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Samsung 750 EVO SSD review: Like butter, but better

Jon L. Jacobi | Aug. 29, 2016
Everything you like about the 850 EVO and more.

The new Samsung 750 EVO is only a slightly different beast than its predecessor, the 850 EVO, but the differences are all to the good. The most salient is the speed at which it reads and writes large files. The 750 has a bit more cache, so you won’t work outside of its bounds as often—and when you do, sustained operations are a bit faster.

The icing on the cake? The 750 EVO is also less expensive than its 850 kin. The 500GB drive we tested is only $149 MSRP (and $139 on Amazon), though much of the drop has to do with the general lowering of NAND prices. The 750 EVO isn’t the cheapest SSD out there, but it was within about $15 of that distinction when this was written. And given that Samsung is very good at this SSD stuff, perhaps a slight premium is in order.

Specifications

The 750 EVO we tested is a 2.5-inch, TLC NAND-based, SATA 6Gbps SSD using the latest version of Samsung’s MGX controller. Because 3-bit TLC-NAND isn’t as fast as SLC or MLC (1-bit Single-Level/2-bit Multi-Level Cell) NAND, when written to a drive’s full capacity, three bits at at time, some portion of a drive is often used to mimic those faster NAND types. This portion of faster-acting NAND is referred to as the drive’s cache. And while it helps mitigate the potential performance lag of TLC NAND, the trade-off is that the cache reduces the amount of overall storage.  

ssd750evo500gb 004 dynamic black 1

The 750 EVO could’ve been called the 860 EVO, following Samsung’s progression from 840 to 850 to... We’re not sure why Samsung backslid on the designation.

From the appearance of the dialog during a 20GB copy (shown below in the Performance section), Samsung devoted about 7GB to 8GB worth of NAND to cache. There’s also a smaller, faster 256MB DRAM cache to speed common small-file operations.

Performance

We’ve already mentioned that the 750’s performance exceeds that of the 850, but it retains a favorite trait of the 850—smooth, consistent copying. With many TLC drives, writing outside the cache creates a noticeable dip while the drive figures out what’s going on. Not with the 850 or 750. Look below at the capture from our 20GB single-file write and marvel at the magnificent steadiness while not using the cache!

samsung 750 evo copy

Even after it exceeds the size of the cache, the 750’s performance is good for a TLC NAND-based drive. And extremely consistent.

AS SSD rated the 750 EVO as reading at 505MBps and writing at 407MBps. Of course, AS SSD writes only 10GB, so a large part of the test occurred within the cache. In our 20GB copy tests, the writing dropped off to about 310MBps and held steady there. That’s about 30MBps faster than we saw from the 850 under similar conditions—a nice improvement. While writing to the cache, we saw speeds between 400MBps and 420MBps.

 

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