So here am i with the new Samsung EVO 860 SSD (250 GB M2) ready to be deployed in all new Dell Inspiron 5580 to unleash the beast mode. Even top-class hardware will crawl if any of component is low grade, which in my case was 5400 rpm HDD. So i ordered SSD in the first place.
Since, I earlier had 2.5″ SATA SSD in my XPS laptop, which was an upgrade to 7200 RPM SATA HDD, it was impossible for me to continue with HDD only configuration in this new Inspiron as it was laggy everywhere with huge boot time, app open time, slow interface, etc. It’s like, once you get used to SSD, you just can’t accept HDD in any case. 😀
So got this Samsung EVO 860 SSD from Amazon @3599 during prime days. Normally it’s available for 5k approx with a MRP of 7999. A few years ago got the same SSD (EVO 850) in 2.5″ form factor for double the price ~8.5k. Technology & price have interesting relationships. 😀
Inside the box of Samsung EVO 860 SSD
1. Solid State Drive
2. Warranty & Installation Guide
3. Samsung Magician Software Leaflet
1. Highly reliable SSD by Samsung.
2. As expected, the performance boost is great.
3. Drive has great read/write speeds as per industrial standards.
3. 512 MB DRAM cache for performance improvement. Many SSD manufacturers skip this cache.
4. It comes with 5 years warranty or 150 TBW.
1. Samsung EVO 860 SSD doesn’t come with mounting screw. But that’s the case with all. Many laptops will already have it in place.
2. No heat sink provided. But again, the same is the case with all.
▶ Samsung is a pioneer in this department of SSD and its EVO series is distinguishable by its name only, but still, they can provide certain addon things mentioned above to further kill the competition.
▶ These cons affect initial setup and long term performance. 1 star deducted for that. So a ★★★★ star device.
Installation of Samsung EVO 860 SSD
→ I went on opening up all-new Inspiron 5580 (follow the link for the detailed review) to reveal the internals (following official guide by Dell available at support page) & install Samsung 860 EVO SSD. But a surprise was waiting inside to spoil my plans.
→ There was no SSD screw mount & screw inside. I contacted Dell customer care, hardware support, authorized seller/service center, local hardware shops, etc & spent hours over the phone but without any luck. So had to settle with the double-sided tape, which in fact is quite risky. But so far it’s working well. I’ll have some better custom screw mount arrangement in near future to secure SSD.
→ In general, most of the laptops won’t require any mount for SSD. Only a screw will suffice to secure it in place.
→ As expected, there’s huge performance improvement everywhere, super-fast boot time, snappy interface, faster apps, games, etc. In short beast mode is now active.
→ Installation instructions vary from model to model & manufacturer to manufacturer. So, it can’t be detailed here. To know about that, just head to the support page of your laptop manufacturer to find an official guide or perform a general search for disassembly instructions of your model. You will definitely find some text or video guide to do it.
→ Remember to use SSD as a primary OS drive, else your investment will be useless if you boot using HDD only and use it as a parallel storage drive only.
OS & Software setup
Once you install SSD you have two options to either clone HDD to SSD or to fresh install OS. I personally prefer a fresh install as it refreshes everything.
As a general practice, you should format & reinstall OS once every year to refresh it & to remove junk built up over time. You can always feel the difference after a fresh install. Also if you have recently upgraded your OS, a format or reset is recommended to avoid a variety of incompatibility issues that may arise.
1. Cloning can be done using any related software like Minitool Partition Wizard, EaseUS, Samsung Data Migration, etc. For this, you need to install SSD first and then clone the existing OS into SSD using the tool. After that, you need to make it the first boot device using Bios. You can easily find detailed guides for this task.
2. Fresh install is very simple. Just install the drive in the slot, use USB drive or DVD to install OS into the SSD and change boot options to make SSD as a first boot device. Before fresh install, you have the option to change the mode to AHCI or RAID via BIOS. Choose as per your needs. Changing it later on breaks the already installed OS and you won’t be able to boot into it.
Scores: HDD vs SSD
- 3D Mark 11: 3487 vs 3668
- PCMark 10: 2638 vs 3197
- PCMark 8: 3507 vs 3635
- Cinebench R20: 1151 vs 1175
- Read Speed: 134 MB/s vs 552 MB/s
- Write Speed: 123 MB/s vs 530 MB/s
- Boot Time (post-OS selection screen to windows desktop): 40 s vs 4 s
- Shutdown Time: 45 s vs 10 s
Samsung EVO 860 SATA vs WD Green SATA vs NVMe SSD
There is this WD green available for half the price of Samsung SSD, but if it’s cheaper, there’s a reason for that. Remember a thumb rule, “you get what you pay for”.
