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  • roedtogsvart - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Might have to finally replace my Intel 320 with this. Very nice review Kristian Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Both the Intel 320 and the Samsung 840 Pro support encryption...does the non-Pro 840 offer it or not? I'm swinging back towards getting an 840 Pro for my laptop because of the lack of encryption in consumer 830 drives.

    On a side note, I was disappointed to discover recently that my current desktop motherboard doesn't support hard drive passwords, which is a shame given the fact that my system disk (an Intel 320) does...oh well.
    Reply
  • ekon - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    The ATA password-based encryption these drives use is beset with issues, flaky motherboard support being just one.

    http://communities.intel.com/thread/20537

    On top of which, it's very poorly documented, and notice how reviews give it nothing more than a passing mention without testing the feature. A TrueCrypt/DiskCryptor alternative it is not :-/
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I've had my 320 for two years, no problems with encryption, ever.

    And I second roedtogsvart that I may FINALLY replace my aging SSD with one of these. I've been thinking Intel 520 for awhile but still don't trust Sandforce, even with Intel at the helm.

    Samsung and Crucial are keeping the controllers simple, which is why they have the most reliable drives outside of Intel's original X25-M/320 SSD's.
    Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    When you say "these drives", do you mean the Intel 320, the Samsung 840 Pro, or both? My T430 supports hard drive passwords for the expressly-stated purpose of allowing for encrypted SSDs, which is why I'm looking at the 840 Pro in particular.

    It seems like the only downsides would be having to enter the password to use the computer, and having to use a motherboard that supports HD passwords to access the drive (so I couldn't just plug it into my current desktop if something were to happen to my laptop and it were off for repair or whatever).
    Reply
  • ruberbacchus - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    On one hand, it seems to me that the potential gains performance-wise with hardware-based rather than software-based encryption are enormous; particularly so on older computers with slower processors. On the other hand, an encryption solution that is not properly documented as well as thoroughly verified and verifiable does simply not exist as a solution; confidence in the implementation is essential to the deployment of encryption. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to obtain clear references to how encryption works in this new class of SSD's. I read somewhere that it should conform to the OPAL standard, which mandates hardware-embedded keys. I am not sure this is such a great idea, for two reasons:
    - the keys will potentially be known to the manufacturer;
    - the keys will be open to physical attacks on the chip controller.
    With TrueCrypt e.g., the user himself generates the encryption keys, the master key used for encrypting the data as well as the header key used to wrap the master key. The latter is tied to the user's password. With hardware-based encryption, passwords may be used for authentication, but the keys will not necessarily be derived from the password. Unchangeable encryption keys weakens the security. In order for the system to be trustworthy, the user should be able to generate and re-generate at will their own encryption keys. At the moment it is not clear this is the case.
    Reply
  • A5 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I guess I'm old fashioned and don't throw away my laptop every 6 months, but a 3.5 year lifetime seems really really short. Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Agreed; maybe for a video card, but I expect longer than 3.5 years out of my hard drives. Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Really? I rarely expect a consumer grade HDD to last much longer than that these days. In fact, I've seen an alarming trend of drives failing just past the 2 year mark, and still within the 3 year warranty period. (RMA'd one last week even.) Reply
  • travbrad - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    I had a 80GB WD that lasted 8 years without failing. I eventually had to stop using it simply because it was too slow. I also had a 250GB WD drive that I used for 5 years (then switched to all SATA). Now I have a 640GB drive that I've been using for almost 4 years. My brother has a couple 500GB drives in his system that have been running for 4-5 years as well.

    Maybe I've just been really lucky, but the only drive I've personally had fail in the last decade was a Hitachi drive (obviously selected for cost not quality) in my HP laptop.

    Now at work it's a different story. Those pre-built machines cut every corner they can to bring costs down so they end up with low quality components (especially PSUs). Even in that situation there is a fairly low number of hard drive failures though (considering how old most of the machines are)
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link


    I have SCSI disks that are more than 20 years old which still work fine. :D

    Ian.
    Reply
  • MarkLuvsCS - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Considering Write Amplification has been significantly reduced compared to the initial SSD tech, I don't believe it's going to be a problem for the consumer market. Google xtremesystems Write Endurance to see a Samsung 830 256gb with 3000 P/E still running at 4.77 PETABYTES.That page also shows you other brands and how they fare. I would trust Samsung wouldn't put this tech to use without truly understanding how it would pan out.

