When we reviewed Intel’s NUC6i5SYC NUC Kit two things became apparent: it’s a well-spec’d system but not cheap, and we had to buy the other parts to make it work. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but the NUC threw us a curve ball by requiring the latest components relative to its size and the latest Skylake CPU.
Like the G.SKILL DDR4 laptop memory we had to buy, a M.2 SSD was also required. This type of storage is basically a PCI Express mini card, allowing more flexible ranges of modules that takes advantage of additional interface and connectivity features. Ideal traits as tablets and ultrabooks get slimmer, and a general improvement over the accompanying mSATA standard.
Coincidentally, I’ve been eyeing Samsung storage options for some time and would have picked one sooner if it weren’t for the initial prices — especially for their now-flagship SSD 950 Pro NVMe — which stands as one the best consumer-grade models available. But this also opens the door – and my wallet – to the 850 EVO M.2 SSD, a capable low-cost option when a normal SSD just won’t fit in your machine.
Think of the 850 EVO M.2 as a stick version of the venerable 2.5” 850 EVO SSD that’s been around for a couple of years. They have identical specs such as 3D V-NAND technology with 32 cell layers stacked in vertical orientation for density with Samsung controllers; a MGX chip for full performance at smaller size; and are readily available in capacities of 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB.
Other options include TurboWrite Technology for twice the amount of read and write speed, and the optional Samsung Magician software which offers RAPID Mode by utilizing idle DRAM for data caching up to 4GB on a 16GB memory arrangement.
Because the 850 EVO M.2 has been on the market for a little while I had a good idea of what to expect performance-wise, so I didn’t waste any time and jumped right into SiSoftware Sandra. If other manufacturers hadn’t caught up in terms of benchmarks his model would’ve easily been considered a top-class SSD like its 2.5” brother, however, the 850 EVO is now a mid-tier runner in this case. That’s not a criticism but a reality of the situation, with sequential read/write speeds clocking in at 513 MB/s and 305 MB/s respectively. Access times were also reasonable at .065ms if you’re after immediate OS boots.
Regardless of being on the market for roughly a year, the Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SSD is still a great unit of storage if you’re after the same performance in prohibitively trim mobile devices. It’s widely available and is now affordable for what you get (the 250GB seems to be the best all-around pick); I also appreciate the additional turbo features exclusive to this SSD stick. Overall, a solid choice made better by trickle-down economics.