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Samsung 860 Pro review

Samsung’s new 860 Pro SSD is the minivan of computer storage

Samsung’s latest high capacity SSD leaked a bit ahead of schedule with its pricing and specs briefly popping up on the Samsung online store, but there’s more to the 860 Pro than its hardware and a hefty price tag. Specs can’t really communicate how… boring this SSD really is in everyday use — or why that’s a very good thing.

That’s right. This 1TB SSD is nothing exciting. It’s boring, move-along-nothing-to-see-here-boring, and that’s why it’s great.

Boring is the new- no, it’s the same as always

Let’s clarify that a little. You want your processor to be exciting, you want it to be able to crunch numbers at unparalleled speeds. A quick processor is marketed with all bunch of redundant buzzwords that try to communicate how blisteringly fast it is — “limitless” and “uncompromising” get thrown around all over the place. For good reason though, you’ll feel every one of those new clock cycles when you invest in a new processor.

Samsung 860 Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Same deal for your GPU. Nvidia and AMD market their latest and greatest with words like “perfected” and “groundbreaking” to communicate how powerful they are. A new GPU is meant to be exciting. It means you can crank up those setting and game at 1440p or 4K. A powerful graphics card changes the way you experience games. It’s tangible.

Looking for high capacity SSD is like shopping for a family car — you want reliability and safety over speed.

What about your hard drive though? These are marketed with words like “reliable” and “stable.” A good hard drive is quick, sure, but it’s more important that it be reliable, especially if it’s in the 1TB range. That’s a lot of data to store in one place.

Looking for a hard drive with more than a terabyte of storage space is like shopping for a family car. Speed is good, but really you want safety and reliability. Your minivan might not be able to cruise down the highway at high speed, but really it’s more important that it gets everyone where they need to go safely. And that’s what the Samsung 860 Pro really is, it’s a minivan. Available in configurations up to 4TB, it’s a really big minivan, but the principle is the same.

Quick enough, but not jaw-dropping

During our tests the Samsung 860 Pro proved that it’s fast enough to keep you from feeling bogged down, but still a bit short of the kind of speed you’d see in a smaller, sportier PCIe or M.2 drive. It averaged a read speed of 562 megabytes-per-second, and a write speed of 531MB/s. For a SATA drive, that’s right around what we’d expect to see — just quick enough. Naturally, it’s a lot slower than the kind of speed you’d see out of an M.2 drive like the Samsung 960 Pro — which we usually see with a read speed of 2.5GB/s, and a write speed of 1.9GB/s.

Samsung 860 Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Samsung 860 Pro is, based on our results here, a strong, reliable performer. We can’t really test its long-term reliability, but based on Samsung’s track record here, and the fact that the Samsung 860 Pro comes standard with a five-year warranty, chances are this thing is going to outlast your processor and your GP — and it’s just a boring old hard drive. The Samsung 860 Pro, and its predecessor the Samsung 840 Pro both prove, when it comes to your sensitive data, that boring is a very, very good thing.

DT Editors' Rating: 4/5

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Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
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