    That is why the worry of the 1000 P/E 840 vs 3000 P/E 830 is overblown. Either way you have little to worry about with Samsung's controllers causing any fuss unlike Other CompanieZ.
    Reply
  • Kjella - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Not giving one fsck about wearing out the SSD I burned through a 10k-rated SSD in 1.5 years. Now with fairly normal SSD usage - a standard Win7 desktop with torrents etc. on other drives - I'm down to 57% health and looking at 3 years 10 months on a 5K-rated drive. I don't know exactly what is eating it but I'm guessing every log file, every time MSN or IRC logs a line of chat, every time something is cached or whatever it burns write cycles. I feel the official numbers are vastly *overstating* the actual lifespan, not understating it. TLC with 1K writes? Not in my machine, no sir. Reply
  • madmilk - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    There's no way MSN/IRC can burn through an SSD in 1.5 years since they're all text. You must be doing something unusual, or at least your computer is without you knowing it. A good idea would be to open up Task Manager, and select the columns that count the number of bytes written by various programs. Maybe then you can find the source of your problem. Also make sure you have defragmentation off, and sufficient RAM so you're not constantly hitting the pagefile. Reply
  • piiman - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Better yet put the page file on a different drive and also move your temp folders to a different drive. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Absolutely hilarious ending there pal... I wonder how many people got it!

    I got burned by them on a couple of drives, and promptly dumped them on some well-known auction site, sold as-is.
    Reply
  • creed3020 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I see what you did there ;-)

    Great review Kristian! I'll be looking at this drive as option for a new office PC I am building.
    Reply
  • B3an - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Did you people even bother to read?? Because you're conveniently missing out the important fact in this article that you'd have to write 36.5TiB (almost 40TB) a year for it to last 3.5 years. I know for a fact that the average consumer does not write anywhere near that much a year, or even in 3 years. If anyone even comes close to 40TB a year they would be using a higher-end MLC SSD anyway as they would surely be using a workstation.

    Most consumers don't even write 10GB a day, so at that rate the drive would easily last OVER 20 years. But of course it's highly likely something else would fail before that happens.

    You're also forgetting out DSP which is explained in this article as well. That can also near double the life.

    I think Kristian should have made this all more clear because too many people don't bother to actually read stuff and just look at charts.
    Reply
  • futrtrubl - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Granted the usual use cases won't have so much data throughput. However those same usual use cases have the user filling 3/4 of the drive with static data (program/OS/photo archive etc) reducing the drive area it's able to wear level over. So that 20 years again becomes 5 years.

    Also the 1000PE cycle stat means that there is a 50% chance for that sector to have become unusable by that time (ignoring DSP).

    I'm not saying that TLC is bad, and I am certainly not saying this drive doesn't have great value. I'm just saying that we shouldn't understate the PE cycle issue.
    Reply
  • xdrol - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    You sir need to learn how SSDs work. Static data is not static on the flash chip - the controller shuffles it around, exactly because of wear levelling. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    "I think Kristian should have made this all more clear because too many people don't bother to actually read stuff and just look at charts."

    Kristian is not the problem.
    There is a bizarre fraction of the world of tech "enthusiasts" who are convinced that every change in the world is a conspiracy to screw them over.

    These people have been obsessing about the supposed fragility of flash memory from day one. We have YEARS of real world experience with these devices but it means nothing to them. We haven't been screwed yet, but with TLC it's coming, I tell you.
    The same people spent years insisting that non-replacable batteries were a disaster waiting to happen.
    Fifteen years ago they were whining about the iMac not including a floppy drive, for the past few years they have been whining about recent computers not including an optical drive.
    A few weeks ago we saw the exact same thing regarding Apple's new Lightning connector.

    The thing you have to remember about these people is
    - evidence means NOTHING. you can tell them all the figures you want, about .1% failure rates, or minuscule return rates or whatever. None of that counts against their gut feeling that this won't work, or even better an anecdote that some guy some somewhere had a problem.
    - they have NO sense of history. Even if they lived through these transitions before, they cannot see how changes in 2000 are relevant to changes in 2012.
    - they will NEVER admit that they were wrong. The best you can possibly get out of them is a grudging acceptance that, yeah, Apple was right to get rid of floppy disks, but they did it too soon.

    In other words these are fools that are best ignored. They have zero knowledge of history, zero knowledge of the market, zero knowledge of the technology --- and the grandiose opinions that come from not actually knowing any pesky details or facts.
    Reply
  • piiman - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Then stick with Intel not because they last longer but they have a great warranty.(5 years) My drive went bad at about 3.5 years and Intel replaced it no questions asked and did it very quickly. I sent it in and had a new one 2 days after they received my old one. great service! Reply
  • GTRagnarok - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    This is assuming a very exaggerated amplification of 10x. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Keep in mind that it's an estimation based on the example numbers. 10x write amplification is fairly high for consumer workloads, most usually have something between 1-3x (though it gets a big bigger when taking wear leveling efficiency into account). Either way, we played safe and used 10x.

