Final Words

I was extremely excited about Crucial's M500 because it was the first reasonably priced ~1TB SSD. Even though its performance wasn't class leading, it was honestly good enough to make the recommendation a no-brainer. The inclusion of features like eDrive support were just the icing on the cake. With the EVO, Samsung puts forth a formidable competitor to the M500. It's faster, uses less power at idle and carries lower MSRPs for most of the capacity range. Microsoft's eDrive standard isn't supported at launch, but Samsung expects to change that via a firmware update this September.

Endurance isn't a concern with TLC for client workloads, although I wouldn't recommend deploying the EVO in a write heavy database server or anything like that.

The additional features that Samsung threw in the pot this round really show some innovative thinking. TurboWrite does a good job of blurring the lines between MLC and TLC performance, while Samsung's RAPID DRAM cache offers adventurous users a way of getting a taste of high-end PCIe SSD performance out of an affordable TLC SATA drive.

The 1TB version is exciting because it offers a competitive price with the 960GB M500 but with better performance. It's also good to have an alternative there as the 960GB M500 has been supply constrained at times. At first I didn't believe that Samsung's TLC strategy could hold weight against the Intel/Micron approach of aggressively pursuing smaller process nodes with MLC NAND, but the EVO does a lot to change my opinion. I'd have no issues with one of these drives in my system even as primary storage. The performance story is really good (particularly with the larger capacities), performance consistency out of the box is ok (and gets better if you can leave more free space on the drive) and you've got Samsung's firmware expertise supporting you along the way as well.

To say that I really like the EVO is an understatement. If Samsung can keep quantities of the 840 EVO flowing, and keep prices at or below its MSRP, it'll be a real winner and probably my pick for best mainstream SSD.

Power Consumption
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  • MrSpadge - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    You'd need to be writing to the disk to provoke errors, not reading. Reply
  • B0GiE-uk- - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Seeing as this drive is similar to the 840 basic, it will be interesting to see the performance of the 840 Pro with the rapid software enabled. Has the potential to be faster than the EVO. I have heard that the rapid software will be backwards compatible. Reply
  • sheh - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Caching speed is based on RAM, flushing speed on drive. I don't think there will be any surprises. Reply
  • Heavensrevenge - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Finally were seeing transition to RAM caches, it's nice a RAM disk is being utilized and I hope the trend continues so that HDD/SDD can actually be taken out of the storage hierarchy for the OS & operating memory and have EVERYTHING reside in a non-volatile RAM space together for CRAZY increases in perf since HDD's in a way are a side-effect of old memory's being so small there had to be a drive backing the RAM. But of course we need traditional storage for actual storage purposes afterwards. But I'll hope for a migration of RAM towards a similarly fast combination of RAM+Drive being the main root drive built right onto the motherboards in a stick-like way within 10 years to cause a nice little computing revolution via re-architecting the classical storage hierarchy that's now, I believe, is quite possible and reasonable. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Modern OSes have been doing ram cache for years. Samsung is able to "cheat" with rapid because they've got a much better view of what the drive is doing internally to optimize for it (even if the data isn't normally exposed via standard APIs). Eventually OS authors will catch up and have SSD optimized caches instead of HDD optimized ones and it will again be a moot point. Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Yes. It is doing the same thing as the O/S cache, but using a different algorithm to decide which blocks to cache, one that is tailored to SSD. So the O/S is very likely to adapt something similar in future.

    What is more interesting is TurboWrite. If you consider the on board DRAM a L1 cache, then TW implements a more-or-less L2 cache in NAND by using some of the NAND array in SLC mode instead of TLC mode. In addition to greater endurance, SLC mode allows much faster P/E cycles than TLC (or MLC). And unlike the DRAM cache, the SLC-mode NAND cache is not susceptible to power failure data loss. It still is not nearly as fast as DRAM, so the L1 DRAM cache is still needed. Encryption would kill performance without DRAM. But because data can be moved from DRAM cache to SLC cache more quickly, it frees up DRAM at a faster rate and increases throughput. So unless writing an awfully lot of data continuously, you essentially get SLC performance from a TLC drive. That is the EVO (lutionary) thing about this drive, much more so than RAPID software.
    Reply
  • Heavensrevenge - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Heh yes of course, I mean removing the "hard drive/solid state drive" out of the storage hierarchy completely and putting all OS and cache data into non-volatile silicon where the ram sits today, making all operations go as fast as ramdisk speed, not just have it there as a way to hide latency. like boot from the modules plugged directly into the motherboard and everything :) THATS what I'd love to see, 1-2GB/s 4K read & write speeds all-around not just for special use cases, All because the fab process is becoming small enough o fit the amount of data there we can actually re id f that part of the storage hierarchy if you know what I mean. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    I think there's always going to be a space for slower, more density-efficient storage in any sensible storage hierarchy. I think what you're looking forwards to is MRAM / PRAM, though. :) Reply
  • Heavensrevenge - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    MRAM or any NVRAM is basically the concept I was wanting :) Thank you for the reference!!
    The day/year/decade that type of memory become our RAM & OS/Boot drive replacement in the storage hierarchy will be the one of the best times in modern computing history.
    Honestly all HDD/SDD manufactures should stop wasting their R&D on this type of crap even though SSD's are a wonderful "now" solution to the problem and I'll still recommend them for the time being.
    The sooner that type of memory is our primary 1st level storage directly addressable from the CPU the better our modern world of computing will become and begin evolving again.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    I don't think Samsung is doing anything better here, or working some SSD-magic. They're just being much more agressive with caching than Win dares to be. Reply

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