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Midrange SSD Mayhem: Samsung And Corsair Go At It Once Again (Part 2)

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Samsung 840 Series 250GB

By now, you've probably heard of the Samsung 840 Pro - it's the new fat cat in town in the SSD world, and sits atop our benchmark charts lazily cleaning itself while peering down at all the other SSDs clamoring to take its place. That drive is redonk, but there's only one problem - it’s quite expensive at $250. To satiate those who want a Samsung SSD but don't have two-fiddy lying around, Samsung introduced its midrange drive, the 840 Amateur (that's what we are calling it). The big deal with this drive is that it features an all-new kind of NAND known as TLC instead of using the very common MLC NAND (literally every consumer SSD on the market uses MLC). TLC stands for triple-level cell as opposed to multilevel cell, as it stores three bits per cell instead of two. More bits on the same wafer means higher capacities without increasing cost, but there's a catch - TLC NAND has lower overall endurance than MLC NAND. but don't get too worked up over it. Though the drive only has a three-year warranty, as opposed to the five-year warranty of the Pro version, it's still rated to run for a decade under normal consumer-usage patterns.

Samsung's vanilla-flavored 840 SSD is the first to use TLC NAND flash, which helps keep the price down.

Samsung's vanilla-flavored 840 SSD is the first to use TLC NAND flash, which helps keep the price down.

The drive itself features a slim 7mm form factor in case you want to stuff it inside an Ultrabook, and it rides the SATA 6Gb/s rails. Its bundle includes Samsung's SSD Magician utility, which handles everything from drive diagnostics to data migration and more, but it lacks a 3.5-inch bay adapter. It’s available in 120GB, 250GB (seen here), and 500GB versions; the 250GB version we tested is 232GB after formatting.

During testing, the 840 performed admirably, especially in sequential-read speeds, where it was the fastest drive in both the tests we use to measure this metric. In Crystal Disk Mark it saturated the SATA 6Gb/s bus at 523.6MB/s, but its sequential-write speed was its Achilles' heel at just 260.1MB/s. The OCZ Vertex 4, by comparison, is twice as fast. Its performance was similar in our four-command-queue test with a 64K file size, hitting 530.2MB/s read and 265.9MB/s write speeds in ATTO.

The drive deals pretty well with incompressible data too, taking the top spot in our AS SSD test for 4KB-write I0PS, but placing mid-pack in 4KB reads. When dealing with a heavy queue of 32 4K write commands, it placed third overall; not too shabby considering it's the least-expensive drive here.

In our real-world PCMark Vantage test, its score of 56,482 was again third-best, so it's once again better than average. Its Premiere Pro 20GB write-test time of 241 ties the OCZ Vertex 4, but all the drives are very close in this test, suggesting it's CPU-limited.

In our estimation, there's nothing wrong with the Samsung 840 SSD. It's a low-cost SSD, so you have to consider that factor when examining the benchmark scores. All the Internet rumors about TLC NAND being unreliable are just that rumors. Nobody has worn out a TLC NAND device yet, and it would take quite a long time to ever do so; the same goes for MLC NAND. so don’t believe the trash talk. Also, we should point out that Samsung is not an SSD manufacturer that has a reputation for being unreliable. That said, aside from its excellent sequential-read speeds, there's not much else to get excited about with this SSD. It's a low-price drive with decent-to-great performance.

It's a low-price drive with decent-to-great performance.

It's a low-price drive with decent-to-great performance.

Samsung 840 Series 250GB

§  Price: $180

§  Website: www.samsung.com

§  Type: Solid State Drive

§  Type: 2.5" 7mm (Ultraslim) Form Factor

§  Type: 840 Series

§  Storage: Capacity: 250GB

§  Features: Sequential Read Speed: Up to 530MB/s

§  Features: Sequential Write Speed: Up to 240MB/s

 

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