    Furthermore, the reported P/E cycle counts are the minimums. You have to be conservative when doing endurance ratings because every single die you sell must be able to achieve that. Hence it's completely possible (and even likely) that TLC can do more than 1,000 P/E cycles. It may be 1,500 or 3,000, I don't know; but 1,000 is the minimum. There is a Samsung 830 at XtremeSystems (had to remove the link as our system thought it was spam, LOL) that has lasted for more than 3,000TiBs, which would translate to over 10,000 P/E cycles (supposedly, that NAND is rated at 3,000 cycles).

    Of course, as mentioned at the end of the review, the 840 is something you would recommend to a light user (think about your parents or grandparents for instance), whereas the 840 Pro is the drive for heavier users. Those users are not writing a lot (heck, they may not use their system for days!), hence the endurance is not an issue.
    Reply
  • A5 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Ah. I didn't know the 10x WA number was exceedingly conservative. Nevermind, then. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, July 05, 2013 - link

    3.5 years is considering you are writing 36.5 GB of data a day. if the computer it is sitting in is mostly used for online work of document editing, youll get far more. the laptop would probably die long before the ssd did.
    also, this only apples to the tls ssds. mlc ssds last 3 times longer, so the 840 pro would be better for a computer kept longer than 3 years.
    Reply
  • Vepsa - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Might just be able to convince the wife that this is the way to go for her computer and my computer. Reply
  • CaedenV - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    That is how I did it. My wife's old 80GB system drive died a bit over a year ago, and it was one of those issues of $75 for a decent HDD, or $100 for an SSD that would be 'big enough' for her as a system drive (60GB at the time). So I spent the extra $25, and it made her ~5 year old Core2Duo machine faster (for day-to-day workloads) than my brand new i7 monster that I had just build (but was still using traditional HDD at the time).

    I eventually got so frustrated by the performance difference that I ended up finally getting one for myself, and then after my birthday came then I spent my fun money on a 2nd one for RAID0. It did not make a huge performance increase (I mean it was faster in benchmarks, but doubling the speed of instant is still instant lol), but it did allow me to have enough space to load all my programs on the SSD instead of being divided between the SSD and HDD.
    Reply
  • AndersLund - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    Notice, that setting up a RAID with your SSD might hinder the OS to see the SSDs as SSD and not sending TRIM commands to the disks. My first (and current) gamer system consists of two Intel 80 GB SSD in a RAID0 setup, but the OS (and Intel's toolbox) does not recognize them as SSD. Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Samsung is known to release only a few firmware updates (unlike SF).
    But due to the somewhat quirky nature of TLC NAND, do you expect Samsung to release a newer firmware , with maybe better read performance , or better TRIM support ?
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Who cares?? Frequent firmware updates are a sign of an incompetent engineering and testing. I'll stick with the vendors known for getting it right the first time thank you very much. Reply
  • JuneBugKiller - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    If Samsung 840 120GB cost's $109.99 and you can get an OCZ Vertex 4 128GB for $104.99, which is faster in 80% of the benchmarks and is $5 cheaper then who's going to want it? So what if the price goes down to $80, are people going to save $25 thinking their hard drive is going to die twice as fast. I have bought (with works money) around 30 ssd's including Intel 80GB & 160GB Silver Case, Intel 710 100GB, Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB and Vertex 4 128. So far I've only had 2 ssd's go bad and they were both Intel 80GB ssd's. One wouldn't power on and the other reported at 8MB. Intel replaced them under warranty.

    The point is I have been buying SSD's for years and I just don't see how anyone would want these samsung ssd's. Samsung is famous for huge margins on each product. When a company pockets $240 off of a $500 tablet and their name isn't Apple then something is wrong.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Wow, talk about skewing the data by cherry picking the worst-case numbers for the 840. The Vertex 4 is only 85% faster in one specific test: AS-SSD Write performance. Of course, in the AS-SSD Read performance it's also 10% faster than the Vertex 4 256GB, but you just ignore that? Samsung also has some of the best SSDs in terms of large reliability figures, so even if the 840 is slightly slower than other drives in some tests, it may be the better option. Also don't forget to factor in that the 840 appears to be well-tuned for light workloads (e.g it's near the top of our light workload results).

    Personally, I think the 840 needs to come in below the current 830 drive prices to make sense, and it probably will not long after the official release. 128GB 830 drives already go for under $100, and 256GB drives have been at $200 for over a month now -- likely all in preparation for the release of the 840. TLC NAND is cheaper to manufacture (per GB), and long-term it will be significantly more profitable for Samsung. Get some good DSPs added into the mix and I wouldn't be surprised to see most SSDs in two generations being TLC based, with MLC moving to the enterprise level and SLC basically going away because it's too expensive.
    Reply
  • JuneBugKiller - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    No I'm talking about counting each benchmark add the total and divide the number by how many OCZ Vertex 4 won and it was over 80% of the total number of benchmarks. How is Samsung a better option? TLC over MLC, OCZ fastest drive to Samsungs slowest new drive. Of course Samsung is going to make more profit but why would you want to spend the same amount on a slower drive with less endurance? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Sorry, 80% of benchmarks is correct; I read that wrong. But let's put that in perspective:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/678?vs=628

    If we look at average performance across all benchmarks, the difference between OCZ Vertex 256GB and Samsung 840 250GB is a 12.4% advantage for OCZ. However, OCZ hasn't exactly been free from firmware issues. That right there is the reason many people will pay a bit more for a Samsung (even if it's slower).

