Samsung's New 850 Pro SSD Uses The World's First 3D Flash Memory

If you like fast PCs, have we got some news for you. Samsung has a new SSD — the 850 Pro — that promises the lowest ever power consumption, some of the fastest speeds, and a novel flash cell design that'll have competitors scrambling.

The new 850 Pro SSD is the world's first consumer-grade solid-state drive to use 3D V-NAND flash memory, packing 32 layers of flash memory cells onto each NAND chip in a "proprietary vertical cell structure", where non-3D silicon only uses a single layer. This stacking enables much higher memory density, which means good things for transfer rates and general all-round performance, as well as much reduced power consumption.

Samsung has sold 3D NAND drives for some time already, for use in big-business servers and other enterprise applications, but this second-generation tech has finally made its way onto the computer store shelf. Perhaps the biggest selling point of the 850 Pro is the fact that it's the most energy-efficient SSD on the market at the moment; it uses a mere 3.3 Watts to read and 3W to write at full power, idles at 0.4W, and consumes basically zero power — 0.002W — in device sleep mode. This is good news for Ultrabook owners; switching to the 850 Pro should have a significant positive impact on battery life.

The 850 Pro will be available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities (as the 840 EVO last year pioneered). For now, it's a 2.5-inch model only, using 6Gbs SATA3 with backwards compatibility to SATA2 and SATA — although an mSATA drive for smaller laptops should be on the way too. The hardware itself sounds pretty great, but Samsung's Magician software is the real clincher; it'll work with the new drive to signficantly boost transfer rates through smart RAM caching and prevent any overheating or other errors.

As outright speeds go, the 850 Pro is no slouch; it clocks 550MBps sequential read and 520MBps sequential write rates according to Samsung's testing, although the 128GB model can only manage 470MBps write. This is standard stuff for any SSD, since less capacious drives use smaller flash memory cells that are slightly slower to operate.

The new 850 Pro will be available in Australia in a few months, although we haven't been able to get confirmed local pricing just yet. Stay tuned for that, and a full review, soon!

Campbell Simpson traveled to Seoul, South Korea as a guest of Samsung.

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