Samsung 830 ssd review: The Samsung SSD 830 Review

The Samsung SSD 830 Review

by Anand Lal Shimpion September 24, 2011 1:02 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • SSDs
  • Storage
  • Samsung
  • pm830
  • Samsung SSD 830



The DriveRandom & Sequential Read/Write SpeedAS-SSD Incompressible Sequential PerformanceAnandTech Storage Bench 2011AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadPerformance Over Time & TRIMPower ConsumptionFinal Words

Samsung is a dangerous competitor in the SSD space. Not only does it make its own controller, DRAM and NAND, but it also has an incredible track record in terms of reliability. Samsung SSDs were among the first I reviewed and while they weren’t anywhere near the fastest back then, every last one of those drives is still working without issue in my lab today. It’s also worth pointing out that Samsung SSDs are also one of the two options Apple rebrands and delivers in its Mac lineup. To continue to hold on to Apple’s business for this long is an impressive feat on Samsung’s part.

In the early days Samsung actually sold reference designs to companies like Corsair and OCZ. Its partners could then rebrand and resell the drives, which they did. Samsung was still learning the market and after being overshadowed by Indilinx in the performance segment, Samsung retreated. Returning last year to the consumer market Samsung had a new strategy in mind: go directly after the channel. Seeing no point in reselling its designs to third parties, Samsung made its SSD 470 available to both OEMs and consumers alike. OEMs were free to obscure the Samsung name but consumers were told upfront what they were getting. Samsung even spent a good amount on packaging for their drive just to develop its brand.

Although the 470 was a downright decent 3Gbps drive, it was competing in a world dominated by 6Gbps alternatives. Crucial’s m4, Intel’s SSD 510 and OCZ’s Vertex 3 all offered better performance, at a similar price point. The only leg Samsung had to stand on was reliability, which believe it or not can sometimes take second place to performance depending on the target market. What Samsung needed was a faster drive that didn’t sacrifice reliability and didn’t move price points up. That’s exactly what the Samsung SSD 830 is designed to do.

As we’ve already mentioned, the 830 is an evolution of the 470 design. It still employs a page-mapped architecture to deliver high random and sequential performance, but as a result requires quite a bit of on-board memory. Samsung has no qualms about storing user data in DRAM temporarily so it outfits the SSD 830 with a massive 256MB DDR2 cache. While this cache was spread over two chips in the 470, it is contained in a single package in the 830.

On the interface side Samsung gave the 830 a much needed upgrade to 6Gbps SATA. With a higher speed interface to the host controller and some tweaks on the firmware side Samsung is able to deliver much higher performance than the outgoing 470. Samsung manufactures and uses its own 2x-nm Toggle-mode DDR NAND which is fairly similar in performance to the ONFi 2.x NAND used by Intel and Crucial (133Mbps data rates per interface).

Little is known about the 830’s controller other than it is a multi-core ARM design. Samsung claims the controller has three cores however we don’t have any information on the design of each core nor the type of work each one does. As SandForce has claimed in the past, SSDs are rarely limited by processing power. Instead it’s the firmware, algorithms and internal chip memories that ultimately determine performance. Samsung has claimed in the past its multi-core design yields better performance under multitasking workloads but I’m guessing that’s more marketing than substantive.

The enterprise version of the 830 enables full-disk encryption (AES-256) however Samsung’s product literature doesn’t clarify whether or not the same is true for the consumer version.

The Drive

The SSD 830 is the consumer version of Samsung’s recently announced PM830. The two drives use identical hardware but they do differ in initial firmware revisions. Samsung will provide firmware updates (Windows only) via its Magician Software. Users are also able to configure the amount of spare area on the drive using the Magician toolbox. By default spare area is set at a standard ~7% (just what you get from the GB to GiB conversion), putting the 830 on par with Intel and Crucial in that regard.

The Samsung SSD 830 will be available to consumers starting in mid October. Although Samsung isn’t announcing pricing at this time, I’ve been told to expect the drive to be priced around where the SSD 470 is today. I popped over to Newegg to do a quick price check on the 470 and came away relatively pleased:

Newegg Price Comparison





Samsung SSD 470

$384. 99



Crucial m4




Intel SSD 510




OCZ Vertex 3




For the most part the SSD 470 is priced competitively with the Crucial m4 and OCZ Vertex 3. Crucial is a bit cheaper across the board but the gap is at most $20. If Samsung can keep its 830 pricing on par with where the 470 is today, I’ll have absolutely no complaints.

The 830 will be available in four capacities, each of which will be available in three different versions: bare drive, laptop installation kit and desktop installation kit. The bare drive will be the cheapest option while the laptop kit gives you Norton Ghost + a SATA to USB cable and the desktop kit gives you Norton Ghost + a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter (with SATA cable).

Samsung SSD 830 Lineup







2x-nm Toggle MLC

2x-nm Toggle MLC

2x-nm Toggle MLC

2x-nm Toggle MLC






User Capacity





Random Read Performance

Up to 80K IOPS

Up to 80K IOPS

Up to 80K IOPS

Up to 75K IOPS

Random Write Performance

Up to 36K IOPS

Up to 36K IOPS

Up to 30K IOPS

Up to 16K IOPS

Sequential Read Performance

Up to 520 MB/s

Up to 520 MB/s

Up to 520 MB/s

Up to 520 MB/s

Sequential Write Performance

Up to 400 MB/s

Up to 400 MB/s

Up to 320 MB/s

Up to 160 MB/s

Samsung sent us a 512GB drive, however as you can see from the table above the performance should be identical to the 256GB version. We are trying to get our hands on lower capacity versions as well to see how they perform.

The 830 is a very pretty drive, something Samsung is quite proud of. The 7mm chassis is all plastic save for the aluminum top plate. The bare drive doesn’t ship with an adaptor for 9.5mm bays. If your notebook requires a 9.5mm drive you’ll need a carrier of some sort to make the drive fit. There are no screws on the 830, the top plate just snaps on/off:

Inside the 512GB drive are only 8 NAND packages occupying one side of the PCB. These are octal-die packages with 64GB of total NAND per package. Each die is obviously 8GB in capacity.

The Test


Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3. 4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled) — for AT SB 2011, AS SSD & ATTO


Intel DH67BL Motherboard


Intel H67

Chipset Drivers:

Intel + Intel RST 10.2


Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1333 2 x 2GB (7-7-7-20)

Video Card:

eVGA GeForce GTX 285

Video Drivers:

NVIDIA ForceWare 190. 38 64-bit

Desktop Resolution:

1920 x 1200


Windows 7 x64


Random & Sequential Read/Write Speed
The DriveRandom & Sequential Read/Write SpeedAS-SSD Incompressible Sequential PerformanceAnandTech Storage Bench 2011AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadPerformance Over Time & TRIMPower ConsumptionFinal Words



Samsung 830 SSD review: Samsung 830 SSD

It’s really hard to rate a solid-state drive (SSD) without knowing its exact pricing, and that’s just what we had to do with the Samsung 830 series. Samsung has been very tight-lipped about how much the 830 costs and will not reveal that until the drive is available for purchase in October. For now the company says that the new drive will be priced similarly to other SSDs of the same standard and capacities on the market and promises that there won’t be any «surprises» with the final pricing. For this reason we’ll update the rating of this review if the actual price of the drive turns out to be significantly different.

Pricing aside, the Samsung 830 series makes an excellent SSD and it’s also one of the best-looking on the market, something that’s not a must-have but still a welcome bonus for an internal drive, in case you want to use it as a gift. Supporting SATA 3 (6Gbps), the drive also matters where it’s most important: it’s one of the fastest among all standard SSDs we’ve seen.

If you’re in the market for a worthy upgrade for your desktop or laptop computer, the Samsung 830 series is definitely worth the consideration.

Design and features

Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Product dimensions 7mm thick, 2. 5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 512GB
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

Following the tradition of the previous model, the Samsung 470 series, the new Samsung 830 series looks incredibly nice with a black aluminum top and a shiny Samsung logo right in the middle. The device looks more like a piece of jewelry than an internal drive.

Though it comes in the 2.5-inch standard, the 830 is just 7mm thin, as opposed to the standard 9mm found in the 470 series and other laptop hard drives. This means it will fit in an ultraportable laptop, but for it to fit tightly in a regular standard laptop drive bay, you’ll need a spacer that Samsung provides in a laptop kit. This kit, unfortunately, costs another $10 but also includes an SATA-to-USB adapter that helps turn the SSD into an external drive, making it easy if you want to clone a computer’s existing main drive to the 830.

There’s also another $10 upgrade kit for desktops, which comes with SATA data and power cables, screws, and a 2. 5-inch-to-3.5-inch adapter bracket that helps make the SSD fit in any desktop computer. While it’s rather disappointing that these kits cost extra, you can actually get away with not getting any of them and use a piece of homemade padding if you want to use the SSD with a laptop or just let it hang out inside a desktop’s chassis. Since the drive has no moving parts and emits almost no heat, the patchwork solution will likely get the job done without any adverse effects.

To make up for the extra cost of the kit, Samsung bundles the 830 series SSD with Norton Ghost 15.0 and Samsung Magician for free. Norton Ghost 15.0 is a handy drive-cloning program that also offers advanced data backup and recovery functionality. Samsung Magician, on the other hand, is a set of software tools that allows users to users to maximize the performance and lifetime of their Samsung SSD. It provides testing, benchmarking functions, the ability to turn on overprovisioning, and so on. Overprovisioning is a feature that helps resize the partition on an SSD to create unused space on the disk, giving the controller more room to improve the drive’s performance.

The Samsung 830 series support the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) and works very well with SATA controllers (including SATA 2 and SATA) we tried it with. It also worked well with all popular operating systems in our trials, including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. For better performance it’s recommended that you use the latest version of the OSes that support the TRIM command, such as Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.6 or later.

Samsung Magician software provides a set of helpful tools for users to manage and tweak their Samsung SSD.

The Samsung 830 series performed excellently in our testing, especially where it matters the most: data rates.

We tested the drive by copying a large amount of data both when it was used as a secondary drive and when it was used as the main (boot) drive of the test machine. In the former case, the drive can show its full throughput speed, and in the latter, it represents what normal users would get from using it in daily usage.

