The Samsung 870 QVO (1TB & 4TB) SSD Review: QLC Refreshed
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The Samsung 870 QVO (1TB & 4TB) SSD Review: QLC Refreshed

by Billy Tallison June 30, 2020 11: 40 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • SSDs
  • Storage
  • Samsung
  • SATA
  • V-NAND

A year and a half ago, Samsung introduced the first person SATA SSDs to use QLC NAND flash memory, squeezing an extra bit into each memory cell, yielding the 860 QVO to join the existing lineup of 860 EVO and PRO. Samsung’s second-generation QLC NAND is now ready, and the 870 QVO is the first 870 mannequin to be launched.

The industry put a lot of effort into preparing for the arrival of QLC NAND: beefing up error correction to compensate for lower write endurance, and tuning cache algorithms on person drives to forestall dealing with lower performance after SLC caches lag out. But in spite of all the work it took to make QLC SSDs viable, they haven’t made grand of a splash and definitely aren’t displacing TLC from the market yet.

The unusual Samsung 870 QVO SSDs arrive into a market landscape that would not examine all that totally different to what the 860 QVO faced at the pause of 2018. Samsung is no longer the most efficient brand selling person SATA SSDs with QLC NAND, nonetheless it absolutely’s not a tall club. Most of the various QLC SATA drives are so low-pause that the manufacturers received’t commit to using any particular memory inside, and they’re using whatever is cheapest at the moment. Some months, there’s more to be saved by going with a DRAMless controller and TLC NAND that fell off the back of a truck, rather than using Samsung’s strategy of pairing theoretically cheaper QLC NAND with a solid controller.

QLC NAND has had a bit more of an impact in the NVMe SSD market, where a few more brands are experimenting with using QLC to maketalldrives cheaper, rather than simply making cheap drives even cheaper. That’s the same goal that Samsung had for the 860 QVO and now the 870 QVO: bringing multi-TB SSDs into the mainstream. Samsung’s most viewed contribution to that goal can be the introduction of the first 8TB person SATA SSD: the 8TB 870 QVO. That mannequin is due to arrive a small bit later in August, and we gain not have a sample yet. Today, we’re looking at the 1TB and 4TB capacities of the 870 QVO.

Samsung MKX controller and LPDDR4 DRAM

The Samsung 870 QVO is an incremental update to the 860 QVO. The QLC NAND has been updated from Samsung’s 64-layer V-NAND to their 92-layer V-NAND. For his or her NVMe product line, this change produced the 970 EVO Plus as a successor to the 970 EVO with out even updating the controller, and the 970 PRO did not get updated at all. The 870 QVO does bring a controller update, replacing the MJX with the MKX in Samsung’s lengthy line of SATA SSD controllers. Samsung hasn’t disclosed any particular enhancements to their controller or firmware architecture, and we suspect this iteration is a more minor update than the last one. We know that the older MJX controller was already capable of supporting 8TB pressure capacities, so that wasn’t the driving pressure for this controller update.

Samsung 870 QVO Specifications
Capacity1 TB2 TB4 TB8 TB
Gain Factor2.5″ 7mm SATA
ControllerSamsung MKX
NAND FlashSamsung 1Tbit 92L 3D QLC
Max SLC Cache Measurement42 GB78 GB78 GB78 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
SLC530 MB/s
QLC80 MB/s160 MB/s
IOPS (4kB)
QD111k (SLC)
5k (QLC)
11k (SLC)
5k (QLC)
QD3298k (SLC)
45k (QLC)
98k (SLC)
74k (QLC)
IOPS (4kB)
QD135k (SLC)
22k (QLC)
35k (SLC)
34k (QLC)
QD3288k (SLC)
22k (QLC)
88k (SLC)
42k (QLC)
Read2.1 W2.1 W2.2 W2.4 W
Write2.2 W3.0 W3.2 W3.3 W
Idle30 mW30 mW35 mW45 mW
DevSlp3 mW4 mW7 mW10 mW
Warranty3 years
Write Endurance360 TB
0.3 DWPD
720 TB
0.3 DWPD
1440 TB
0.3 DWPD
2880 TB
0.3 DWPD

Samsung continues to provide more detailed performance specifications than any totally different person SSD dealer. The tall top-line numbers that all people reports are hardly value mentioning for a SATA pressure; almost any pressure can saturate the 6Gbps interface below ideal situations, with random or sequential reads or writes at a excessive ample queue depth. Samsung goes the extra mile to provide specs for performance at queue depth 1, and performance after the SLC cache runs out. Some of those numbers examine lovely brutal: sequential write speeds dropping to a mere 80MB/s for the 1TB mannequin, and even random reads are considerably slower when accessing QLC data rather than the SLC cache. But overall, these specs are very similar to the 860 QVO. Random write performance at QD1 appears to have taken a bit of a hit, nonetheless in all places else performance for the 870 QVO is rated to be equal or a bit higher than its predecessor.