    Would I buy an 840 right now for $200 or whatever? Definitely not -- I'd actually take the 830, just for proven reliability over time. Give the 840 a couple months just to be safe, then check the prices. If it's still more expensive than the Vertex 4, sure, go for OCZ if you'd like. If they're the same price, though, the 12% performance is practically meaningless for most consumer workloads.
    Reply
  • sean.crees - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Because it's not just about performance, it's also about reliability. This is user data we are talking about. Even a single loss could be catastrophic. OCZ doesn't have the reliability track record that Samsung and Intel has, and for that reason there are many people who will only ever buy from Samsung or Intel. So then OCZ isn't even mentionable. It doesn't matter if they are faster because who cares if your data is at risk?

    Also you have to consider that the REAL WORLD difference between any modern 6Gbps SSD is negligible, so then performance means even less. It ends up being a contest of reliability instead of a contest of speed. In that contest, OCZ loses.
    Reply
  • krumme - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I would want it :)

    We have about 7-8 ssd in the house, about 3 of those is vertex 3 ssd, and there have been realiability and firmware issues.

    I think ssd speeds since the last 2 years have been good enough and would prioritize reliability any day.

    I had to replace an sandisk u100 in my Samsung 9 series x3c to a faster one, but that was because the u100 was like a return to 4 years ago. Its a good backup now.

    Now hopefully reliability is there, and prices will go down so everyone can afford it. We dont need more firmware updates and shit. Its like the first 3d gfx in the mid 90, - a mess.

    But you are right Samsung is starting to get expensive, and charge for the brand. Wether you like it or not it will certainly mean more Samsung reviews too. Being a big boy, have advantages :)
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    "If Samsung 840 120GB cost's $109.99 and you can get an OCZ Vertex 4 128GB for $104.99, which is faster in 80% of the benchmarks and is $5 cheaper then who's going to want it?"

    A person who values reliability at a value higher than $0 will choose the non-OCZ product every time.
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - link

    Time will tell. The TLC NAND should end up around 30% cheaper per GB than MLC. Then it will come down to buying a 240 GB MLC for $200 or a 320 GB TLC for the same price. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I would be buying an Intel instead if it cost $109.99. While Sammy is possibly the closest to intel in terms of reliability. I wouldn't want a TLC SSD for the same price. And the difference would be marginal anyway. I could feel the difference between a decent 3Gbps SSD and 6Gbps SSD, i am not sure if there is anything to feel for two decent 6Gbps SSD.

    Now if the retail price is really in the range of $70 - 80 that would be a huge difference. Because you are essentially choosing the second best reliable SSD for decent performance and cheapest price.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    The Samsung 830 is the 7th cheapest SSD (based on €/GB) I can find on my go-to price comparison website. 3 of the six before it are much slower Kingston/OCZ drives and the other 3 have SF controllers. Considering the kind of inconsistent performance that delivers and the track record, I would go with the Samsung all the time.

    Now, the 840 just launched and the pricing here is 25% above the 830. But it isn't even available for shipping anywhere. So I don't think that your comparison based on the Vertex4 ship has been shipping for months has any relevance. Also, aren't the Vertex4 numbers with their turbo-mode enabled which stops working after filling the drive to 50%? The Vertex4 256GB model costs 175€, the Samsung 830 256GB model costs 148€. Do you really think the 840 will be more expensive than the 830 in a couple of months? And even so, do you think the Vertex4 if that much better for consumers than the 830? I just don't see it.
    Reply
  • Blazorthon - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Actually, the slowing down after 50% and such for Vertex 4 was fixed in firmware 1.5. The current numbers don't rely on Turbo, they're all the time.

    Also, to all of you, Vertex 4, unlike its predecessors, uses a Marvell-designed controller. Anyone who's used a Crucial or Plextor SSD probably knows that Marvell based SSDs are about as reliability as you can get, up there with Samsung and Intel. Vertex 4 is OCZ's most reliable SSD to date by huge margins, especially with current firmware where it rivals even Samsung and the others in reliability unlike the original firmware (which was specifically stated to be in beta, so anyone who bought Vertex 4 around launch time without doing their research and finding that out probably isn't someone who should be allowed to buy their own SSDs without expert help).