When used as a secondary drive, the Samsung 830 series registered a real-world copying speed of 261.63MBps, topping the chart. The second fastest we’ve seen is the Plextor PX-256M2S, which scored 261MBps, just a tad slower. When used as the main and single drive of the test machine, the Samsung 830 series was slower as expected since it had to perform both reading and writing at the same time, and averaged 172.88MBps, once again the fastest—more than 10MBps faster than the Plextor.

The drive also helps the test machine boot and shut down much faster. On top of that, applications, especially heavy ones, such as games or Photoshop take much less time to load.

In all, we were happy with what the drive offered, performance-wise. It also worked flawlessly during our testing without any problems.

Boot and shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Shutdown    Boot Time   

Samsung 830 Series


13. 3 

Plextor PX-256M2S



Data transfer (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

As secondary drive    As OS drive   

Samsung 830 Series



Plextor PX-256M2S



Sandisk Ultra



Service and support
Samsung backs the 830 series SSD with a three-year warranty, which is standard for most SSDs, though not as generous as the five-year warranty of the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. At the company’s Web site, you’ll find downloads for manuals, software, and firmware for the SSD.

We were really pleased with the new Samsung 830 series SSD and would recommend it to anybody if its price is comparable to or lower than that of other SSDs of the same standard and capacities on the market.

Samsung 830 256GB SATA III SSD Benchmarks and Review

The Samsung 830 256GB SSD is a top pick in this SSD generation given Samsung’s reputation for quality. One can find Samsung SSD offerings inside several OEMs such as Apple and HP so we know the level of testing the controllers and firmware are put through exceed that of small SSD companies. Recently SSD prices have come down a very significant amount to the point that I am no longer recommending anything smaller than 120GB and think that the 256GB SATA III drives are probably the best long-term value. Amidst all of this price cutting, the Samsung 830 solid state drive was one of the last current generation drives to come down in price. Recently the 256GB models have been selling for around $200 making a 256GB drive relatively affordable compared to what we had been accustomed to seeing in the marketplace. I decided to pick a drive up and see how it performs. One thing I did want to draw a little attention to is the fact that Samsung has one of the cleanest designs out there right now. No stickers that make me think my SSD is about to test the standard model of physics. Too bad SSDs are generally inside enclosures, but it is a nice change.

Test Configuration

I am using a Sandy Bridge test bed here as the Cougar Point SATA 6.0gbps controller is perhaps the best 6.0gbps SATA controller on the market at the moment.

  1. CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
  2. Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-M EVO
  3. Memory: 8GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 (4x2GB)
  4. OS Drive: OCZ Agility 2 120GB
  5. Additional Drives: Crucial M4 256GB
  6. Additional NICs: Intel Gigabit CT PCIe x1 network adapter
  7. Enclosure: Supermicro SC731i-300B
  8. Power Supply: Supermicro 300w (included in the SC731i-300B)

As with any modern SSD, set the controller to AHCI mode or RAID mode for best performance. Also, installing the Intel RST 10.xx series drivers over the default Windows 7 drivers showed a nice performance gain.

I do think that I will begin using the Intel Z77 chipset in the near future but wanted to provide a baseline using the H67 for the solid state drive reviews.

The Tests

It is important, especially with SSDs not to take a single test result at face value. One should look at a few different tests to get an idea of how the drives perform in different scenarios. To this end, AS SSD benchmark, CrystalDiskMark, ATTO and HD Tune Pro all show different facets of performance.

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD is a solid benchmark that does not write compressible data to drives. The result is perhaps one of the best workstation SSD benchmarks available today.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB AS SSD Benchmark

The Samsung 830 256GB solid state drive does acceptably in the AS SSD benchmark. I was a bit disappointed though in the write speeds which come in below today’s current best in class SSDs. One thing that should be noted is that anything under 125MB/s could be a bottleneck when transferring over gigabit Ethernet networks.


CrystalDiskMark is another benchmark which gives non-compressible read/write numbers. This is in contrast to the ATTO Benchmark used by LSI/ Sandforce and its partners when they market a given solid state drive.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB CrystalDiskMark Benchmark

Overall CrystalDiskMark shows solid performance from the Samsung 830 SSD. I would have liked to see write speeds a little higher but the 78MB/s 4K speed is very competitive with current offerings. Even with the newest v1.5 firmware, the OCZ Vertex 4 benchmarks show similar 4K performance. The OCZ Vertex 4 does show better write speeds across the board though.

ATTO Benchmark

The ATTO Benchmark shows some fairly strong performance, I will note that the value of the ATTO benchmark is really to show the best-case scenario. ATTO is known to write highly compressible data to drives, which inflates speeds of controllers that compress data like LSI/ SandForce does prior to writing on a given solid state drive.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB ATTO Benchmark

The write speeds of the Samsung 830 256GB solid state drive are a bit lower than we are seeing from current generation solid state drives. Of course, unlike SandForce drives, the Samsung 830 256GB SSD is not inflating these results due to ATTO using compressible data.

HD Tune Pro

HD Tune and its Pro version have been longstanding disk drive benchmarks. I started including the basic benchmark in reviews since I do test a mix of hard drives and solid state drives.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB HD Tune Pro Benchmark

Not the highest read speeds but very consistent read and access times provide a solid showing for the Samsung 830 256GB solid state drive.

Anvil’s Storage Utilities

Anvil is quickly becoming one of the new de-facto benchmarks for hard drives and solid state drives as it allows a lot of customization. This benchmark has been added to the ServeTheHome test suite due to user demand.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB Anvil Storage Utilities

Overall very competitive results here and the drive is able to push over 60,000 IOPS at higher queue depths.


The Samsung 830 is very competitive with the SandForce based drives, and Marvell based drives such as the Crucial M4 256GB and OCZ Vertex 4 256GB even with v1.5 firmware. What Samsung brings to the table is OEM-level reliability. No big OEM wants to see large numbers of returns. Remember Apple’s model is servicing broken laptops in-store which is very expensive compared to OCZ’s model (as an example) of send your drive in and we will mail one back to you. I do not think that most users will be able to tell the difference between the Samsung 830GB and other drives in terms of real-world performance when not looking at benchmarks. For those wondering, I just built a HTPC with an old Intel X25-M 80GB G2 drive and despite having literally stacks of the newest 6.0gbps SATA III drives around, I cannot get more than 0.25s faster boot times on the Core i7-3770K based machine. Right now my guidance is to stay away from Asynchronous NAND based drives like the Corsair Force 3 and the OCZ Agility 3 as there is a noticeable performance decrease there. Among other drives optimize for reliability, warranty, and price for capacity.

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series 256GB Summary

Samsung 830 128GB SSD Review

[section label=1. Introduction]

100% Samsung

When you look at the SSD market a couple of months ago, it was actually quite hard to find a Samsung SSD. For some reason or another, it just seemed like Samsung wasn’t too interested in building SSDs for the consumer market. Sure, they are huge in the OEM space, building tons and tons of these things for the likes of Apple, but none of those were really available direct to consumers. They did release the Samsung 470 SATA 2 3Gb/s drive to the public, but that drive didn’t really gain much traction and didn’t receive a proper marketing push by Samsung either.

So, fast forward to Q4 2011 and Samsung is full on into the consumer space with their new top of the line Samsung 830 SSD with full support for SATA 3 6Gb/s. But this time around, it seems like Samsung is serious. Today we’ll be specifically be reviewing the Samsung 830 128GB SSD. In addition to 128GB, Samsung will also be offering the drive in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB flavors as well.

Now, the first thing you’ll notice about the drive is that it is 128GB, so you’d probably be thinking something like Indilinx or Marvell controller, right? Well, not exactly. What makes this SSD special is that the entire thing is built from the ground up by Samsung. Nothing is outsourced, which means Samsung has full control of everything that goes into their product from the controller to the NAND to the firmware. That’s a very enviable position to be in. Lucky companies will either have their own controller (OCZ Technology), their own customized firmware (Intel), or their own NAND (Crucial), but a single company owning all parts in an SSD? That’s what puts Samsung in such an awesome spot.

Samsung 830 128GB Specifications

  • Solid State Drive with Notebook Upgrade Kit SATA – SATA III (6Gb/s)
  • 2. 5” 7mm (Ultraslim) Form Factor
  • 830 Series
  • 128GB Capacity
  • Up to 520MB/s Sequential Read Speed
  • Up to 320MB/s Sequential Write Speed

From the specifications, there isn’t all that much that stands out to me. The SSD is only 7mm thick though, which will allow it to fit into extremely thin notebooks. Otherwise, especially compared to the advertised specifications on other SandForce based drives, the Samsung 830 might even seem slow. Of course, we’ll have to let the benchmarks tell the full story. Let’s continue.

[section label=2. A Closer Look]

A Closer Look at the Samsung 830 128GB

Starting with the accessories, we get a USB to SATA adapter, a certificate for Batman: Arkham City, a copy of Norton Ghost, a driver and software CD, as well as some documentation. Do note that this is the notebook upgrade kit. For those who purchase the desktop upgrade kit, you’ll get a 3.5″ mounting bracket and a MOLEX to SATA power adapter instead of the USB to SATA cable. Additionally, the SSD can come as a bare drive only as well which will only include some documentation and the software CD.

Taking a look at the SSD here, the Samsung 830 is definitely a slick-looking drive. The entire drive is finished in brushed aluminum with the Samsung logo prominently displayed right up front. At the bottom left corner of the drive, Samsung has also labeled the capacity of the drive as well. In this case, 128GB.

Here we’ve got the SATA and SATA power connector in its usual spot up front. Remember, this drive is a SATA 3 6Gb/s drive, so make sure to connect it to a SATA 3 6Gb/s header on your PC for the best possible performance.

What’s very different about the Samsung 830 is that it’s only 7mm thick, which allows it to be used in very thin laptops and ultrabooks. Here we’ve got a side by side comparison of the Samsung 830 next to the OCZ Vertex 3 as well as a standard 2.5″ mechanical hard drive as well.

Samsung may have purposefully designed the drive this way because of their PM830, the OEM edition of the 830, will probably be sold to manufacturers of ultrabooks and such.

The back of the drive is quite plain with just a sticker providing information on different model numbers, part numbers, and all that good stuff.  Notice there are no screws on the drive. I’m assuming that’s because Samsung really doesn’t want you to open it up.

