Model: Samsung 870 QVO 1TB Solid State Drive
Manufacturer: Samsung Electronics
Provided By: Samsung America
Samsung Electronics has been a leader in the electronics industry for more than 30 years. Since the introduction of their first television in 1970, this Korean company has grown to become one of the world's leading electronics manufacturers, offering everything from tiny semiconductors to large home appliances. Samsung is no stranger to the storage industry either. Along with an assortment of DVD and Blu-ray Disc drives, the company offers both hard drive and flash based storage solutions for the portable and desktop computer markets.
Samsung recently introduced its second-generation quad-level cell (QLC) SSD, the 870 QVO. Delivering an uncompromising mix of speed, storage capacity and reliability, this new consumer-oriented drive is powered by Samsung's new MKX "Metis" controller and is available with up to 8TB of their latest 4-bit MLC V-NAND flash. To compensate for the slow write speeds typically associated with 4-bit NAND, the 870 QVO is equipped with Samsung's Intelligent TurboWrite technology, which uses a large variable SLC buffer to maintain peak performance levels. The drive also features an AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption engine and is compliant with various advanced security management solutions such as TCG Opal 2.0 and Encrypted Drive (IEEE-1667).
The 870 QVO is available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 8TB capacities. For this review, Samsung sent us the 1TB version of the drive, which is capable of delivering up to 560 MB/s sequential read and 530 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 98,000 random read and 88,000 random write IOPS.
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the 870 QVO has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Samsung's new SATA SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the 870 QVO have what it takes? Can it deliver the performance and features that we've come to expect from Samsung? Keep reading as we find out.
The 870 QVO comes in a small black box. Along with a picture of the drive, the packaging advertises a number of its key features including its 1TB capacity, rated speeds, V-NAND technology and 3 year warranty. Inside, you'll find the SSD as well as a small installation guide and warranty statement.
Like Samsung's other 2.5-inch SSDs, the 870 QVO is very well constructed. The drive's outer casing is made entirely out of aluminum and is very strong and lightweight. The 870 QVO also shares the same stealthy, gray and black color scheme found on the 860 QVO. In fact, the only real way to tell the two drives apart is to flip them over and look at the label on the bottom.
The 870 QVO uses Samsung's new MKX "Metis" controller. The company hasn't provided a lot of specifics regarding the controller's technical specs. However, if I had to fathom a guess, I'd say that its very similar to the MJX controller found in the 860 QVO with a handful of refinements to support Samsung's second-generation 4-bit MLC V-NAND flash in capacities up to 8TB.
For the 1TB version of the 870 QVO, Samsung used their own 9x-layer, 4-bit MLC V-NAND flash chips. Looking at the pictures above, you can see that there is a single 1TB NAND flash package on the top of the PCB. The drive also has a 1GB LPDDR4 DRAM memory chip that is used for caching.
The Samsung Magician software is designed to help users easily monitor the health and maximize the performance of their Samsung SSD. From the main screen, users can check the condition of their drives and view information like the temperature, total and available capacities and the total bytes written.
Magician also provides detailed information about each drive. In addition to the drive health and temperature, this screen shows the serial number, interface speed, firmware version and whether or not AHCI is activated. You can even see which volumes are on the drive and how much of the total capacity they are using.
Samsung's Magician software can also be used to benchmark the performance of a storage device. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that it tests the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive. Users can also compare these scores with past results to maintain the highest performance possible.
Using Magician, users can also do a diagnostic scan to find and fix any errors and optimize the performance and lifespan of their SSD by setting aside extra free space.
Magician also gives users the ability to improve the performance of their drive by forcing TRIM to run. In addition to this, users can enable RAPID (Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data) mode to accelerate their drive's performance through DRAM caching.
When enabled, RAPID mode is inserted as a filter driver in the Windows storage stack. The driver actively monitors all storage-related activity between and among the operating system, user applications and the SSD. The RAPID technology analyzes system traffic and leverages spare system resources (DRAM and CPU) to deliver read acceleration through intelligent caching of hot data and write optimization through tight coordination with the SSD.
Samsung's Magician software also includes a number of data management features. Along with the ability to permanently delete sensitive data, it can unlock and reset your drive to its factory setting by entering the 32-character PSID password printed on the drive label. Last, but not least, Magician gives you the ability to activate Encrypted Drive to protect private and sensitive data. The software lets you review your drive’s current security settings and helps you with the security setup process.
The test system used in this review is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD3 motherboard, 32GB (16GB x 2) of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory, Samsung 960 PRO 512GB SSD and a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G graphics card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Samsung's 870 QVO SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach RW, ATTO Disk Benchmark, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro, Anvil's Storage Utilities, Iometer and PCMark 8. For comparison, I've also included test results from the SK hynix Gold S31, ADATA Ultimate SU750, Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 860 PRO, Crucial MX500, Plextor M8V, Crucial BX300, ADATA Ultimate SU900, Plextor S3C, Toshiba OCZ VX500, ADATA Ultimate SU800, Plextor S2C, Crucial MX300, Plextor M7V, PNY CS1311, OCZ Trion 150, PNY CS2211, Plextor M6V, Crucial BX200, OCZ Trion 100, Kingston HyperX Savage, Crucial MX200, OCZ Vector 180, Kingston BX100, Samsung 850 EVO M.2, Samsung 850 EVO mSATA, AMD Radeon R7, Silicon Power Slim S80, Samsung SSD 850 EVO, OCZ ARC 100, SanDisk Ultra II, Crucial MX100, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Samsung SSD 850 PRO.
