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Before we weigh in with our final verdict, we'll bust out a few of our famous value scatter plots. The best solutions will gravitate toward the upper left corner of the plot, which signifies high performance and low prices. Click the buttons below the plot to switch between all the drives and a cropped look at just the SSDs—and keep in mind that we've trimmed the axes for the SSD-only plot.

The 850 Pro is the fastest SATA SSD we've ever tested. Period. Although it's not miles ahead of the other top-tier alternatives overall, it has a definite edge in our catch-all metric. More importantly, the 850 Pro excels in some of our most demanding tests. I'm particularly impressed with the drive's quick service times in our real-world DriveBench simulation and its high throughput at lower IOMeter queue depths. Both of those performances suggest Samsung's new hotness is well-suited to demanding consumer workloads.

Class-leading performance doesn't come cheap. The 850 Pro costs roughly twice as much per gig as the best value-oriented SSDs. That's a tough pill to swallow, especially since the drive doesn't outshine its budget brethren in each and every test. The higher endurance rating and 10-year warranty soften the blow a little, but not enough to make the 850 Pro a good value.

The thing is, value isn't the primary concern in premium circles. Having the best is a higher priority, and the 850 Pro fits the bill in pretty much every other category. Bragging rights? Check.

Then there's the fact that this is the first consumer SSD with 3D V-NAND. Stacking multiple layers seems to be the future of flash memory, and the 850 Pro delivers the future today. That makes the drive rather special, I think; it's a truly unique offering in a world filled with increasingly similar designs. Cutting-edge? Definitely.

I can't make a rational case for the 850 Pro. Heck, if it were my money, I'd probably get a much larger SSD and live happily with slightly slower access to a lot more data. But I still want the 850 Pro—or better yet, a version with a PCI Express interface. Another V-NAND SSD is due before the end of the year, so perhaps I'll get my wish. Fingers crossed.TR

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