As you can see here, the drive is held together by tabs that must be broken prior to opening up the case. Wish I knew that before some of the tabs broke. Now you know. Don’t open the case! Luckily, even with only half the tabs the casing still closes up, just not as securely. Oh well. Sacrifices need to be made, right?

Remember when I was talking about how Samsung has their own SSD controller? Well, here it is. The S4LJ204X01 3 core ARM chip that powers it all. Unfortunately, not much is known about this chip since Samsung isn’t providing much information about it other than the fact that it’s a 3 core chip and we can see that it says “ARM” right on the chip itself.

Below that we’ve also got a huge single 256MB Samsung DDR2 DRAM cache module. 256MB is the exact same size cache used on the Crucial m4 128GB we reviewed previously.

Whereas companies like OCZ would use something like 16 chips to achieve 120GB, Samsung is doing it with only 4. Since it’s 128GB, and there’s only 4 chips, each chip should have a capacity of 32GB. Additionally, what you see here are Samsung’s 2xnm toggle NAND, which means we should expect to see very good performance out of this drive.

[section label=3. ATTO Disk Bench / Crystal Disk Mark]

Sandy Bridge Test Bench

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K
Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Fatal1ty Professional Gen 3
Graphics: Intel HD3000 Graphics
Memory: Gskill Sniper 1866MHz DDR3 1.5v
Storage: Patriot Pyro SE 120gb
Power Supply: Corsair HX650
Case: HSPC High Speed Tech Station

Special thanks to HSPC for providing us with the High Speed Tech Station (Large) for our test bench.

Samsung 830 128GB Performance

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark is one of the industry’s most popular benchmarks for testing SSD read/write speeds. This benchmarks allows read and write testing using predefined block sizes and gives us a good idea of read/write speeds with different sized files.

Kicking off our benchmarking, we first do a couple quick runs of ATTO Disk Benchmark to get a good idea of what we’re dealing with. Overall, the numbers put out by the Samsung 830 are pretty good, pushing around 326MB/s writes and 549MB/s reads. Considering the drive is advertised at 320MB/s writes and 520MB/s reads, it looks like the drive is actually outperforming the advertised specs in both read and write performance. Lookin’ good so far Samsung!

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0.1 x64

Crystal Disk Mark is another popular benchmark which allows us to measure both sequential read/write speeds as well as random read/write speeds. With this benchmark, tests will be run using both random fill (incompressible data which simulates music, video, pictures, etc.) and 0 fill (compressible data).

Next up is our usual Crystal Disk Mark and as you can immediately see, the drive doesn’t benefit from using a compressible data set, so it’s a clear reminder that Samsung isn’t using SandForce. Otherwise taking a look at the benchmark on the left, which was run using a random, or incompressible data set, the 830 pushes a very impressive 497.8MB/s sequential read and 305.7MB/s sequential write. Additionally it also does a decent job with 4K QD32 transfers as well, clocking in at 315.5MB/s reads and 118.6MB/s writes, giving most SandForce drives a run for the money in read performance here as well.

[section label=4. AS SSD / PC Mark 7]

Samsung 830 Performance

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD is a very commonly used benchmark used to measure SSD performance in a number of categories. Here, tests are run using incompressible data, which most simulate real world usage. It also outputs a final score at the conclusion of the test based off the read and write performance of the drive.

Again, AS SSD confirms Crystal Disk Mark’s numbers. As expected from an SSD, response times here are quite low as well.

PC Mark 7

The PC Mark 7 storage test tests the SSD under many different real world tests such as gaming, video editing, etc. This is most representative of the SSD’s performance under real world situations.

SSD PC Mark 7
SanDisk Extreme 240GB 5273
Samsung 830 128GB 5234
Crucial m4 128GB 5214
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 5078
Patriot Pyro SE 120GB 5042
OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe 120GB 4954
Kingston V+200 120GB 4711
OCZ Agility 3 120GB 4701
Corsair Force 3 180GB 4615
Seagate Momentus XT 750GB 3247
WD Scorpio Black 250GB 1727

Taking a quick look at our PC Mark 7 scores here, it looks like the Samsung 830 128GB has just nabbed the top spot at the 120GB/128GB tier, no doubt to superior sequential write speeds when compared to SandForce and Marvell based drives out there.

[section label=5. Software]

Samsung SSD Magician

Included with the SSD is both Norton Ghost, which is used for drive cloning, and Samsung’s SSD Magician software, which is quite possibly the most full featured SSD software suite I’ve seen to date. As you can see in the screenshot above, it has tons of features, so in the next couple images I’m going to walk you through some of the ones I thought were particularly awesome.


Check out how easy it is to update the firmware on the drive. Literally just browse over to the update directory and the utility takes care of the rest.

Included is also a benchmark for those who need yet another benchmark to test the performance of the SSD. We’ll stick to what we normally run, but this one will do the trick in a pinch.

Probably the most interesting feature about the Samsung SSD Magician is the fact that it allows you to adjust the over provisioning on the drive. The process is pretty easy and the utility will even give you a recommendation on what it should be set at.

Have no idea how to optimize your OS for the SSD? That’s okay. Just hit the tune button and you’re good to go. Doesn’t get much easier than this. Additionally, the software also has a feature to optimize the SSD as well through the “Performance Optimization” tab. While it isn’t pictured, it’s also a one click process.

In addition to the features shown above, the software also has secure disk wipe functionality, system information, as well as Norton Ghost integration for cloning your drive. Considering most drive manufacturers don’t even have their own software, it seems like Samsung has really gone above and beyond here.

[section label=6. Conclusion]

Samsung 830 Conclusions

Starting with the performance, we can see that the Samsung 830 is fast. As seen in PC Mark 7, the 830 actually takes the top spot in performance when compared to other 128GB/120GB SSDs out on the market. Definitely impressive to say the least. Looking at sequential reads, the 830 does a great job hanging in with all the SandForce based drives on the market, pushing out about 550MB/s writes, which exceeds the rated specifications. As far as writes are concerned, the 830 beats most 128GB/120GB SandForce based drives hands down when it comes to incompressible write performance, but ultimately wasn’t able to beat them out when it came to compressible write performance. However, considering real world usage will be a mixture of both incompressible and incompressible data, the Samsung 830 will still have an edge, which is why it scored so high in the PC Mark 7 benchmark.

Appearance wise, I don’t think SSDs come prettier than the Samsung 830. The black brushed aluminum finish with the contrasting white Samsung logo really pops. We all know when it comes to computer hardware, black is always a safe bet, and black brushed aluminum? Even better. Additionally as we saw earlier, Samsung has really outdone everyone when it comes to the software suite. It has pretty much everything you’d think you need and a whole lot more in a ridiculously easy to use package. Way to go!

Finally, taking a look at pricing, the Samsung 830 128GB comes in at around $171. 32 for the bare drive, $179.99 for the laptop kit reviewed today, and $187.65 for the desktop kit  on Amazon. Additionally, the Samsung 830 also comes with a 3 year warranty as well. Looking at the SSD market today, I’d say the biggest competitor to the Samsung 830 is the Crucial m4 128GB SSD which is currently retailing for only $152.65 making it nearly $20 cheaper than the Samsung 830. However, be aware that $10-$20 differences will fluctuate as retailers and manufacturers adjust prices, so if the 830 can be found at the same price or a couple bucks more than the Crucial m4, it would be a very worthwhile, higher performing alternative.

Bottom Line

There’s a reason why companies like Apple and Dell choose Samsung SSDs for their own products. The Samsung 830 128GB is a beautiful, high performing SSD backed by Samsung’s excellent track record for reliability. The software is the most feature packed software suite I’ve ever seen, and the entire 830 is produced “in house”, so Samsung willl probably be hand picking the best NAND modules and tweaking the firmware for both increased performance and reliability. Highly recommended.

Special thanks to Samsung for making this review possible.

The Samsung 830 128GB bare drive, laptop kit, and desktop kit is currently available at Amazon.

Samsung 830 Revisited: 256GB SSD Review

[section label=1. Introduction]

100% Samsung v2

Many months back, I reviewed the Samsung 830 128GB SSD, which I thought was an amazing product capable of delivering top notch performance and a ton of value add for an extremely competitive price. At the time however, the 240GB/256GB capacity was still quite expensive and largely out of reach for most consumers looking to upgrade to an SSD. With numerous price drops occurring through the past few months, the 256GB capacity has become a lot more accessible to a larger majority of consumers, so here we are once again with a review of the Samsung 830 SSD. This time, the 256GB edition.

Similar to the 128GB edition of the Samsung 830, the 256GB edition is completely manufactured in house. Unlike every other SSD manufacturer out there who has to source at least one if not more components from 3rd parties, Samsung sources everything from themselves. Because of this, Samsung is able to control every aspect of their SSD from exactly what NAND goes into the SSD all the way to how the firmware on the controller interfaces with the NAND. This not only reduces cost for Samsung as they don’t need to pay any 3rd parties, but they also don’t need to rely on third parties when issues crop up, which was something OCZ took a lot of flak for with their SandForce SF-2281 based drives.

Since our review of the Samsung 830 128GB all the way back in early April, the SSD market has gone through a number of changes. As already mentioned, SSDs have greatly dropped in price with most top tier SSDs now in the <$1/GB range. Additionally, a number of new, highly competitive SSDs and SSD manufacturers have entered the SSD market such as the previously reviewed OCZ Vertex 4 256GB and the Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB.

Does the aging 100% Samsung 830 256GB SSD still stand a chance in today’s rapidly evolving SSD market?

Samsung 830 256GB Specifications

Capacity 64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB
Controller Samsung S4LJ204X01-Y040 Samsung S4LJ204X01-Y040 Samsung S4LJ204X01-Y040 Samsung S4LJ204X01-Y040
NAND 27nm Toggle Mode MLC 27nm Toggle Mode MLC 27nm Toggle Mode MLC 27nm Toggle Mode MLC
Sequential Reads 520 MB/s 520 MB/s 520 MB/s 520 MB/s
Sequential Writes 160 MB/s 320 MB/s 400 MB/s 400 MB/s
Interface SATA 3 6GB/s SATA 3 6GB/s SATA 3 6GB/s SATA 3 6GB/s

[section label=2. A Closer Look (Exterior)]

A Closer Look at the Samsung 830 256GB

Here’s a look at the Samsung 830 256GB box. It’s quite similar to the Samsung 830 128GB with the exception that the product photo on the box is a 256GB SSD instead of a 128GB SSD. The specific model we have today is the notebook upgrade kit with the model MZ-7PC256N/AM. The Samsung 830 also comes in a desktop kit edition as well as a bare drive edition.