    Also, IDK about UK prices, but in the USA, the Vertex 4, Samsung 830, Samsung 840, and occasionally also the Crucial M4 and Plextor M5S are all at about the same price points for 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities right now. As someone who has experience with Vertex 4, I'd definitely recommend it over Samsung 830 and Samsung 840 so long as it's not more expensive.
    Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    How come the OCZ 4 series just suddenly disappear when the review gets to the power consumption tests? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Because Kristian imported the results from SSD Bench for the "1.4 Firmware" for the OCZ drives, and when those were retested Anand didn't add in power use figures. I've added them to the graphs using the original power figures at release. Thanks for the heads up! Reply
  • Coup27 - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Excellent article Kristian, enjoyed it.

    Some constructive criticism, although I appreciate that English is not your native language. Sentences aren't that clear when you use a double negative, such as "I wouldn't find it unlikely...". It would be much clearer if you had wrote "It would be likely..."
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Point taken, thanks for the feedback :-)

    Some things sound logical in my ears but they may not make much sense for a native speaker. I guess this is partially because in English exams and stuff, using more difficult sentence structures (like double negative) will yield higher scores, even though they are not commonly used by natives. Will try to pay more attention to this in the future.
    Reply
  • Sufo - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I don't know if I agree with this. While double negatives are certainly inappropriate in some situations, the example you give is nit picking. Add to that, there is a subtle (albeit not technical) difference between "I wouldn't find it unlikely" and "I would find it likely". I accept that had Kristian made a legitimate grammatical error, then correcting it (while a little pedantic) may have been justified, but simply editing for style seems unnecessary.

    I guess my point is Kristian was not objectively wrong, or even unclear (although admittedly, complexity for complexity's sake benefits no one) and so he shouldn't pay too much heed to comments like this simply because OP is an English speaking native and he is not. I am, however, confident that he's more than capable of coming to his own conclusions on the matter :P
    Reply
  • smartthanyou - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I am probably in the minority on this, but as a matter of policy, I don't think you should call anything a review without pricing and a approximate release date.

    Particularly the price. If I don't see a price, I don't bother to read the article.
    Reply
  • sean.crees - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Price is on the 5th page labeled "The Samsung SSD 840" about half way down.

    Although i noticed the price for the 840 250GB is the same as the 840 Pro's 256GB? Is this a typo? Why would anyone buy the non pro with 6 less GB and slower speeds for the same price?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    What price are you looking at? The table shows $199.99 for the 250GB Samsung 840 (MSRP) and $249.99 for the 256GB Samsung 840 Pro. Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    On the fourth page:

    "With perfect wear-leveling and write amplification of 1x, you would get 256TiB of writes out of a 250GB Samsung 840 with TLC NAND and 1,000 P/E cycles. "

    Shouldn't it be 256 GiB?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    No; he's accounting for the visible storage capacity (and spare area). So 250GB is 256GiB of NAND but only 250GB end-user storage. You can still write 256TiB of data (256GiB * 1000 P/E), which means on a 250GB SSD you end up with the ability to write 281TB of data (for an effective P/E cycles of 1125). Reply
  • schizoide - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I'm not comfortable with TLC, particularly since it doesn't come at a huge absolute cost savings. I've been burned too often with SSDs, and now only buy the most bulletproof devices available. Maybe next generation. Maybe. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I wouldn't draw any conclusion for pricing just yet. Everyone is comparing street prices of current gen SSDs to MSRP of next gen SSDs. Give it a few months to get the 840 into stores and selling and then we'll se how prices fair.
    I'm personally fairly confident that there will be a distinct cost advantage.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Have ANY SSDs given you a failure based on the flash cells themselves, rather than on crappy firmware?
    It's stupid to demonize a technology because some companies sold you a bad product --- especially when your response is to refuse to buy a product from a company that is known (in this respect at least) NOT to have shipped crappy firmware.
    Reply
  • harijan - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Pretty sure 3650GiB != 3.65TiB.

    3650GB == 3.65TB.

    It doesn't do anything to your percentages, but this is Anandtech, we hold you to higher standards ;)
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    You are correct, I forgot that binary units don't scale up linearly (1000GiB is not 1TiB); metrics are just so much simpler. Thanks for the heads up, I've fixed the math now. Reply
  • iaco - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I wonder if Samsung will ever make a SSD made of SLC NAND. The performance would be amazing. Reply
  • Conficio - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    First thanks to the Kristan and the Anand Team for another comprehensive review and the inclusion of in depth knowledge about the technology behind it.

    I'd like to see included in the test (or in another article) a review of the available tools for each SSD. I think it is important to know if the manufacturer supports its tools to low level format, secure erase, TRIM, ROM update etc. beyond the obligatory Windows (7). Are those available for Linux (command line and/or GUI)? Are they available for Mac OSX? Do they work if the drive is connected over USB? Are these tools user friendly to use?