The 870 QVO product line tranquil starts at 1TB, the minimum measurement wanted to put 8 controller channels to work when using 1024Gbit NAND dies. That smallest capacity mannequin comes with some significant performance deficits relative to the multi-TB objects, in grand the same fashion as 256GB TLC drives fall behind their larger counterparts, or 512GB capacities for excessive-performance NVMe SSDs. The most notable limitations of the 1TB 870 QVO are the post-cache write pace of 80 MB/s compared to 160 MB/s, and the cache measurement that is almost halved. Together that means the 1TB mannequin is more at risk of exhibiting unacceptable performance when the SLC write cache runs out, nonetheless at 42GB this mannequin’s cache can tranquil handle more writes than many users construct in an complete day of desktop usage.

Samsung’s warranty for the 870 QVO is 0.3 pressure writes per day for 3 years. Right here’s comparable to many low-pause person TLC drives and a step up from most totally different person QLC drives that are rated for 0.1 to 0.15 DWPD (sometimes over a 5-year warranty duration, nonetheless that’s tranquil fewer total writes than the 870 QVO is rated for).

Introductory MSRPs for the 870 QVO are decreased from what the 860 QVO debuted at, with $50 off the 2TB and $100 off the 4TB. But that merely puts the 870 QVO’s launch MSRP on par with the unusual road costs for the 860 QVO. And because or not it is Samsung, the pricing is just not low ample to rule out comparing against mainstream TLC SATA SSDs and entry-level NVMe SSDs, especially for the lower capacities.

In a way, that’s simply for this review, because the 870 QVO would not have grand state competition in the accomplish of totally different large QLC SATA drives. Most of the SSDs that are considerably cheaper than the 860/870 QVOs are DRAMless SSDs, usually TLC nonetheless occasionally QLC. The cheapest entry-level NVMe SSDs are all either DRAMless with TLC, or use QLC with a more mainstream controller.

For this review, we are comparing the 870 QVO against the following:

  • The 870 QVO’s immediate predecessor, the 860 QVO
  • The ADATA Ultimate SU750 and Patriot P200, two totally different DRAMless TLC SATA drives. The SU750 uses a Realtek controller and the 2TB P200 extinct a Maxio controller, both budget strategies.
  • The Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO as mainstream SATA SSDs with TLC NAND. The MX500 has always been one among the most affordable mainstream SATA SSDs from a major brand, and the 860 EVO generally marks the most it makes sense to pay for SATA SSDs—any more, and the cash can be higher spent on a simply NVMe SSD.
  • The Intel 660p: one among the handful of QLC NVMe SSDs on the market. The 660p is being replaced by the more moderen 665p nonetheless both are tranquil widely available. Regardless that the 665p is a bit faster, the 660p tranquil has no hassle running circles around SATA drives below the apt situations.

We gain not have any non-Samsung 4TB person SSDs to compare against; the Western Digital Blue is simply about the most efficient totally different 4TB person SATA SSD, and Sabrent’s Phison E12-based Rocket and Rocket Q drives are the unusual strategies on the NVMe facet. The remainder of the 4+ TB SSD strategies are undertaking drives that lack SLC caching and idle strength management and are way dearer than anything else this review is looking at.

Ultimately, most of the competition against multi-TB SSDs comes from hard drives, the incumbent alternatives for excessive-capacity drives. Multi-TB hard drives are tranquil vastly cheaper than multi-TB SSDs, nonetheless for many customers the tall examine posed by drives treasure the 870 QVO is whether or not or not it is reasonable yet to transfer all their storage over to solid-state. That would not necessarily require SSDs to match hard drives on a $/GB basis, because there are loads of advantages to SSDs that are value paying at least a bit extra for.

Representing the hard pressure market, we have a Western Digital WD Pink 4TB, the pre-SMR WD40EFRX mannequin. It is the most fresh and largest hard pressure I have on hand, because my house office has been drowning in SSDs for years. (A good challenge to have.)

AnandTech 2018 User SSD Testbed
CPUIntel Xeon E3 1240 v5
MotherboardASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
ChipsetIntel C232
Memory4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920×[email protected]
SoftwareWindows 10 x64, version 1709
Linux kernel version 4.14, fio version 3.6
Spectre/Meltdown microcode and OS patches fresh as of May 2018
  • Thanks to Intel for the Xeon E3 1240 v5 CPU
  • Thanks to ASRock for the E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
  • Thanks to G.SKILL for the Ripjaws DDR4-2400 RAM
  • Thanks to Corsair for the RM750 strength provide, Carbide 200R case, and Hydro H60 CPU cooler
  • Thanks to Quarch for the HD Programmable Energy Module and accessories
  • Thanks to StarTech for providing a RK2236BKF 22U rack cabinet.

Cache Measurement Results