Included in the packaging for the notebook kit, you get some documentation, a copy of Norton Ghost, a copy of the Samsung’s Magician software, and a USB to SATA adapter. Additionally, the SSD also comes with a 2mm riser as it’s only 7mm thick to allow the SSD to fit into notebooks that are designed to use 9.5mm thick 2.5″ drives.

One thing to note is that when we previously reviewed the 128GB edition of the 830, it also came with a huge value add in the form of a free copy of Batman: Arkham City (~$25). With this new drive, it seems like Samsung is discontinuing the promotion, which is a huge bummer.

Here’s a look at the drive itself. The entire top of the drive has a very sleek brushed aluminum finish with just the Samsung logo through the middle. At the bottom left corner of the drive, we also get information on the drive’s capacity.

In terms of connectors, we get the standard SATA 3 6Gb/s connector along with the SATA power connector. Additionally, the Samsung 830 is especially thin, coming in at only 7 mm thick as compared to the more common 9.5 mm. This allows the Samsung 830 to fit into thinner notebooks and ultrabooks that only support 7 mm thick 2.5″ drives.

Here’s a look at the back of the SSD. Just some information about the SSD here.

[section label=3. A Closer Look (Interior)]

A Closer Look at the Samsung 830 256GB

As expected from the last time I opened up one of these Samsung 830 SSDs, Samsung has designed the casing so that you must destroy it to open it. As you can see, there are many little tabs inside the casing that must be broken to gain access to the PCB.

After opening the casing and pulling out the PCB, we notice that Samsung has included a large piece of thermal dissipation material to the top cover of the SSD to help dissipate heat.

Here’s a look at the top and bottom of the PCB. The top of the PCB is quite busy while the bottom of empty. Because Samsung has crammed everything onto the top of the PCB, they’re able to achieve the 7mm thickness.

Here’s a look at Samsung’s very own S4LJ204X01-Y040 3 core ARM9 based controller.

Here we have the Samsung 256MB DDR2 DRAM cache chip. According to Samsung, this cache helps maintain stable random read performance.

Here’s a look at Samsung’s 27nm Toggle Mode MLC NAND. According to Samsung, the NAND is rated at up to 133Mbps. As there’s 8 NAND chips onboard, each NAND chip houses a total of 32GB storage capacity. The specific model for each NAND chip here is K9FGY8U7A-HCK0.

Because there’s physically more NAND chips onboard the 256GB edition of the Samsung 830, more parallel writes can occur, which is probably the reason why the 256GB edition of the 830 is rated for faster write speeds than the 128GB edition.

[section label=4. Test Setup and ATTO Disk Bench]

Ivy Bridge Test Bench

CPU Intel Core i5 3570K
Motherboard Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H
Memory Kingston HyperX Genesis 16GB DDR3 2133MHz
Graphics Intel HD4000 Graphics
Storage Patriot Pyro SE 120gb
Power Supply Corsair HX650
Case HSPC High Speed Tech Station
Optical Drive ASUS OEM DVD Drive
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Special thanks to Gigabyte, Kingston, and HSPC for sponsoring our test bench!

Samsung 830 256GB Performance

ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46

ATTO Disk Benchmark is one of the industry’s oldest and most popular benchmarks for testing disk read/write speeds. This benchmarks allows read and write testing using predefined block sizes and gives us a good idea of read/write speeds with different sized files. Most SSD manufacturers these days prefer using this benchmark when advertising SSDs as it tests using compressible data, which tends to yield better performance.

In comparison to the Samsung 830 128GB, the 25GB edition of the SSD is capable of similar sequential reads, but it’s capable of about 100MB/s faster sequential writes. This makes the Samsung 830 256GB a lot more competitive as most SandForce based drives are capable of hitting around 500MB/s+ in both read and write speeds in Atto Disk Benchmark. That said, let’s move on to some testing with incompressible data.

[section label=5. Crystal Disk Mark / AS SSD]

Samsung 830 256GB Performance

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0.1 x64

Crystal Disk Mark is another popular benchmark which allows us to measure both sequential read/write speeds as well as random read/write speeds. With this benchmark, tests can be run using both random fill (incompressible data) and 0 fill (compressible data). Realistically in typical computer usage scenarios, data being transferred will consist of a mixture of both incompressible and compressible data.

Unlike SandForce based SSDs, the Samsung 830 performs the same no matter if the data being read/written is compressible or incompressible. This is impressive because typically SandForce based drives will see incompressible writes dip to around the low 300MB/s range.

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD is a very commonly used benchmark used to measure SSD performance in a number of categories. Here, tests are run using incompressible data, which most simulate real world usage. It also outputs a final score at the conclusion of the test based off the read and write performance of the drive.

As expected from the results we’ve already seen in Crystal Disk Mark, the compression benchmark here features a very straight line. This means that performance will be identical across all levels of file compression be it compressible or incompressible.

[section label=6. Anvil Storage Utilities / PC Mark 7]

Samsung 830 256GB Performance

Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities is an excellent all around benchmark for testing many different functions of SSD performance. For our purposes, we ran the benchmark through both 0 fill mode (compressible data) on the left and 100% compression (incompressible data) on the right.

Performance seen through Anvil Storage Utilities is quite similar to what we’ve already seen from Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, and Atto Disk Benchmark.

PC Mark 7

The PC Mark 7 storage test tests the SSD under many different real world tests such as gaming, video editing, etc. This is most representative of the SSD’s performance under real world situations.

In PC Mark 7, the Samsung 830 256GB scores 5278, which is a score identical to the PC Mark 7 score of the SanDisk Extreme 240GB. It scored 44 points above the Samsung 830 128GB, no doubt due to the faster write speeds found on the 256GB edition.

[section label=7. Conclusion]

Samsung 830 256GB Conclusions

Since I’ve already reviewed the Samsung 830 128GB, I’ll be mostly talking about the performance and pricing when it comes to the Samsung 830 256GB. Those interested in more details about the Samsung 830, be sure to check out the Samsung 830 128GB SSD review here.

So, let’s talk about performance for a minute then. What’s the major difference with the 256GB Samsung 830? Well, it’s going to be the write speeds. With the 256GB Samsung 830, you’ll be looking at around a 100MB/s increase in sequential write performance as well as smaller increases in write performance across the board all the way up from the 4k file size. Because of this fast write performance as well as the Samsung 830’s ability to put out identically impressive performance while working with both compressible and incompressible data, those looking to do large file transfers of incompressible data will probably want to place the Samsung 830 256GB right at the top of their shopping list especially if the choice is between the 128GB or the 256GB Samsung 830.

Current pricing on Amazon for the Samsung 830 256GB Laptop Kit is $228.54, the Samsung 830 256GB Desktop Kit is $218. 99 and the Samsung 830 256GB bare drive is $219.99. This puts the 256GB Samsung 830 at that nice sub $1/GB price point. Looking at the prices here though, it’s pretty obvious you should go with the desktop kit or the laptop kit over the bare drive as the kits include more value add and either costs less, or not much more. However, with all the price drops on SSDs lately, other top tier SSDs such as the OCZ Vertex 4 256GB ($189.99), Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB ($199.99), and SanDisk Extreme 240GB ($168.68) are currently priced even more competitively than the Samsung 830 256GB, so I’d definitely recommend doing some research on those SSDs as well.

The warranty on the Samsung 830 is 3 years, which is standard for most SSDs on the market, but with companies such as Intel and OCZ giving their flagship products 5 year warranties, it would be nice to see Samsung move in that direction for their next generation offering. That said, Samsung does have an excellent track record for reliability with their SSDs, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Bottom Line

While the Samsung 830 256GB SSD isn’t the fastest SSD on the market, isn’t the cheapest SSD on the market, and doesn’t carry the longest warranty, it’s still a fast SSD with top notch looks, a 7mm design, tons of value add, and an excellent software package.

Special thanks to Samsung for making this review possible!

The Samsung 830 256GB, Samsung 830 256GB Laptop Kit, and Samsung 830 256GB Desktop Kit is currently available on Amazon.

Samsung’s 830 Series solid-state drive

Manufacturer Samsung
Model 830 Series
Price (256GB) $360
Availability Now

Despite being a consumer electronics giant that makes everything from smartphones to home appliances, Samsung has always been something of a dark horse in the PC storage industry. For years, the company cranked out some of the finest desktop hard drives around, yet they were often difficult to find in stock at online retailers. We got the sense that Samsung was far less interested in selling bare drives to the enthusiast community than the other hard drive makers.

Indeed, Samsung has now bailed out of selling hard drives completely. This past spring, Seagate announced plans to acquire Samsung’s hard drive business. The deal doesn’t include Samsung’s SSD division, but it does stipulate that Seagate use Samsung flash memory in its hybrid and solid-state drives. Hmmm.

As one of the world’s largest producers of flash memory—and slim computing devices too small for traditional hard drives—Samsung’s solid-state focus makes a lot of sense. The firm is in the enviable position of being one of very few in the industry capable of producing all the key components within an SSD. It’s been doing so for years, and as with hard drives, the focus has largely been on catering to big-name PC vendors and system builders.

Perhaps because PC enthusiasts have been quick to adopt SSDs in their desktop systems, Samsung has recently seemed more intent on catering to us. A little more than a year ago, it released a 470 Series SSD with slick packaging, competitive performance, and only a few weaknesses. Now, Samsung is back with an 830 Series drive that promises to be substantially faster without breaking the bank. In a nod to enthusiasts, the drive even comes with a free copy of Batman: Arkham City. It’ll take more than a fancy game bundle to impress us, so we’ve run Samsung’s latest through our usual gauntlet of storage tests to see how it stacks up. The results might surprise you.