    It is useless if I buy an SSD and have to find out that Mac OSX does not support the tools. I have a couple of Vertex drives which I can't find a way to secure erase in order to restore full performance. They are pre TRIM drives and Mac OS X does not support trim on them anyway.

    As with motherboards, the the BIOS or UEFI is important, so is with SSDs the ability to actually perform some of the low level functions. I hope you can add that to your workload! A comparison of the different tools for each manufacturer for current drives would be a great start. Thanks again!
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Samsung will be releasing Magician 4.0 later this year and we are definitely going to do an article about it. I tried to get a beta version of it but Samsung wasn't willing to send us one, yet. Magician 3.2.2 that comes with the 840 is the same that's available for the 830, so I didn't find it that important to cover.

    But you are right, we need to cover the software side more as well because it will also drive manufacturers to make their own SSD tools.

    P.S. Try installing Ubuntu to a USB stick (just use UNetBootin) and then use hdparm commands (see below) to secure erase the SSD.

    sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass password /dev/sdX

    sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-erase password /dev/sdX

    "password" is whatever you choose as the password and "X" is the drive (you can see which it is in Disk Utility)
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    At one point in the article you mention 830 users would at least wanna upgrade to the 840 Pro if they aren't gonna wait for next gen drives... I kinda thought the Pro qualified as next gen, with the vanilla 840 being more of a side grade from current gen drives. So what would you consider or expect from a next gen drive? Reply
  • KAlmquist - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    One thing I've been wondering is what voltage the controller uses. I can't identify every component on the board, but I don't see anything that looks like a voltage regulator. It seems kind of crazy to run a chip with three processor cores at 5 volts, but I guess it's possible. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Loved the review. I'm really looking forward to more data on the DSP usefulness inside SSDs, could be a huge advantage (though I don't worry about going through my P/E cycles at home).

    With SSDs, we are at a point similar to GPUs and CPUs where I don't understand upgrading from generation to generation. Unless you have a very specific usage case and can make great use of the better speed (video/picture editing or something equally I/O intensive), I don't think a 840 Pro will feel that much faster than a 830.
    I'm still rocking a first gen Agility 60GB in my (ULV) notebook and a Vertex2 120GB in my desktop and they feel plenty fast, especially those times when I'm at a friends PC with only mechanical storage.
    I might upgrade to a 830 or 840 (non Pro) when the prices have dropped for the 830 or stabilized for the 840 (I don't like paying for launch pricing). :D

    And I finally got my brother to go to SSD storage, too! He'll either get a 512GB 830 or 2x256. Does anyone know why 256GB usually has the best price/GB instead of the 512GB drives? Considering the cost for casing, PCB, controller etc. stays the same, I would expect the 512GB to have better pricing/GB. Do they need to go with more dense packages which are more expensive?
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I agree completely.

    I've said before that the current emphasis on performance over everything else is as stupid as Intel's Pentium4 philosophy. Devices have to become more balanced if they want to sell better.

    In particular the current atrocious write power draws for these devices mean that they will not sell in the external drive market --- they can't be fully powered by USB2 and
    - no-one wants a drive that needs two USB connections because it's clumsy and it uses up limited USB slots
    - saying it can be fully powered by USB3 is not good enough because, for the near-term future, people want to share drives between USB2 and USB3 computers.

    Of course MOST, but not all, the external drive market is about capacity, not speed. However each time SSD capacity doubles, a larger portion of the external drive market makes sense; AND power is not only an issue for the external market. The higher you set your peak power draw, the less your flash appeals to Ultrabook manufacturers.

    Just remember Pentium 4 and its power draw, and compare to Intel trying to get Haskell to run at <10W nowadays. Balance matters, and current flash manufacturers seem to be far too unbalanced compared to the requirements of most users.

    (It would be fascinating, for example, if we learn that the flash in the next round of iOS devices, or even MacBooks, was designed in-house by Apple because they were not satisfied with the power vs performance choices that were being made by the major flash manufacturers. Remember --- Apple bought Anobit...)
    Reply
  • moadip - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    does the 830/840 family support AES encryption? Want to buy one of those but there is no official word on any support for this. Is anyone of you guys/girls using them in that way? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    840 and 840 Pro both support 256-bit AES encryption Reply
  • moadip - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    what about the 830? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I'm not 100% sure but as far as I know, only the OEM/enterprise version (i.e. PM830) supports encryption, the consumer 830 doesn't. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    What an amazingly well balanced drive! Currently it's more expensive than the 830 at similar capacities, but as soon as 21 nm yield ramps up (and prices are adjusted) this will probably be one of the best or maybe the best consumer SSD on the market. Reply
  • iCrunch - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Thanks for another tremendous AnandTech review! You guys are insane! ;-)

    I own a 256GB Samsung 830 as part of my Retina MBP and I must say, I'm blown away! My first SSD was an Intel X25-M G1 80GB and through the years, I've had the fortune to own several solid state drives, including the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6Gbps, a couple of Intel 520's in RAID 0, the Samsung 470 as well as pre-470 Samsung OEM models. Thanks to this review, I'll be going for the 840 Pro as soon as soon as I can justify getting another desktop or laptop. Decision made!

