/s

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