Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over an 8GB space of the drive to simulate the sort of random access that you'd see on an OS drive (even this is more stressful than a normal desktop user would see). I perform three concurrent IOs and run the test for 3 minutes. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time. We use both standard pseudo randomly generated data for each write as well as fully random data to show you both the maximum and minimum performance offered by SandForce based drives in these tests. The average performance of SF drives will likely be somewhere in between the two values for each drive you see in the graphs. For an understanding of why this matters, read our original SandForce article.

Desktop Iometer—4KB Random Read (4K Aligned)

Random read speed is good but not 840 Pro level. Some of this can be due to the slower NAND as the queue depth of our random read test is only 3—with higher queue depths the difference between 840 and 840 Pro should be closer.

Desktop Iometer—4KB Random Write (4K Aligned)—8GB LBA Space

Desktop Iometer—4KB Random Write (8GB LBA Space QD=32)

Random write speed is a bit odd as performance does not scale up with higher queue depths. Speculating on the cause is difficult, but if I had to guess I would say it's firmware related, not NAND this time. Samsung is most likely doing some very aggressive write combining and caching so it's easy to achieve the same level of performance regardless of queue depth.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

To measure sequential performance I ran a 1 minute long 128KB sequential test over the entire span of the drive at a queue depth of 1. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire test length.

Desktop Iometer—128KB Sequential Read (4K Aligned)

Samsung's read centric firmware approach with the 840 really shows off in our low queue depth sequential read test: there is no drive faster than it.

Desktop Iometer—128KB Sequential Write (4K Aligned)

Sequential write is pretty poor compared to today's other 256GB SSDs but Samsung is only claiming 250MB/s so this shouldn't come as a surprise. The similarity between random and sequential write speed helps back up what we mentioned earlier: Samsung is likely being very aggressive with its write combining to make random IOs look very sequential.

The Samsung SSD 840 AS-SSD Incompressible Sequential Performance


View All Comments

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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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