Samsung shrinks down popular 850 EVO Solid State Drive (SSD) to deliver miniature storage for mobile workstations


Samsung has taken its 2.5-inch 850 EVO Solid State Drive (SSD) and shrunk it down for both mSATA and M.2 form factors. The miniaturised drives, which can store up to 500GB (M.2) or 1TB (mSATA), can be housed in some mobile workstations (see later) and ultrathin PCs.

Both drives feature Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology, which stacks cells on top of each other to deliver higher density and better performance with a smaller footprint.

Key features include Samsung’s TurboWrite technology, which caches writes to a high-speed buffer before writing data to the core NAND flash memory, and AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption to keep data secure.

The Samsung 850 EVO mSATA comes in 1TB, 500GB, 250GB and 120GB capacities and boasts the same read/write speeds as the 2.5-inch 850 EVO, with read speeds of up to 540 megabytes per second (MB/s) and write speeds of up to 520 MB/s.

The 850 EVO M.2, which uses SATA rather than PCIe, will be available in 500GB, 250GB and 120GB capacities, offers read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds of up to 500MB/s. It is 80mm in length.

Both drives have a five-year limited warranty and an endurance rating of 150 total bytes written (TBW) for the 500GB and above capacities.

The Dell Precision M3800 slimline mobile workstation: a prime candidate for a 1TB Samsung SSD EVO 850 mSATA upgrade

So, where can they be used?

While all of this technology sounds great, for CAD users the important thing to know is where the drives can be used. Not everywhere is the short answer.

M.2 has gained a little traction in desktop workstations, but their need is few and far between as most machines tend to have plenty of room for multiple 3.5 or 2.5-inch drives. mSATA is more popular in mobile workstations, but many models still rely on traditional 2.5-inch drives with the larger 17-inch machines being able to hold two or three of this traditional form factor.

The most likely market for the new 850 EVO mSATA is in upgrades, either from HDD to SSD for superior performance or larger capacity SSDs (1TB is much bigger than most workstation manufacturers currently offer). Likely machines include badged mobile workstations from Clevo (carried by Scan or Workstation Specialists), older generation mobile workstations such as the original HP ZBook 15 G1, or current generation Dell Precision mobile workstations. The slimline Dell Precision M3800, which supports fewer drives than the Precision M4800 or Precision M6800, is a prime candidate.

There’s no place for Samsung’s tiny SSDs inside HP’s new ZBook G2 mobile workstations though as HP has standardized on its own PCIe M.2 HP Z Turbo drive. Lenovo only supports 2.5-inch drives in its ThinkPad mobile workstations, as does Fujitsu in its Celsius H730.

But Samsung’s compact SSDs don’t have to be used internally. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 can also be transformed into an ultra portable USB pocket drive simply by plugging into Startech’s tidy M.2 SATA external SSD enclosure.

Startech’s M.2 SATA external SSD enclosure can be used to transform the Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 into an ultra portable USB pocket drive. (iPhone 5S for scale)

Prices are as follows (including VAT):

Samsung 850 EVO mSATA

120GB – £62

250GB - £100 5

00GB - £179 1TB - £350

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA 3

120GB – £62

250GB - £100

500GB - £179


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