As I mentioned earlier, the 870 QVO uses Samsung's MKX controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Samsung, the 870 QVO is capable of reading at 560 MB/s and writing at 530 MB/s. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the drive had no problems reaching these speeds in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write tests.
The 870 QVO performed equally well when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 562.7 MB/s and write at 533.0 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 184.108.40.206:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the 870 QVO's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the 870 QVO had average read and write speeds of 471.5 MB/s and 98.2 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 473.7 MB/s. The screenshot also shows the transition from TurboWrite to what Samsung calls "After TurboWrite" speeds. The 870 QVO starts writing at about 450 MB/s and then drops to about 80 MB/s when the consecutive write operation exceeds the size of the SLC buffer.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the 870 QVO's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the 870 QVO's read speeds topped out at about 557 MB/s and its write speeds at 522 MB/s.
AS SSD is a benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests which are used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the 870 QVO's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The 870 QVO performed relatively well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 514.0 MB/s and 252.7 MB/s, respectively.
When writing 4KB blocks, the 870 QVO reached 28,627 IOPS and had an average speed of 111.824 MB/s. The drive was faster when reading, reaching 29,203 IOPS with an average speed of 114.078 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the 870 QVO's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The 870 QVO's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 533.04 MB/s and write at 483.79 MB/s.
The 870 QVO also performed very well when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 199.84 MB/s and write at an impressive 342.08 MB/s.
According to Samsung, the 1TB version of the 870 QVO is capable of 98,000 IOPS when reading and 88,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 51,158 random read IOPS and 87,574 random write IOPS. Increasing the queue depth had little impact on the 870 QVO's random write performance. However, with the queue depth set to 32, the drive was able to reach 97,397 random read IOPS.
Vantage PCMark 8 - Storage Test:
PCMark 8 is a complete benchmark for Windows. It includes five benchmark tests, each designed around a specific scenario. The storage benchmark measures drive performance using real-world traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games.
PCMark 8 also includes a consistency test which measures the performance consistency and degradation tendency of a storage system. The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state and the recovered state as well as the number of iterations required to reach them. For this test, we are focusing on the Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace and will look at both the bandwidth and latency of the drive
The 870 QVO's performance was hit and miss in this test. During the degradation and steady phases, the drive's bandwidth dropped below 100 MB/s, pushing its latency well above the 400ms mark. The 870 QVO recovered quickly though, topping out at about 232 MB/s.
While SSDs offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the 870 QVO's TRIM function, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill the entire drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the 870 QVO's average read and write speeds dropped to 344.2 MB/s and 14.0 MB/s, respectively.
Samsung 870 QVO - Dirty
To see how well the 870 QVO could recover, I let the computer sit for about 30 minutes and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its average write speed jumped up to 338.9 MB/s.
Samsung 870 QVO - After Trim
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the 870 QVO. With the drive wiped clean, it had average read and write speeds of 469.4 MB/s and 432.3 MB/s, respectively.
Samsung 870 QVO - Secure Erase
In the past, consumers had to choose between the superior performance of SSDs and the high capacity of hard drives. With Samsung's new 870 QVO SSD, they can now get the best of both worlds. Designed and built entirely in-house, this new SATA SSD is powered by Samsung's own MKX "Metis" controller and is available with up to 8TB of their latest 4-bit MLC V-NAND flash. Combine this with the company's Intelligent TurboWrite technology and you have a drive that delivers speed, storage capacity and reliability at a reasonable price. In our tests, the 1TB version of the 870 QVO was able to read at speeds as high as 561 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 531 MB/s. It also had no problems holding its own in our random write tests, producing more than 87,000 IOPS at low queue depths.
Of course, speed and capacity aren't the only things the 870 QVO has to offer. Along with support for Samsung's Intelligent TurboWrite technology, the drive features AES 256-bit full disk encryption and is compliant with both the TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667 specifications. The 870 QVO also supports the Device Sleep (DEVSLP) standard which extends the battery life of a device by reducing the drive's power consumption when it's not in use. To top it all off, the drive works with Samsung's Magician software and is covered by a 3 year warranty with an endurance rating of up to 2,880 terabytes written (TBW) for the 8TB model.
The 870 QVO is available now in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities. Prices on Amazon.com start at $130 for the 1TB version and go up to $500 for the 4TB drive. The 8TB version is expected to ship in late August for about $900.
- Equipped with 4-bit MLC V-NAND technology
- Available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 8TB capacities
- Good sequential read and write speeds under most conditions
- Good random read and write performance
- Features Intelligent TurboWrite technology
- Large DRAM cache
- Supports TRIM and garbage collection
- AES 256-bit full disk encryption
- TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667 compliant
- DEVSLP power mode
- Includes SSD Magician software and Data Migration Tool
- Reasonably priced
- 3 year warranty
- Write speed drops considerably when SLC cache is full
- Lower endurance than many TLC NAND-based SSDs