Slim shady

Solid-state drives are undeniably premium storage solutions, and they should really look the part. Alas, all too many are clad in uninspired cases that look particularly out of place considering the associated price tags. Not the Samsung 830 Series, whose case features a brushed metal face with nicely beveled edges. Although there’s nothing particularly flashy about the design, it at least gives the impression of a high-end product.

The 830 Series is skinnier than the competition, too. Though it has the same footprint as a standard 2.5″ drive, it’s only 7 mm thick. Most solid-state drives, like the OCZ Octane pictured on the left in the image above, have a 9.5-mm thickness. The same goes for most 2.5″ mechanical hard drives. With a thinner profile, this new Samsung SSD should offer better compatibility with the increasing number of ultra-slim notebooks on the market.

The only thing I don’t like about the case is how difficult it is to pry open. SSD enclosures are typically held together with miniature screws that are easily removed; the biggest barrier to entry is usually a warranty sticker over one of the screws. Samsung instead uses a press-fit case that appears impossible to crack open without breaking a few of the internal plastic clips holding things together. Gingerly sliding a pocket knife around the edge of the top piece was enough to do the trick, but this sort of surgery will definitely void your warranty.

Will end users ever need to bust open their drives? Probably not. But Samsung shrouds much of this new model in mystery, so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to peek up its skirt.

The chips at the heart of the drive are particularly important because Samsung makes each and every one of them. Quick, name another SSD company that produces its own controller, flash memory, and cache. Toshiba is the only one that comes to mind, and it isn’t exactly a big player in the consumer SSD market. (Intel does produce its own flash memory and controllers, but it’s made a habit of using third-party controller tech for high-end drives.)

Samsung was tight-lipped about the controller in its 470 Series SSD, and the firm has remained secretive regarding the MCX chip in the 830 Series. We know the chip has a 6Gbps interface, which is a step up from the 3Gbps SATA link in the old model. We also know the MCX controller has three processor cores based on the ARM9 architecture, and that those cores can execute different instructions in parallel. Samsung is quite explicit about the fact that the controller doesn’t engage in any funky write-compression trickery, but it can encrypt bits with a 256-bit AES algorithm. That’s about it as far as details are concerned.

We’ve asked Samsung to reveal more specifics about the MCX chip and how it differs from previous generations, but our questions remain unanswered. Samsung pushed the 470 Series as a “multi-CPU” design, so the new MCX may not be its first triple-core controller. This isn’t the company’s first ARM-based SSD controller; the chip in the 470 Series was prominently inscribed with the ARM name, too.

Since solid-state drives extract much of their performance from parallelism, both within their controllers and in the attached NAND arrays, I suspect the MCX chip may have more memory channels than its predecessor. Unfortunately, Samsung has declined to reveal the number of channels in each controller. We do, however, know a little bit more about the memory chips in this new SSD.

Toggle my DDR

There are two kinds of memory in the Samsung 830 Series SSD: a 256MB DRAM cache chip and an array of Toggle DDR NAND. Backed primarily by Samsung and Toshiba, Toggle DDR NAND is an alternative to the ONFI flash specification supported by Intel, Micron, and others. Both standards are JEDEC-approved, but they go about things a little differently.

Toggle DDR NAND is similar to synchronous ONFI memory in that reads and writes can be executed on both the rising and falling edges of a data query strobe. This strobe is activated only when transfers are taking place, making Toggle NAND potentially more power-efficient than the ONFI stuff. In order to hit a similar double data rate, synchronous ONFI NAND uses an external clock cycle in addition to its data strobe.

Samsung’s marketing materials for the 830 Series reveal that the NAND dies are capable of transferring data at speeds up to 133Mbps. Surprisingly, that’s the same data rate quoted for the Toggle DDR chips in the old Samsung 470 Series. 133Mbps is the maximum speed for the first-generation Toggle standard, while Toggle DDR 2.0 promises per-chip data rates as fast as 400Mbps.

Although the 830 Series’ individual NAND dies don’t appear to be any faster than the ones found in Samsung’s last-generation SSD, the individual transistors are definitely smaller. The last-gen NAND was manufactured on a 32-nm process, but the new drive uses memory built on a “20-nanometer-class” node. Samsung wouldn’t be more specific about exactly where its fabrication technology falls inside the 2x-nm spectrum.

Our 256GB sample features eight NAND packages arranged on the same side of the circuit board as the controller and cache memory. According to Samsung’s decoder ring, those K9PFGY8U7A-HCK0 packages offer 256Gb spread across eight NAND dies, resulting in a 64 x 32Gb die configuration for the drive as a whole. SSDs in the same size range usually achieve their capacities with 32 x 64Gb die configurations, so the Samsung 830 Series has an apparent edge in die-level parallelism.

In our look at SSD performance scaling across multiple capacities, we learned that increasing the number of NAND dies on an SSD can dramatically improve its performance. We also saw that performance can be improved by using higher-density dies, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions based on die counts alone.

Do note the high die-per-package count, though. The NAND packages in most of the SSDs we’ve tested have one or two dies each. Samsung crams in eight dies per package on the 830 Series 256GB, and the NAND packages in its 470 Series predecessor have a similar die density. More dies per package means fewer packages per drive, which enables smaller and slimmer form factors. This is the first 256GB SSD we’ve seen mount all its components on only one side of the circuit board, leaving an eerily naked underbelly. The Samsung 470 Series is also a bit of an oddity on the form-factor front; although the 256GB model comes in a 2.5″ case, the circuit board is about the same size as a 1. 8″ drive.

Capacity Max sequential Max 4KB random Price
Read Write Read Write
64GB 520MB/s 160MB/s 75,000 IOps 16,000 IOps
128GB 520MB/s 320MB/s 80,000 IOps 30,000 IOps
256GB 520MB/s 400MB/s 80,000 IOps 36,000 IOps
512GB 520MB/s 400MB/s 80,000 IOps 36,000 IOps

With NAND packages of a similar density, Samsung could probably build the smaller versions of the 830 Series on single-sided 1. 8″ circuit boards. We’re still waiting to hear back from Samsung on the die configurations for other sizes in the family.

Samsung’s performance specifications give us a sense of what to expect from the 256GB model’s siblings, though. The 512GB drive doesn’t appear to be any faster, and the 64GB variant is purportedly quite a bit slower. We tend to prefer 128GB drives, and that looks like a pretty good spot in the lineup. The 128GB model should offer roughly double the write performance of the 64GB version without being too big of a step down in performance from the 256-512GB flavors.

Regardless of the capacity, the Samsung 830 Series comes in a couple of fancy retail kits: one with mounting hardware for desktops, and the other with a SATA-to-USB adapter meant for notebooks. Each retail package includes a copy of Norton Ghost and a download code for the PC version of Batman: Arkham City. Bundling a hot new game with a solid-state drive is a little bit weird, especially since most notebook users will struggle to run Arkham City at playable frame rates. If your PC is up to snuff, the game is pretty awesome. After spending only a few hours in Arkham City, I can tell you that all the critical acclaim is well deserved. Even those with no desire to play the game should be able to find a grateful recipient for the coupon code.

Solid-state magic

Before sitting down to test Samsung’s latest, I realized that I’d yet to hear any complaints about the company’s SSDs losing data, bricking after firmware updates, or spitting out BSOD errors. Every major SSD maker seems to have been hit with one bug or another, and for a moment, I thought Samsung might be immune. No such luck. The release notes for the latest firmware list improvements to “compatibility and stability,” and a prior update fixed a “blue screen, hang problem.”

Samsung SSDs haven’t been entirely devoid of issues, but we also haven’t heard of any widespread problems. Perhaps that’s because the drives and their firmware are more robust. Then again, it might be because the notoriously vocal enthusiast community has favored other solutions. There are only a few hundred user reviews of Samsung’s 470 and 830 Series SSDs on Newegg. Meanwhile, the very same retailer has thousands of user reviews of just OCZ’s latest SandForce-based SSDs.

At least Samsung’s SSD Magician software makes downloading and installing firmware updates a snap. This application can secure-erase drives and perform various system optimizations. It also features an overprovisioning tool that can increase the amount of NAND capacity used as “spare area” by the controller. Other SSDs allow their overprovisioning to be tweaked simply by creating a partition smaller than the total size of the drive, but kudos to Samsung for wrapping up this and other functionality in a tidy little app.

Our testing methods

Over the last few months, we’ve tested a huge stack of SSDs based on all the latest controller configurations. Today, the Samsung 830 Series will face them all.

If you’ve been keeping up with our storage coverage, you’ll know all the nerdy details about our test methods and hardware; feel free to skip ahead to our performance analysis. For the rest of you, we’ve detailed each drive’s essential characteristics in the chart below. You’ll want to pay particular attention to how the Samsung 830 Series compares to the other high-capacity SSDs, which represent the highest performance levels for their respective drive families.

Interface Cache Spindle speed Areal density Flash controller NAND
Corsair Force Series 3
6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Micron async MLC
Corsair Force Series 3 120GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Micron async MLC
Corsair Force Series 3 240GB 6Gbps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Micron async MLC
Corsair Force Series GT
6Gbps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Intel sync MLC
Corsair Force Series GT 120GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Intel sync MLC
Corsair Force Series GT 240GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Intel sync MLC
Corsair Performance 3 Series 128GB 6GBps 128MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 34-nm Toshiba MLC
Crucial m4 128GB 6Gbps 128MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 25-nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial m4 128GB 6GBps 128MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 25-nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial m4 256GB 6Gbps 256MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 25-nm Micron sync MLC
Intel 320 Series 120GB 3Gbps 64MB NA NA Intel PC29AS21BA0 25-nm Intel MLC
Intel 320 Series 120GB 3GBps 64MB NA NA Intel PC29AS21BA0 25-nm Intel MLC
Intel 320 Series 300GB 3Gbps 64MB NA NA Intel PC29AS21BA0 25-nm Intel MLC
Intel 510 Series 120GB 6GBps 128MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 34-nm Intel MLC
Intel 510 Series 250GB 6Gbps 128MB NA NA Marvell 88SS9174 34-nm Intel MLC
Kingston HyperX 120GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Intel sync MLC
OCZ Agility 3 120GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Micron async MLC
OCZ Octane 512GB 6Gbps 512MB NA NA Indilinx Everest 25-nm Intel sync MLC
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 6GBps NA NA NA SandForce SF-2281 25-nm Intel sync MLC
Samsung 830 Series 256GB 6Gbps 256MB NA NA Samsung S4LJ204X01 2x-nm Samsung Toggle DDR
Seagate Momentus 5400. 4 25GB 3Gbps 8MB 5,400 RPM 204 Gb/in² NA NA
Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 3Gbps 32MB 7,200 RPM 394 Gb/in² NA* 4GB SLC
Seagate Momentus XT 750GB 6Gbps 32MB 7,200 RPM 541 Gb/in² NA* 8GB SLC
WD Caviar Black 1TB 6Gbps 64MB 7,200 RPM 400 Gb/in² NA NA
WD Scorpio Black 750GB 3Gbps 16MB 7,200 RPM 520 Gb/in² NA NA

Our performance data also includes a number of more traditional hard drives. I’ve grayed out the latter in the chart and in the graphs on the following pages to focus our attention on how the Samsung SSD fares against its solid-state competition. Neither the mechanical drives nor the hybrids are in the same league, at least in terms of performance.