Samsung SSD comes with 5 yrs warranty while WD comes with 3 years warranty. These drives have limited life span wrt terabytes written, but Samsung is confident enough wrt their quality to provide you a 5 yrs warranty. There’re other hardware differences b/w both wrt built-in DRAM cache 512MB vs none, power consumption (2.2 W vs 2.8 W), controller, latency, technology, etc.
In all there’s WD Green (SATA) for budget-oriented people, then Samsung EVO 860 (SATA) in medium-range to balance price-performance ratio, & for extreme performance seekers there’s Samsung EVO Series (NVMe). HDD to SSD (SATA) & then to SSD (NVMe), performance & price both increase.
Read speed ratio is like- HDD : SSD (SATA) : SSD (NVMe) – 100:500:2000 MB/s.
So an obvious performance difference.
Samsung Magician is an interesting software that you can get officially. If performs a variety of tasks like auto firmware update, run performance benchmarks, run performance optimization, securely erase the disk, manage overprovisioning, manage rapid mode, etc.
You can always download & install it to avail above features and check the status of SSD in terms of condition, bytes written, etc.
Samsung Magician (Rapid Mode for SSD)
Rapid mode is part of the official Samsung Magician software which apparently boosts overall read/write speeds across the system.
As per Samsung’s website RAPID (Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data) mode speeds up the system by intelligent DRAM caching of data. Let’s check out benchmarks before and after RAPID mode, but first, we’ll check out how to enable it.
BUT remember this performance boost comes with a heavy toll on the available RAM, as, a part (up to 25%) of the RAM is reserved by the Magician software to be used for the DRAM cache. In the case below, see the increase in idle system RAM usage and the increase in non paged pool for the reserved RAM.
- Create a restore point before proceeding with this.
- Start Samsung Magician Software.
- Select applicable drive.
- Find Rapid mode toggle switch.
- Toggle it on and go through the various popups & warnings. The process will take a few seconds.
- After the process is completed, the software will ask for a restart. Restart windows to enjoy faster speeds.
Benchmarks before and after RAPID mode
We can see that there is a significant difference in the benchmark results, though the benchmark results from the Magician software are too good to be true. But yes, as we can see from the Crystal Disk Mark software, the difference is there, if not a huge one as shown by the Magician software.
Also, you do feel the difference across the system with the RAPID mode toggle on. It helps several apps with further fast startup times, fast access, processing, data read/write, etc.
Warranty & TBW thing
TBW or Terra Bytes Written is a term used by SSD manufacturers to assess how much data can be written to the SSD before it is likely to fail.
EVO 860 comes with 150 TBW or 5 years warranty, whichever occurs earlier. You can monitor TBW in Magician software. Don’t worry, 150 Terra Bytes is too much to be written to a hard disk and an average user is unlikely to shoot up this limit in 5 years or even 10 years.
So far, mine has 1.5 TBW in a matter of a month with medium usage (daily run time of 12-15 hours with browsing, blogging, video editing, gaming, etc). So it will have only 90 TBW by the end of 5 years at the current usage rate.
You can reduce TBW with few tweaks and restricting SSD to only critical things eg installing non-critical software to HDD, moving hibernation file to HDD in case if you use hibernation a lot, etc. Paging file also contributes a lot to TBW but it’s not recommended to move it to HDD as it will hamper performance a lot.
Verdict for Samsung EVO 860 SSD
→ Samsung EVO is a nice buy in this price range, balancing price to quality & performance ratio. If you want the best of both worlds, then this is the thing you should get. (Read/Write speeds approx 550/530 MB/s)
→ If on a tight budget, but want to have SSD goodness, go get WD Green for half the price of Samsung EVO 860 SATA SSD. You will still have huge performance differences visible across the OS if coming from regular HDD. (Read/Write speeds approx 100/80 MB/s to 500/450 MB/s)
→ If you can extend your budget further & your laptop supports NVMe standard on M2 slot, get NVMe SSD instead of SATA, say Samsung 960 EVO. (Read/Write speeds approx 3200/1900 MB/s)
→ If budget is not a concern to you and you just want the best of it, without any doubt get Samsung 960 Pro. (Read/Write speeds approx 3500/2100 MB/s)
Overall, getting SSD is recommended for obvious reasons. If not NVMe SSD, at least get a SATA SSD (be it WD Green or Samsung EVO, as per your budget) and unleash the hidden beast inside your rig.