Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD revisited - 6 months of time, 40TBs of writes, and one firmware later...
Back on July 24th 2015, I purchased my first 850 EVO SSD. A whopping 2TB in size, which was an admittedly huge investment:
But its fate was to be my "daily driver." Used and abused all day and much of the evening. The same Windows 10 install is booted natively some days in my laptop, and other times, as an ESXi 6 Windows 10 VM in my SuperServer Workstation.
So that first 30 days, this drive had to work well, or it had to go back to Newegg. My order was so "early days" that Amazon didn't even have them in stock yet, so I went with Newegg. Luckily, even with that first firmware, it seemed to work out well. Then the months went by...
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 2TB 2.5"
Amazon - Samsung 850 EVO 2 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E2T0B/AM)
- Newegg - SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E2T0B/AM 2.5" 2 TB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Now, 6 months of happy ownership later, I figured it was time to check in on its performance again, having been bitten by some Samsung 840 PRO mSATA performance problems in the past. So I booted my 850 EVO back up on a ThinkPad W520 laptop that I call tZilla. Luckily, things turned out pretty well, again, with Samsung improving the ownership experience.
Today, Saturday, is a great day for housekeeping, since the demands of work are less likely to get in the way should something go a little sideways.
Earlier this week, when doing some Samsung 950 PRO NVMe Windows driver updates recently, I noticed that Samsung Magician 4.9.5 had been released. So I installed 4.9.5 on this W520 too, and it suggested the new firmware EMT02B6Q, since I was still back at EMT01B6Q.
To prepare to upgrade and minimize risk, I first made sure I had a complete system backup using Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, and made sure my SSD wasn't more than 90% full.
I then ran some quick checks on performance to get some baselines, for a simple before-and-after comparison. Finally, I fired up the Camtasia video recording, just in case something interesting happened. Turns out I'm glad I did!
Benchmark software used - used at default install settings
Download Samsung Magician to update your Samsung 850 EVO firmware:
Observations made and lessons learned
Backup first, as is always a good idea, especially when doing firmware upgrades to your boot drive.
If you're upgrading your Samsung 850 EVO, you may want to leave your system alone for a while after the upgrade, since there's a noticeable performance impact and some elevated drives temps right after the firmware upgrade shutdown/power up, when Windows 10 Defrag kicks off a rather lengthly background TRIM operation of some sort, likely keeping the SSD's controller busy.
During that SSD busy-time, Windows 10 kept warning me every few minutes with a pop-out window from the Action Center, pictured below:
The duration of the degradation seems to be about 1 hour per TB of capacity, so for me, that meant about 2 hours of performance degradation.
It appears both read and write speeds went up quite a bit at the crucial 4K size, and the overall average speed improved by roughly 18%, evident in the screenshots below, taken from video playback.
- I cannot really determine if the firmware or the new TRIM optimizations are what sped things up here, only time will tell if these speeds remain the same over time. This drive is about 85% full, also pictured below.
FEB 02 2016 Update
Like the [Samsung 950 PRO]'s Dynamic Thermal Throttling Protection technology, the 850 PRO's has Dynamic Thermal Guard.
Well, with the benefit of cooler temperatures and a few more days since the upgrade, and:
- the performance is consistent
- little noticeable warm-up between these brief tests
- speeds have apparently gotten even better, with average reading of 227 MB/sec before the firmware upgrade and average readings around 326 MB/sec after. That's about a 30% speed boost!
I can't really conclude anything else from this experience, other than to say that the temperatures I ran these tests at may have affected the initial findings, or that I merely should have waited longer before re-testing. Either way, one thing is for sure: I'm happy with this EMT02B6Q firmware so far. I'm also glad to have recorded the results, so now I easily retest in the months ahead, to determine whether those speeds have kept up. Your tests may only be very roughly like mine. More important is the comparison between before and after on your system, with your settings.
Let us all know how the firmware upgrade goes on your 850 EVO by dropping a comment below.
FEB 03 2016 Update
Nope, it's not the temps. Ran ATTO and HD Tune a couple of times, at the same time, to heat that 850 EVO right up. Once I passed 55C, the Windows 10 popup warnings (that I mentioned earlier) came up again. At 56C, the HD Tune Pro benchmark still finishes up just fine, with good speeds, seen below.
JUL 19 2016 Update
I had recently noticed my performance has dropped, just didn't have a chance to do much about it yet. Things like suspending and resuming a large VM that I use daily, where all 8GB of RAM gets swapped out, then back in again.
Yesterday, along came this comment by Alex9. The net of the dialogue is that I don't know if my recent mishap where I accidentally filled the C: drive to 100% capacity during a large file copy operation caused my recent performance drop. Running TRIM (through Windows defrag) didn't help. More actions to remediate will be taken, then I'll add an update to this article.
See also at TinkerTry
World's fastest consumer SSD - Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe benchmark results
My experience with the Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD, and how it fits into my hybrid home lab strategy
Superguide: SuperServer home virtualization lab storage tiers, platinum through bronze, how many efficient drives fit inside this tiny chassis?
My 1TB mSATA Samsung 840 EVO SSD read speed slowdown, no regrets, there's a fix
Here's a bunch of storage related stuff I learned this month, including experience with my new 1TB SSD
Order a TinkerTry'd Supermicro SuperServer Bundle - powerful and efficient home virtualization lab solutions
- Superguide: Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T - THE Ultimate Home Virtualization Lab
Samsung Consumer SSD Downloads at samsung.com/samsungssd
How do I update firmware in DOS mode? / How do I make a Bootable USB Disk? / How do I make a Bootable CD/DVD?
Samsung 840 EVO Performance Restoration Tool preview - Getting EVOs back up to speed
Oct 14 2014 by Allyn Malventano at PC Perspective
- The Ultimate Guide To SSD Benchmark Software
Oct 01 2015 by Les Tokar at The SSD Review