We used the following system configuration for testing:

Processor Intel Core i7-2500K 3.3GHz
Motherboard Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Bios revision 1850
Platform hub Intel P67 Express
Platform drivers INF update


Memory size 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T
Audio Realtek ALC892 with 2. 62 drivers
Graphics Asus EAH6670/DIS/1GD5 1GB with Catalyst 11.7 drivers
Hard drives Corsair Force Series 3 60GB with
1.3.2 firmware
Corsair Force Series 3 120GB with 1.3 firmware

Corsair Force 3 Series 240GB with 1.3.2 firmware

Corsair Force series GT 60GB with 1.3.2 firmware
Corsair Force Series GT 120GB with 1.3 firmware

Corsair Force Series GT 240GB with 1.3.2 firmware

Crucial m4 64GB with 0009 firmware
Crucial m4 128GB with 0009 firmware

Crucial m4 256GB with 0009 firmware

Intel 320 Series 40GB with 4PC10362 firmware
Intel 320 Series 120GB with 4PC10362 firmware

Intel 320 Series 300GB with 4PC10362 firmware

Intel 510 Series 120GB with PPG4 firmware

Intel 510 Series 250GB with PWG2 firmware

Kingston HyperX 120GB with 320ABBF0 firmware

Corsair Performance 3 Series 128GB with 1. 1 firmware

OCZ Agility 3 120GB with 2.15 firmware

OCZ Vertex 3 120GB with 2.15 firmware

WD Caviar Black 1TB with 05.01D05 firmware

Seagate Momentus 5400.4 250GB with 3.AAB firmware

Seagate Momentus XT 500GB with SD22 firmware

WD Scorpio Black 750GB with 01.01A01 firmware

Seagate Momentus XT 750GB with SM12 firmware

OCZ Octane 512GB with 1313 firmware
Samsung 830 Series 256GB with CXM03B1Q firmware

Power supply Corsair Professional Series Gold AX650W
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards and graphics cards, Intel for the CPUs, Corsair for the memory and PSUs, Thermaltake for the CPU coolers, and Western Digital for the Caviar Black 1TB system drives.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

  • Intel IOMeter 1.1.0 RC1
  • HD Tune 4.61
  • TR DriveBench 1.0
  • TR DriveBench 2.0
  • TR FileBench 0.2
  • Qt SDK 2010.05
  • MiniGW GCC 4.4.0
  • Duke Nukem Forever
  • Portal 2

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before almost every component of our test suite. Some of our tests then put the SSDs into a used state before the workload begins, which better exposes each drive’s long-term performance characteristics. In other tests, like DriveBench and FileBench, we induce a used state before testing. In all cases, the SSDs were in the same state before each test, ensuring an even playing field. The performance of mechanical hard drives is much more consistent between factory fresh and used states, so we skipped wiping the HDDs before each test—mechanical drives take forever to secure erase.
  • We run all our tests at least three times and report the median of the results. We’ve found IOMeter performance can fall off with SSDs after the first couple of runs, so we use five runs for solid-state drives and throw out the first two. The Hybrid drives have also been subjected to five runs, but only in tests that show their performance improving after the first one.
  • Steps have been taken to ensure that Sandy Bridge’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the 2500K at 3.3GHz. Transitioning in and out of different power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

HD Tune — Transfer rates

HD Tune lets us present transfer rates in a couple of different ways. Using the benchmark’s “full test” setting gives us a good look at performance across the entire drive rather than extrapolating based on a handful of sample points. The data created by the full test also gives us fodder for a line graph.

To make the line graph more readable, we’ve excluded everything but the high-capacity SSDs and the Caviar Black. All the mechanical and hybrid drives have been greyed out in the graphs to focus our attention on the SSDs. Otherwise, the results are colored by drive maker, with the Samsung 830 Series set apart in a much lighter shade of blue than the Intel drives. Excel only has so many colors, and you’d probably prefer that we avoid hot pink.

This is as close as our test suite gets to an all-out drag race, and the Samsung 830 Series has the fastest read speeds from 0-100% capacity. The line graph shows that the Samsung SSD maintained its blistering pace across the full extent of the drive, too. Its fastest rival, the Crucial m4 256GB, is 15MB/s slower on average.

Although all of the top SSDs nip at the Samsung 830 Series’ heels in HD Tune’s read speed test, there’s no contest with writes. The Samsung SSD’s average write speed is more than 100MB/s higher than the closest competition.

Technically, the SandForce-based SSDs achieve higher peak write speeds than the Samsung offering. As the line graph illustrates, though, those peaks are always followed by deep valleys, resulting in much lower average write speeds. The write speed of the Samsung 830 Series never drops more than 8MB/s below its maximum rate in this test.

HD Tune’s burst speed tests are meant to isolate a drive’s cache memory.

The Samsung 830 Series has the highest write burst speeds of any of the drives we tested. However, it’s not quite as fast in HD Tune’s burst read test, pushing the drive well down in the standings. Among the other high-capacity SSDs, only the OCZ Octane and Intel 320 Series offer slower read burst speeds.

HD Tune — Random access times

In addition to letting us test transfer rates, HD Tune can measure random access times. We’ve tested with four transfer sizes and presented all the results in a couple of line graphs. We’ve also busted out the 4KB and 1MB transfers sizes into bar graphs that should be easier to read. The mechanical drives and smaller SSDs have been dropped from the line graphs for clarity.

In the 4KB random read test, the results are pretty much a wash. Virtually all of the SSDs stack up between 0.03 and 0.05 ms. The Samsung 830 Series looks a little slow in the 1MB test, though. Most of the SSDs are clustered under two milliseconds, but the Samsung drive pulls up half a millisecond slower than its rivals.

As you can see, the minute differences in access times between our vast assortment of SSDs pale in comparison to the huge gaps between the solid-state field and the mechanical drives. The only exceptions to that rule are the Seagate Momentus XT hybrids, whose NAND read caches do a good job of speeding things up in HD Tune’s 4KB random read test. Those caches appear to have no impact in the 1MB random read test, and they certainly don’t help with random writes.

As they did in HD Tune’s 4KB random read test, all the SSDs turn in similarly quick access times for 4KB random writes. The field spreads out quite a bit more in the 1MB test, which produces much slower access times across the board. The Samsung 830 Series isn’t hit too hard by the shift to a larger transfer size, but its access times are about half a millisecond slower than those of the SandForce posse. That said, the 830 Series’ access times are still faster than, well, everything else—including high-capacity members of the OCZ Octane, Crucial m4, and both Intel SSD families.

TR FileBench — Real-world copy speeds

Concocted by resident developer Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, FileBench runs through a series of file copy operations using Windows 7’s xcopy command. Using xcopy produces nearly identical copy speeds to dragging and dropping files using the Windows GUI, so our results should be representative of typical real-world performance. We tested using the following five file sets—note the differences in average file sizes:

Number of files Total size Average file size
Movie 6 4.1GB 701MB
RAW 101 2.32GB 23.6MB
MP3 549 3.47GB 6.48MB
TR 26,767 1.7GB 64.6KB
Mozilla 22,696 923MB 39.4KB

The names of most of the file sets are self-explanatory. The Mozilla set is made up of all the files necessary to compile the browser, while the TR set includes years worth of the images, HTML files, and spreadsheets behind my reviews.

To get a sense of how aggressively each SSD reclaims flash pages tagged by the TRIM command, we’ve run FileBench with the solid-state drives in two states. We first test them in a fresh state after a secure erase. The SSDs are then subjected to a 30-minute IOMeter workload, generating a tortured used state ahead of another batch of copy tests. We haven’t found a substantial difference in the performance of mechanical drives between these states.

These first three sets are made up of relatively large files, and the Samsung 830 Series excels at copying them. The Intel 510 Series and OCZ Octane come close, but they’re not fast enough to bump the Samsung SSD out of first place.

When copying the smaller files in our other two sets, the Samsung 830 Series is quite a bit slower—both in absolute terms and versus the competition. The SandForce-based SSDs have a clear edge with smaller files, particularly in the Mozilla set, which sends the Samsung drive tumbling down the standings. It’s more competitive in the TR set, but even then, the 830 Series has slower copy speeds than half of its high-capacity rivals.

Overall, the Samsung SSD offers consistent copy speeds between its fresh and used states. That’s a big improvement over the drive’s predecessor, whose used-state copy speeds were 38% slower than its fresh-state performance.

TR DriveBench 1.0 — Disk-intensive multitasking

TR DriveBench allows us to record the individual IO requests associated with a Windows session and then play those results back as fast as possible on different drives. We’ve used this app to create a set of multitasking workloads that combine common desktop tasks with disk-intensive background operations like compiling code, copying files, downloading via BitTorrent, transcoding video, and scanning for viruses. The individual workloads are explained in more detail here.

Below, you’ll find an overall average followed by scores for each of our individual workloads. The overall score is an average of the mean performance score with each multitasking workload.

The Samsung 830 Series doesn’t quite make it to the middle of the pack among our high-capacity SSDs. Although the Intel drives fare worse overall, the Crucial m4, OCZ Octane, and Corsair Force SSDs all post higher overall DriveBench scores than the Samsung. Let’s see if any of DriveBench’s individual tests point to specific weaknesses.

