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Samsung 870 Evo review: Ticks all the boxes

It won’t set pulses racing, but the 870 Evo gives an old PC a new lease of life with no grumbling

A photograph of the Samsung 870 Evo
Price
£56 exc VAT (500GB)
  • Reliable SATA performance
  • Free software tools
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Solid value
  • Speeds can’t match NVMe

​​It’s very hard for a SATA drive to set itself apart from the crowd. Every drive has to have the same basic size and shape, so it will fit into a standard bay. And performance is strictly limited by the interface, which can only transfer data at a rate of around 530MB/sec – even though today’s flash chips are capable of much higher speeds.

For that reason, when configuring or building a new PC we’d always choose a faster, more modern NVMe drive. But if you need to upgrade an older system, SATA is likely to be your cheapest and easiest option.

For that scenario, the Samsung 870 Evo is a perfectly good choice of SSD. There’s nothing really distinctive about it, but as we’ve discussed that’s hardly Samsung’s fault. And we have to say, it equally doesn’t get anything wrong.

Let’s start with performance: the 870 Evo didn’t falter in any of AS SSD’s tests. With sequential read and write rates of 528MB/sec and 499MB/sec respectively, it’s as fast as any other SATA drive you can buy. Likewise, random-access speeds of 378MB/sec and 339MB/sec were more or less in lock-step with other drives using the same connector. 

In fact, in the PCMark 10 storage benchmarks it achieved pretty good scores, racking up a score of 1,178 in the System Disk test and 1,473 in the Data Disk stakes. For comparison, Kingston’s KC600 scored 931 and 1,231 in the same tests – although no SATA drive can come close to a fast NVMe model such as the WD Black SN850, which clocked up scores of 3,502 and 5,984. 

The 870 Evo is reasonable value too. The 500GB model we tested can currently be had for £56 exc VAT, while the 1TB capacity is rather cheaper on a per-gigabyte basis, coming in at £86 exc VAT. These prices are pretty competitive with other comparable SSDs; Samsung’s own 870 QVO model is quite a bit cheaper, but its quad-level cell design means it’s not guaranteed to last so long. Samsung also offers the 870 Evo in 2TB and 4TB capacities, although these are niche options and are priced to match at £198 and £371 respectively.

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While the Samsung 870 Evo doesn’t come with much in the way of bells and whistles, it does support 256-bit AES hardware encryption. This can be managed through the shiny Samsung Magician toolkit, and if you don’t have a cloning solution already in place you can also download Samsung’s free Data Migration software to clone the contents of your old drive onto your new one – although you will need to find a way to get both disks connected at once.

With a five-year warranty and a promised write endurance of 600TBW for the 1TB model, the Samsung 870 Evo ticks all of the important boxes. If you need to upgrade an old PC or laptop then this drive will do the job with no ifs or buts.

Samsung 870 Evo specifications

Capacity

500GB

Cost Per Gigabyte

11p

Interface

SATA 6Gbits/sec

Claimed Read

560MB/sec

Claimed Write

530MB/sec

Warranty

5yr

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