Final Words

I am positively surprised by the new SMI controller and SP610. I have learned to be skeptical about value controllers because in the past the sacrifice in performance has not been worth the relatively small savings in cost. Usually the problem is that the value controller is also combined with cheaper (i.e. slower) NAND, resulting in a mediocre drive at best. Fortunately, the SP610 does not have that problem. Even though the SMI controller is paired with Micron's 128Gbit 20nm MLC, which is generally slower than 64Gbit parts and Toshiba's NAND, the drive is still extremely competitive under heavy workloads. It is also faster (sometimes substantially) than the MX100 and 840 EVO in light to medium workloads, which have been my recommended value drives.

IO consistency is really the only complaint I have regarding performance. It is not horrible but I would still rather see consistent behavior instead of a "clean later" approach where the drive pushes maximum IOPS whenever it can. For typical client workloads, this is not necessarily bad because IOs tend to happen in bursts and the drive should have enough time to do garbage collection between the bursts, but there is still a chance that the performance may degrade if the controller runs out of empty blocks. Because of that, I would recommend to keep some empty space (maybe 10-15%) to ensure a steady supply of empty blocks.

Furthermore, the lack of DevSleep support is also a minor drawback. The reason why it is minor is because DevSleep only matters if you have a Haswell laptop as the older platforms do not support it. In other words, if you are running a laptop that has a previous generation or older Intel CPU (or any AMD CPU/APU for that matter), you have absolutely no need to worry about DevSleep because your device does not support it. Obviously if you are running a desktop, the power consumption should not be a concern in the first place because there is no battery life to worry about.

NewEgg Price Comparison (6/25/2014)
  120/128GB 240/256GB 480/512GB 960GB/1TB
ADATA Premier SP610 $80 $130 $260 $470
ADATA Premier Pro SP600 $65 $110 - -
ADATA Premier Pro SP920 $90 $150 - -
ADATA XPG SX900 $80 $130 $245  
SanDisk Extreme Pro - $200 $400 $600
SanDisk Extreme II - $171 $308 -
SanDisk Ultra Plus $87 $110 - -
Crucial MX100 $78 $111 $215 -
Crucial M550 $104 $157 $300 $440
Plextor M6S $100 $150 $400 -
Intel SSD 730 - $210 $425 -
Intel SSD 530 $110 $165 $330 -
OCZ Vector 150 $115 $280 $408 -
OCZ Vertex 460 $86 $158 $293  
Samsung SSD 840 EVO $80 $145 $250 $420
Samsung SSD 840 Pro $120 $190 $410 -

The pricing is competitive but not low enough to make the SP610 the king of value SSDs. It is very hard to compete against Crucial/Micron and Samsung in price because they are both NAND manufacturers and have access to cheaper and newer technology NAND. From what I have heard, Micron's 128Gbit 20nm MLC is currently the cheapest NAND on the open market but of course that is not as cost efficient as Micron's 128Gbit 16nm MLC used in the MX100 or Samsung's 128Gbit 19nm TLC used in the 840 EVO.

With the current pricing, the SP610 falls in the infamous middle-class, meaning that it is not cheap enough to be the ultimate value drive but it is also not fast enough to compete against the fastest (albeit more expensive) drives. Given the performance of the SP610, I would gladly pay $10-20 more for it (depending on the capacity) over the MX100 or 840 EVO, but I do not find it to be worth the up to $50 premium in the 1TB-class. The issue is that for light and moderate workloads, the performance difference is negligible, so I would rather save the cash or put it towards another component upgrade.

The SP610 can, however, be a good compromise if you are not entirely sure whether your workload needs a high performance SSD or not, because it is significantly cheaper than the high-end drives like the Extreme Pro, yet it is not much more expensive than the value drives while providing generally better performance.

All in all, I am pleased to see more competition in the value SSD segment. Crucial and Samsung have dominated that for too long but the SM2246EN is turning out to be a platform that can challenge Crucial's and Samsung's drives in the three main aspects: price, performance, and features. With a slightly lower price tag and the updated firmware with TCG Opal 2.0 support, the SP610 could certainly warrant a recommendation over other offerings.

Power Consumption
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  • nicolapeluchetti - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Has anyone any idea on why the Samsung SSD 840 Pro is so bad in Anandtech Bench 2013 and so good in 2011? Here is the link it did 142 in 2013 Nut in 2011 it's number 1

    How is this possible?I mean are the workloads so different?Did Samsung optimize the controller for the test?
  • WithoutWeakness - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    The 2013 Bench is definitely different enough to have different results for a given drive. More detailed info on the differences between the 2011 and 2013 benches can be found here:
  • Muyoso - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Yea, I bought the 840 Pro on the basis of that 2011 test bench, and now everytime I see an SSD review I am sad to see how ravaged it gets vs the competition.
  • CrystalBay - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't worry about the 840P it still a top drive with excellent support . Come this September Samsung is going bring out some new drives. I'm very curious about what's next from them.
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Maybe September is coming sooner than you think ;-)
  • CrystalBay - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Oh what a nice surprise ! can't wait....
  • Galatian - Saturday, June 28, 2014 - link

    Which answers my question wether I should get the XP941 now for my ASRock Extreme9 or wait ;-)
  • Khenglish - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    It has to do with how the 840Pro handles garbage collection. Basically the way the 2013 test is structured the 840Pro delays far longer than it should before reorganizing itself, but the 2011 test is less stressful in this regard. This means that the 840Pro is a very fast drive if you don't have it running at 100% at all times, but if you are then other drives are likely preferable.
  • althaz - Sunday, June 29, 2014 - link

    The 2013 test is more enterprisey. The 2011 test is a better indicator of performance if you half-fill your SSD and use it for your OS plus a few core apps. If you fill it up and use it for everything, the 2013 test is more useful.
  • nitro912gr - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    I can find the evo 840 250GB at the same price with that adata sp610, should I go with the later since it is bundled with the 3.5" case?
    I can't see much more difference aside that.

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