As it turns out, the Samsung SSD’s strength is easier to see. The 830 Series climbs up to a third-place finish in the file copy test, which seems fitting given its strong performance in FileBench. In the other tests, the Samsung drive drifts back toward the middle of the pack; among the high-capacity models, only Intel’s SSDs score lower.

TR DriveBench 2.0 — More disk-intensive multitasking

As much as we like DriveBench 1.0’s individual workloads, the traces cover only slices of disk activity. Because we fire the recorded I/Os at the disks as fast as possible, solid-state drives also have no downtime during which to engage background garbage collection or other optimization algorithms. DriveBench 2.0 addresses both of those issues with a much larger trace that spans two weeks of typical desktop activity peppered with multitasking loads similar to those in DriveBench 1.0. We’ve also adjusted our testing methods to give solid-state drives enough idle time to tidy up after themselves. More details on DriveBench 2.0 are available on this page of our last major SSD round-up.

Instead of looking at a raw IOps rate, we’re going to switch gears and explore service times—the amount of time that it takes drives to complete an I/O request. We’ll start with an overall mean service time before slicing and dicing the results.

Although its margin of victory is very narrow, the Samsung 830 Series has a lower mean service time across our two-week trace than any other SSD we’ve tested. Corsair’s fastest Force SSD may be nipping at the Samsung drive’s heels, but those two have a comfortable lead over the closest competitor.

The Force Series GT 240GB actually has a lower read service time than the Samsung SSD. However, the 830 Series’ write service time is lower by a bigger margin. Notice that that the SSDs have a much wider range of service times for writes than for reads. All of the solid-state drives turn in average read service times of 0.5-1.8 ms, while the span for writes is about four times wider, from 0.4-8.2 ms.

There are millions of I/O requests in this trace, so we can’t easily graph service times to look at the variance. However, our analysis tools do report the standard deviation, which can give us a sense of how much service times vary from the mean.

In addition to being very low, the Samsung 830 Series’ read and write service times are also very consistent. The drive exhibits less variance than pretty much everything else we’ve tested, which is a very good thing when coupled with some of the lowest mean service times we’ve measured.

If I haven’t already scared you off with too many graphs and statistics, this next pair will do it. We’re going to close out our DriveBench analysis with a look at the distribution of service times. I’ve split the tally between I/O requests that complete in 0-1 milliseconds, 1-100 ms, and those that take longer than 100 ms to complete.

There are two things to pay attention to here. Look at the percentage of service times under one millisecond—those are the biggest bars. The Samsung 830 Series has the highest percentage of extremely short write service times, but it’s a few percentage points shy of the leaders if we look at reads.

Now, check out the service times longer than 100 milliseconds. The Samsung SSD barely moves the needle, which matches the behavior of most of the other SSDs. Only the Crucial m4, Corsair Performance 3, and Intel 510 Series suffer from worryingly high percentages of those longer service times.


Our IOMeter workloads feature a ramping number of concurrent I/O requests. Most desktop systems will only have a few requests in flight at any given time (87% of DriveBench 2.0 requests have a queue depth of four or less). We’ve extended our scaling up to 32 concurrent requests to reach the depth of the Native Command Queuing pipeline associated with the Serial ATA specification. Ramping up the number of requests also gives us a sense of how the drives might perform in more demanding enterprise environments.

As we’ve done with the other line graphs in this review, we’ve dropped the smaller SSDs and all the mechanical drives to make the results easier to interpret. IOMeter scores for some of the smaller SSDs can be found on this page of our last SSD round-up, while the others can be found in our in our SSD scaling article. The results from the mechanical drives can be viewed here.

While the Samsung 830 Series’ domination of our IOMeter testing isn’t complete, it’s the clear winner overall. The Samsung SSD does require higher load levels to achieve its full potential, though. When processing only one I/O request at a time, the 830 Series achieves lower transaction rates than much of its competition.

Those transaction rates ramp up rapidly in the web server test, which is made up entirely of read requests. In the other tests, which include a mix of reads and writes, the Samsung SSD gets off to a slow start and stumbles at the highest load level. Even so, it still reaches the highest peak transaction rates.

Boot duration

Before timing a couple of real-world applications, we first have to load the OS. We can measure how long that takes by checking the Windows 7 boot duration using the operating system’s performance-monitoring tools. This is actually the first time we’re booting Windows 7 off each drive; up until this point, our testing has been hosted by an OS housed on a separate system drive.

There’s only about a second separating the fastest and slowest SSDs in our Windows 7 boot test. (Let’s not mention the Intel 320 Series 40GB in the same breath as the other solid-state drives, please.) The Samsung 830 Series sits in the middle of that pack, marginally ahead of most of the high-capacity SSDs. It can’t, however, catch the Crucial m4 256GB, which is the fastest-booting drive of them all.

Level load times

Modern games lack built-in timing tests to measure level loads, so we busted out a stopwatch with a couple of reasonably recent titles.

Our level load times are similarly close. While the Samsung 830 Series’ Portal 2 load time may look a little slow, a one-second gap in a hand-timed test isn’t worth worrying about.

Power consumption

We tested power consumption under load with IOMeter’s workstation access pattern chewing through 32 concurrent I/O requests. Idle power consumption was probed one minute after processing Windows 7’s idle tasks on an empty desktop.

The Samsung 830 Series’ power consumption is a little on the high side. At idle, the drive’s power draw doesn’t look too bad. However, the 830 Series ends up pulling close to 5W when stressed with a demanding IOMeter load. Samsung claims the SSD has “active power use” of only 0.117W, but that may require a medically induced coma. The 830 Series draws a lot more power under our idle and load conditions, and we’ve double-checked our numbers to be sure.

The value perspective

Welcome to our famous value analysis, which adds capacity and pricing to the performance data we’ve explored over the preceding pages. We used Newegg prices to even the playing field, and we didn’t take mail-in rebates into account when performing our calculations.

First, we’ll look at the all-important cost per gigabyte, which we’ve obtained using the amount of storage capacity accessible to users in Windows.

With a $360 street price, the Samsung 830 Series 256GB is a pretty sweet deal. In our high-capacity collection, only the Corsair Force Series 3 and Crucial m4 are cheaper per gigabyte. It’s worth noting, too, that the 256GB Samsung SSD is the best deal of the available capacity points. The 830 Series 64GB and 128GB variants cost closer to $1.70 per gigabyte.

Our remaining value calculations use a single performance score that we’ve derived by comparing how each drive stacks up against a common baseline provided by the Momentus 5400.4, a 2.5″ notebook drive with a painfully slow 5,400-RPM spindle speed. This index uses a subset of our performance data described on this page of our last SSD round-up. Some of the drives were actually slower than our baseline in a couple of the included tests, so we’ve fudged the numbers a little to prevent those results from messing up the overall picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new overall leader. The Samsung 830 Series just squeaks ahead of the fastest SandForce configuration in our performance index. The difference between the two SSDs amounts to less than 20 percentage points, so it’s a much smaller gap than the distance to the third-place Octane, whose performance score doesn’t quite break 800%.

Now, for the real magic. We can plot this overall score on one axis and each drive’s cost per gigabyte on the other to create a scatter plot of performance per dollar per gigabyte.

Man, do I love scatter plots; they make everything so clear. While the Samsung 830 Series doesn’t offer much better overall performance than the Force GT, it does cost a lot less per gigabyte, pushing the Samsung SSD toward the ideal location in the upper-left corner of the plot. A couple of other high-capacity SSDs are cheaper per gigabyte, but they’re well behind on performance.

Obviously, our Caviar Black desktop reference has a much lower cost per gigabyte than any of the SSDs. It’s a whole lot slower, too, as the scatter plot plainly illustrates.

Although this analysis is helpful when evaluating drives on their own, what happens when we consider their cost in the context of a complete system? To find out, we’ve divided our overall performance score by the sum of our test system’s components. Those parts total around $800, which also happens to be a reasonable price for a modern notebook.

Within the context of a complete system, the Samsung 830 Series still looks like a sweet deal. The SSD’s overall performance is closely matched by the Force GT, and the price difference between those two looks pretty small from this perspective. There are cheaper solid-state options available, of course, but they’re not even close on the performance scale.


The Samsung 830 Series has a whole lot going for it. In addition to offering the best overall performance of any SSD we’ve tested, the drive comes in a slim form factor, includes a copy of Batman: Arkham City, and is backed by a company whose SSD history appears largely devoid of serious issues. Given those perks, one might expect the 830 Series to be priced at a premium—but it’s not. The 256GB model can be had for just $360, while the 128GB and 64GB flavors sell for $220 and $110, respectively.

To be fair, the 64GB and 128GB variants cost a little more per gigabyte than their higher-capacity siblings. Based on Samsung’s performance ratings and the results of our latest look at SSD scaling, those lower-capacity models will also be slower than the 256GB one we tested. I’m optimistic about their chances versus like-sized rivals due to the 256GB drive’s strong overall showing, though.

I’d like to speculate more about how the 64GB and 128GB models might fare, but that’s difficult to do without more information on their die configurations and Samsung’s MCX controller. Based on the high number of NAND dies in the 256GB drive, I suspect the Samsung 830 Series is particularly dependent on die-level parallelism to achieve peak performance. We’ll have to see about getting some smaller versions of the drive into the Benchmarking Sweatshop for testing.

Looking back over the results we do have, it’s clear that Samsung has put together a well-rounded SSD. The 830 Series tends to perform comparatively better with larger files than it does with smaller ones, and it seems to need multiple concurrent I/O requests to really ramp up performance with random I/O. That said, the drive scored highly in nearly every one of our tests. The only glaring weakness? High power consumption under a demanding IOMeter load that’s much more strenuous than anything notebook users are likely to throw at their SSDs.

Samsung 830 Series 256GB

February 2012

If it’s not obvious already, the Samsung 830 Series is taking home an Editor’s Choice award. We can only single out the specific model we’ve tested, but that’s really the best one of the bunch. The 256GB version boasts not only the best performance in the family, but also the lowest—and most competitive—cost per gigabyte. If you’re in the market for a high-capacity SSD, the Samsung 830 Series should be at the very top of your list.