    I'm used to high SSD pricing, so if the 840 Pro 256GB will be going for $250 or less, count me in. If the downward trend of SSD prices really does continue, or, even better, if a breakthrough drive like the 840 series with its less expensive TLC NAND appears to be, I'd love to start getting 512GB drives. Black Friday, here we come...
    Reply
  • chrcoluk - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    I have a 830 and am happy with it but it does have a weakness on high threaded i/o and random writes, it seems they have address this on the 840 pro which seems a bug fixed 830. However I have noticed the huge price premium on the 840 pro. Seems samsung have finally realised they can sell based on their reputation as they are in the same league as intel for reliability above the likes of OCZ who are trash. This day was inevitable. The basic 840 is to cater for the lower price market to try and keep hold of customers who wont pay more and time will tell if it works out. My observation so far is the basic 840 still costs more than the 830s, for me thats a no go, whilst it does have the newer controller which gives higher random writes, the random writes arent slow enough on my 830 for it to be an issue, its not noticeable. So for me its about reliability and the 830 I expect with its superior nand to be be the better product yet is still cheaper. If I won the lottery I would buy some 840 pros, but otherwise its 830s for me.

    As for write wear, my browsers alone are writing 10s of gigs of data a day, I moved my browser temp data folders to a ramdisk. Everytime someone views a youtube video eg. it writes to the browser cache even tho its a stream. Same if you download files, they written to the temp folder before the download folder. I feel anandtech solely focusing on performance are not been responsible they need to warn people of the risks of using TLC.
    Reply
  • TheExpertGuru - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    This SSD looks great, although it does not appear to be widely available. I just got the Samsung 830 SSD to replace my hard disk drive and it is wonderful so far - boot speed is terrific! See my initial experiences with the SSD at www.Samsung830.com. Reply
  • infoilrator - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    As a looker on (just going to install a couple Kingston HyperX 3K 128s) my understanding is that the way SSDs work performance and speed increase with size, as does complexity.
    Essentially the magic costs a little more but is worth it.

    I will be experiencing the result as I have 2 HyperX 3k 128s to Raid0. Probably
    Amazon one day deal.

    As a penny pincher I won't be the first to purchase any 840s. OTOH SSDs seem to become habit forming.
    Reply
  • dgigibao - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Several times you recommend the Samsung 830 for Mac OSX users for the same kind of controller whitch Apple in puts in their factory SSD. Whould would recommend 840 for Mac OSX users to? Reply
  • whiggabo - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    I really miss the answer, whether to choose the 830 or the 840 non Pro. As I'm in the position, where both are possible at the same pricing-level (for me), it's hard to take an decision, which one I should build into my Laptop/Desktop. As there are an 128GB 830 and an 60GB Vertex 2 working, the Vertex would be retired to use it for my future HTPC, so that the new 830 or 840 would replace it.

    I really could use some Help. ;) The 840 Pro clearly would be an easy decision, but as it's not available in Germany now and the price gab is huge, it's no option.
    Reply
  • Blazorthon - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    I'd first recommend whichever is cheaper for you and if they're at the same price, then the 840. Reply
  • araczynski - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    still no clear winner in anything it seems. hate paying for tradeoffs.

    maybe this would all make much more sense if the graphs were shown with a standard 1TB 7200rpm hard drive thrown into the mix. most desktops/laptops from the pc world still ship with those as the standard (or a 7200rpm variant).

    a 50% performance difference between SSD 1 and SSD 2 could become inconsequential when compared to the relative performance of said 1TB 7200rpm platter drive.

    a lot of these SSD benchmarks do nothing more than perpetuate the manufacturer's intent to focus on raw individualized numbers, rather than real world meaning, whether consequential or not.

    if nothing else, throw a 1TB 7200 rpm into the light/heavy suite only. then things would become crystal clear (i think).
    Reply
  • Nilth - Sunday, November 04, 2012 - link

    Great review, as always.

    There's one thing I'd like to know: is the DSP present in the other samsung drives?
    I mean the 830 and the 840 pro.
    Reply
  • SSDFDE - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    Thanks for all the useful information on that drive.

