Samsung 960 Evo 500GB review

Near-professional performance at a comparatively reasonable price

Price
£189
  • Rated for 200TB; Comes with data migration tools; Built-in AES-256 encryption
  • Not the cheapest drive

Samsung's 'Evo' SSDs are aimed at value-conscious shoppers who don't need the flat-out speed of a top-tier drive. Accordingly, the 960 Evo isn't quite as fast as Samsung's 960 Pro. It's still one heck of a performer, though - and the price is distinctly lower, making it a very compelling proposition indeed.

It's still not a cheap drive. The 500GB model we tested costs nearly 100 more than the competing Crucial MX300, and that drive gives you an extra 25GB to play with.

But fire up the benchmarks and it's clear that you get what you pay for. The 960 Evo put in a superb performance in CrystalDiskMark, with a sequential read speed of 1,931MB/sec - only Samsung's own 960 Pro did better. We also tried a multi-threaded sequential read test, and saw an astronomical transfer rate of 3,049MB/sec, indicating that there's bandwidth to spare.

Sequential write performance is also superb, though Samsung's Polaris controller evidently struggles with multi-threaded random write operations: here the 960 Evo dropped into the lower half of the table. Still, its score of 205MB/sec is hardly disgraceful against a group average of 226MB/sec.

You don't need to worry too much about wearing the 960 Evo out: the drive's rated for 200 terabytes written. That's only half as much as the 960 Pro, but it's equivalent to saving more than 5GB of data every single day for ten years, which should be more than ample for a personal computer.

Two final points seal the 960 Evo's appeal: first of all, it comes with Samsung's own Data Migration tool, which handles the fiddly business of cloning your existing Windows installation from your old hard disk onto the 960 Evo. You can even specify individual files to exclude, so you can move from a larger drive without having to get too bogged down in housekeeping.

Secondly, the 960 Evo has built-in AES-256 encryption, with support for the Opal and eDrive encryption standards, so you can apply full-disk password protection - as long as your BIOS supports it, or you're using a version of Windows that includes BitLocker.

If nothing but the absolute best will do then by all means pay the extra for the 960 Pro. But for most people, the 960 Evo is all the SSD you need. Performance is only a half-step behind its premium sibling, and the price is much easier to stomach.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 275

Verdict

For most people, the 960 Evo is all the SSD you need. Performance is only a half-step behind its premium rivals, and the price is much easier to stomach.

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