Final Words

The performance and power characteristics of Samsung's SSD 840 Pro are as close to perfect as we've seen from any drive this generation. In all but a handful of benchmarks, the 840 Pro is the fastest consumer SSD we've ever tested. Even more important than its industry leading performance is the fact that the 840 Pro delivers great performance while remaining one of the lowest power SSDs to make it through our labs. Assuming the premature death of our review sample was a fluke and not indicative of a bigger issue, the 840 Pro could be the first drive in quite a while to offer the absolute best performance at power consumption levels that are notebook friendly. Update: Our replacement 840 Pro also died prematurely, I'd recommend holding off any purchases until we hear back from Samsung as to the cause of death. Update 2: It looks like this may have been a firmware issue. Retail drives should ship with fixed firmware.

The 830 proved quite reliable, so as long as Samsung can guarantee similar levels of compatibility and reliability out of the 840 Pro it looks to have a real winner on its hands.

The vanilla 840 is super interesting. We've never tested a 3bpc MLC drive in house, and although Samsung isn't promising huge cost savings initially - over time the move to 3bpc MLC will aggressively drive mainstream SSD prices down.

 

Power Consumption
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  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I think I might move my Steam folder to my 64GB 830 (if it hasn't grown too large) and see if Portal II level load times improve. The write times take a hit due to the smaller number of NAND chips, but the read times should be mostly limited by SATA 3 bandwidth. I'll try to pop back in here with a report of any improvements that I see. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    Long story short, despite the fact that the 830 64GB beats out the 320 160GB in seven of eight CrystalDiskMark tests (88% in sequential reading, 95% in 512K random read, and so on, except for 4K random write with a queue depth of 32, where the Intel is 70% faster)...

    ...I honestly can't say it takes noticeably less time to either load games like Portal, Portal 2, or Quantum Conundrum, or to load levels/saves in those games. Portal 2 might start up a tiny bit faster on the new drive, but I certainly wouldn't swear to it.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    The article mentions that this drive uses the new Toggle 2.0 interface which operates at 400 Mbps, however individual packages are clearly capable of more than that if 8 packages can provide sequential speeds greater than 400 MB/s.

    My understanding is that both ONFI 3.0 and Toggle 2.0 support data rates of 400 MT/s. It would seem that the maximum transfer size for ONFI is 8 bits, so they claim 400 MB/s for the interface. Is the 400 Mbps number for Toggle 2.0 a per die figure? Is it not also capable of 8 bits per transfer and thus 400 MB/s as well?
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    400Mbit/s is the speed of the Toggle-Mode 2.0 interface but the the interface is 8 bits wide, making the maximum throughput 400MB/s per interface. I know it's stupid that they say 400Mbps because it's just confusing Reply
  • MrMilli - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    "The basic architecture of the controller hasn't changed. Internally there are three ARM9 cores now running at 300MHz."

    It's not using ARM9 cores any longer. It's now using Cortex R4 cores. I would say that's a big enough change to say that the basic architecture has changed.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    You are correct. Samsung's reviewer's guide originally said ARM9 but yesterday's slides said ARM R4, hence the confusion here :-) Reply
  • Jocelyn - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Thank You for the review Anand, but is there any chance you and Kristian could start controlling the variables that are not being tested in future SSD reviews? CPU power saving features (EIST/Turbo) being left on in some reviews, while off in others, definitely affects performance. Reply
  • jwcalla - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I have yet to see an SSD that gets better than 75% of the SATA theoretical max -- even SATA II drives. Can the interface really have 25% lost to inefficiencies? That seems like a lot of overhead. Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    SATA uses 8b/10b encoding, so 6Gb/s becomes 600MB/s. Then, just like any transfer protocol, there's additional protocol overhead. The AS-SSD sequential read speeds posted by this drive would demonstrate just better than 85% efficiency, which is not too shabby. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    "The first Samsung MLC SSDs were reliable, they just weren't worth the money when you had much better options from companies like Intel."

    Intel stuck it to X25M G1 owners by refusing to provide a firmware update to support TRIM. If you're going to praise Intel and criticize Samsung so much in the opening of an article, that should have been noted.
    Reply

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