Samsung upped the ante with its SSD 850 Pro six months ago and in that time no one has been able to reclaim the performance crown. To be fair, no real attempts have been made either, in part because we are at the end of the line for SATA 6Gb/s performance oriented SSDs.
As we said back then, the SSD 850 Pro is the 'last hoorah' for SATA 6Gb/s leaving virtually no room left for performance to grow. However, because SATA remains the mainstream interface and won't go away any time soon, the next logical step would be to make that maxed performance cheaper. Samsung achieved this feat with the 850 Evo.
The original 850 Evo 500GB 2.5" SATA drive is selling online for just $190 ($0.38 per gigabyte) while the Crucial MX200 500GB costs $205 ($0.41 per gigabyte) and the BX100 500GB is just $180 ($0.36 per gigabyte).
Samsung has set the MSRP for the 500GB mSATA and M.2 850 Evo at $230, which is pretty darn close to the Crucial MX200. The 120GB models are selling for $80, 250GB drives are going for $130 and the 1TB mSATA version is fetching $450.
Installed in an ultraportable tool tray
In terms of price vs. performance, the mSATA and M.2 versions of the 850 Evo are pretty bang on. As expected, the mSATA and M.2 varieties perform exactly the same as the 2.5" SATA model we tested originally. Sadly, the M.2 model doesn't remove any bandwidth limitations as it's still using what is exclusively a SATA controller.
The Plextor M6e M.2 drive featured in this review can use the PCIe x2 2.0 interface which is why we see sequential read speeds peak at over 700MB/s.
There doesn't seem to be much point in desktop users purchasing an 850 Evo M.2 as performance and pricing is the same as the 2.5" SATA models yet M.2 sockets aren't nearly as widespread as SATA ports.
The mSATA range is more interesting despite the fact that the M.2 interface will inevitably replace mSATA. Furthermore, increasingly fewer motherboards are offering mSATA ports despite the fact that we feel it's an essential feature for any Mini-ITX motherboard.
The mSATA and M.2 versions of Samsung's 850 Evo will ultimately be much more valuable for mobile devices that support these form factors.