    Hardware Encryption (full disk, FDE) is an important feature for me. I have been working with external Buffalo USB HDDs supporting hardware encryption. As expected there is a software that lets you define a password for the drive as well as unlocks the drive with the before given password.

    So I bought a SDD supporting Hardware Encryption (also full disk, FDE):
    - The 840 Basic (256 GB). To my big surprise no password has to be entered anywhere.
    - Also the supplied software (Magician) does not mention encryption or password at all.
    - Nor is the a pre-boot environment (maybe a small Linux core system before system boot) that asks me for a before set password when booting from the drive.
    - Is there any official documentation from Samsung that explains the FDE with this drive in more detail that the / a key is in the hardware of the drive? Actually if it is on the hardware pre-set it will be available on every computer I use the drive with so where is the security gain after all?
    - Also I read that you can reset the pre-installed on-chip set by the hardware vendor to gain full security no one can access the drive e.g. if a used keys file leaks from samsung or the asian sub-contractors if existent. Is this possible on this Samsung drive?
    - Also I read you can set the SSD password via a BIOS setting. These option were actually used to set an IDE password using a SMART feature (which was not a really secure method after all). So is there a chance to check if the SSD is just encrypted using the BIOS password as IDE SMART password ot if the SSD really is Samsung AES hardware encrypted.
    - Also when I have to tell the password to the BIOS, is it safe to enter it here? I am not familiar with the BIOS HDD password functions, so maybe someone can clarify and add some light in here?

    All in all I more feel distorted and puzzled by the hardware full disk encryption of the Samsung SSD drive and do not feel safe and secure at all. I think of returning the drive as security has to be intelligibly secure and not a totally black box.

    In case this drive does not support my subjective security requirements can anyone advise on a hardware-encrypted SSD drive not too costly that has a clear documentation and key entering and keeping concept?

    Thanks a lot for any hint on this.
    I really feel very left alone by Samsung Hardware, Software and Documentation here.

    Cheers,
    Jan
    Reply
  • SSDFDE - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    ... actually what happens if I set the IDE (sorry, its ATA actually) password in BIOS and then move the drive to another computer with no ATA HDD BIOS password set? Will it be readable there as the internal key in the drive of course still is the same?

    As ATA password is an option only, and setting the ATA password does not alter the internal SSD key, the actual encryption on the drive does not change at all no matter if a ATA password is set or not, right?

    BTW: Resetting / generating an new internal key seems to be done with "secure erase" on hardware-encrypted drives with internal encryption key... clearly then its only bitshit on the dive once the old key is lost. Is there an option to do that an the Samsung drive anyway?
    Reply
  • JellyRoll - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Digital Signal Processing has nothing to do with the voltage states of the NAND. It is processing of the actual signal that comes from the NAND packages.
    DSP is used for multiple technologies, from audio to video to radar. These devices do not utilize nand, and DSP has zero interaction with the NAND itself, it merely reduces and corrects the amount of errors that come from the NAND.
    here is a primer on DSP: http://www.analog.com/en/content/beginners_guide_t...
    There needs to be more research before these incorrect explanations are posted.
    "Even though DSP doesn't make NAND immortal, it causes a lot less stress on the NAND, allowing it to last for more P/E cycles than what you would get without DSP."--This statement is entirely untrue, as DSP has no interaction with the NAND itself. It seems there is a bit of guesswork going on when writing this article.
    DSP simply corrects errors. With lower endurance NAND you experience more errors.
    Reply
  • PanzerIV88 - Thursday, December 27, 2012 - link

    I just bought on Boxing Day that Samsung 840 250Gb for 150$ + Taxes. The sequential write speed is what scares the most but other than marketing bs it's actualy what's the less important. There's much more happening into the small files or reading speed which it shines in. I'll definitely replace my Vertex 4 128Gb which isn't as amazing as I thought it was, mostly since I learned that once it reaches 50% capacity, it turns into storage mode instead of performance and the write speed falls of 2 to 3x!!! I can confirm this with benchs I've done, it's really sad..

    Also thought of doing a Vertex 4 Raid 0 but other than bragging with bench numbers, seriously wtf does 600-800Mb/s is gonna do for a daily light load or gaming?! Totaly nothing more... so I'll save my money.
    Reply
  • sriggins - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    I have been using an 830 in my MacBook Pro since last October. I use FileVault 2 and do a ton of compiling on the drive. Performance has been steady. How does using OS X encryption affect the life of the drive? Is there any way to tell how many writes have been done so far? Reply
  • brainfuck - Wednesday, July 03, 2013 - link

    Is there any way to find the Erase Block Size of Samsung 840 250GB?
    so that i can align my disk accordingly

    thanks
    Reply
  • WildBillvms - Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - link

    Great Drive , but if you have memory problems click here ----> http://www.billatkinson.net/evo Reply

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