Samsung 830 Series 512 GB SSD review. Own Memory, Own Controller

Samsung’s new SSDs were announced back in August last year. Official deliveries to the markets began in October. The Samsung 830 Series SSD series is available in 64GB, 128.256GB, and 512GB. All SSDs are standard 2.5″ format and support SATA III data transfer interface. The minimum cost for the US market at the time of the announcement of the younger version is $130, and the older version is $850. This cost is comparable to older drives from Intel.
Almost every user interested in computer components knows that solid state drives are a faster alternative to today’s hard drives. Solid state drives combine energy efficiency, quietness and high data access speed — all those factors that hard drives lack and lack. The only drawback of SSD drives is the high cost and the need to understand that each drive is different from each other. If in the hard disk market the differences between devices are minimal, then in the segment of solid state drives, purchasing two devices of different series from the same manufacturer, you risk getting performance that differs several times for each of them.

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The latest generation of solid state drives is OCZ’s Vertex 4 series. These drives feature a brand new revision 2 Everest drive. The manufacturer abandoned the popular SandForce controllers, which for a long time were uncontested products. The transition to the new controller at OCZ is attributed to the fact that they are more actively cooperating with Marvell, which supports Everest controllers. At the same time, OCZ uses faster memory and its own firmware called Indilinx in new solid-state controllers. At the same time, a distinctive feature of SandForce and Marvell for OCZ is that SandForce does not allow manufacturers to modify their own firmware, while Marvell is always open to its partners and provides the source code for the controller software.

Thus, the use of a universal SandForce controller would not allow OCZ to release its own new product, since in most cases the performance of an SSD depends on the type of controller used.

Now we propose to decide who needs solid state controllers? If you do not need to constantly copy gigabytes of information from your hard drive to other media, or you do not create a highly loaded server, there is no special feasibility of a solid state drive instead of a hard drive. In desktop configurations, the situation is easier, since they can install multiple storage devices. Using a separate solid state drive to store the operating system, software is quite justified, as this will significantly increase the performance and download speed of both the system itself and applications.

When choosing an SSD, you need to pay attention to the cost of models. To date, the cost of most models is rapidly changing. Often in computer stores, new items are offered cheaper than old drives. The latter circumstance must be taken into account when choosing a drive and not comparing SSD drives by cost.

Today, the situation in the market of solid state drives is such that they are compared only by the controller. This is due to the fact that the reviews publish the performance of devices based on various controllers, when comparing which it turns out that drives on the same controllers show approximately comparable performance. In the segment of SATA III 6 Gb / s controllers, the most popular are the controllers of the above-mentioned companies — SandForce and Marvell. Even Intel’s fast SSD 510 series is based on a controller from Marvell. Samsung went its own way and did not finance the development of manufacturers. It has developed its own SATA III controller, on which the 830 series SSDs are based. The new controller, branded Samsung S4LJ204X01, offers read speeds up to 520MB/s and write speeds up to 400MB/s.


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The 830 Series SSD comes in a silver box. The front side shows the series of the drive and its volume.

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The back of the box shows the maximum speed. Listed as Norton Ghost and 3-year limited warranty.

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Package includes SSD, instruction CD, Norton Ghost full CD, SATA III cable, SATA power adapter and 3.5″ adapter.

External and internal inspection of the drive

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The body of the device is metal. The front side shows the brand of the manufacturer and the volume of the device. SATA connectors are located on the side wall. The filling of the device looks more interesting.

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There is a sticker on the back of the drive with some technical data and serial codes.

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Samsung’s own S4LJ204X01 chip is used as a controller. Unlike the second generation SandForce, this chip does not support DuraWrite data compression. The latter technology is quite useful for solid state drives. It analyzes repeated blocks of data and increases the speed of data writing by reducing the number of write cycles to memory cells. Recall that it is the overwriting of memory cells of solid state drives that leads to their gradual aging.

Samsung did not introduce or acquire a patent for technologies like DuraWrite, but simply soldered fast non-volatile memory chips of its own production. Samsung has all the trump cards in the field of solid state drives in its hands — it produces controllers, non-volatile memory and develops firmware for them. This policy should reduce the cost of production of Samsung SSDs, but, unfortunately, the current prices of drives from this manufacturer are such that it is unlikely that anyone will run for the products of this particular manufacturer without looking back.

The new Samsung S4LJ204X01 controller is based on a triple-core Cortex-A9 processor with an eight-channel architecture.

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Non-volatile memory chips are marked Samsung K9UHGY8U7B. They have a multi-level organization MLC. The chips are made using 20 nanometer technology. The memory corresponds to the DDR Toggle Mode 1.0 type, which is more efficient than the ONFi type used in Intel controllers. Solid state drives with Toggle-mode memory and SandForce type 2 controllers almost always show the highest level of performance.

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DDR2 800 MHz is used as a cache buffer.

Controller specifications
1. Series: 830 Series

2. Controller: Samsung S4LJ204X01

3. Memory type: Samsung MLC K9UHGY8U7B

4. Form factor: 2.5″

5. Volume: 512 GB (476.9 GB usable)

6. Data interface: SATA 6 Gbps

7. Firmware: CXM03B1Q

8. Technology support: TRIM, NCQ

9. Warranty: 3 years

Test configuration.
In order to test the solid state drive, we had to abandon our laptop, which does not support the SATA III interface. The following configuration was chosen as an experimental machine:

1. Core i7-3770K processor.

2. Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE.

3.2×4 Gb Samsung Original DDR3-1600

4.WD 1TB WD1001FALS Caviar Black SATAII

5. Power supply FSP 700 W Golden.

6. Thermaltake Mambo case.

1. Data reading speed tested with HD Tune Pro 3.5 software

Samsung’s SSD test results show that it performs better than Intel’s latest family of drives.

2. Windows 7 boot speed.

Windows 7 also boots faster when using the Samsung 830 SSD 512 GB. A similar level of performance is shown by devices with a capacity of 256 gigabytes, which are more accessible to users.

Test results show that the Samsung SSD 512 GB 830 series is a great alternative to all existing solutions. In retail, the price of this product can hardly be called competitive, so we would recommend looking at laptops and tablets from this manufacturer with an installed 830 series drive.

5 external SSD drives for smartphone, tablet and PC: speed, reliability, convenience

5 external SSD drives for smartphone, tablet and PC: speed, reliability, convenience

The amount of memory on mobile devices and laptops continues to grow. However, at the same time, the “weight” of the data with which we are dealing also increases. With the right combination of circumstances, a week of vacation is enough to fill a smartphone with 128 GB of memory with fun photos and videos in 4K to the eyeballs. And where then to put all this? Do not delete. And if you start a video blog on YouTube or Yandex.Zen, then generally grab your head — the free space will melt before your eyes! External SSD drives will help you store bulky media content and quickly transfer it from one device to another.

Why SSD is better than HDD

It so happened that all external drives, except for USB flash drives and memory cards, are called external drives. However, disks are only HDD drives, or «hard drives», which have rotating magnetic platters and a lot of moving mechanics inside. But solid-state SSD drives do not have any moving elements inside — it’s just a microcircuit, a memory module in a box. Therefore, they can be shaken and even dropped, and nothing will happen to the data. For the same reason, SSDs are smaller and lighter than HDDs. And faster.

So, the speed of external HDD-drives does not exceed 110-130 MB / s. Simply because the disks installed in them cannot spin faster than 5400 rpm — this is their limit until the end of time. But SSDs with USB 3.2 Gen.2 interface are capable of overclocking up to 1050 MB / s, and Thunderbolt 3 gives out 2800 MB / s at all.

Well, it turns out that SSD is more reliable, smaller and faster than HDD. The choice is obvious!


Drives with a capacity of 500 GB from an American company with almost a century of history. They attract with an affordable price, compact size and lightness — they are no larger than a bank card and weigh only 45 g. Such a gadget is convenient to carry in a handbag, and even in a shirt pocket. The case is aluminum — it removes heat well from the memory crystals and reliably protects the board from damage.

The HP SSD P500 has a SATA USB 3. 1 Gen. 2, and therefore the speed is not as high as that of expensive models — up to 420 MB / s for sequential reading and up to 255 MB / s for sequential writing. If you do not need to instantly transfer 50 GB of video files, then this performance will be enough. In the kit you will find a USB Type-C cable and an adapter to USB Type-A for connecting to a computer.

Buy HP SSD P5 →

Samsung SSD T5

Samsung’s most affordable model based on SATA module and USB 3.1 Gen. 2. The possible speed rests at 540 MB / s. Don’t underestimate the T5 though, it’s five times faster than the coolest external hard drives! The aluminum body of the device is tiny — about the size of a business card. It is only 1 cm thick and weighs 51 g. The drive is able to withstand a hit on a hard surface when dropped from a height of two meters, so you don’t have to worry about it too much.

Data protection in the Samsung SSD T5 is also handled by a special chip responsible for the AES-256 encryption algorithm. If you turn it on, it will encrypt the data so that without a cryptographic key it will be impossible to open it. So, if your drive fell into the wrong hands, the worst thing that can happen is a complete loss of data. An attacker will not be able to steal data and use it. Since encryption is handled by a separate chip, and not by the computer’s central processor, system performance does not decrease when encryption is enabled.

Buy Samsung SSD T5 →

Note! All external drives from Samsung have a protected, non-erasable area in memory where the Samsung Portable SSD software is installed. It allows you to set up your drive and enable encryption, and is compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Android devices.

Samsung SSD T7

Samsung SSD T7 differs from T5 in higher read and write speeds. There is already an NVMe drive with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, and therefore the speed can rise to 1050/1000 MB / s. The case also protects the drive’s electronics from shock when dropped, and a separate cryptochip encrypts data using AES-256.

Since the speed of the «Seven» has increased, the heat transfer of the chips has also increased. To prevent the gadget from overheating, a thermal pad is placed between the board and the case, thanks to which the Samsung SSD T7 does not heat up more than 40 degrees. Therefore, the whole device is a little more — 58 g.

Buy Samsung SSD T7 →

Samsung SSD T7 Touch

The same «seven», but with a fingerprint sensor. It allows you to quickly open an encrypted drive without entering a password. There is another non-obvious benefit from the sensor. Since entering a password in a special application is no longer necessary, you can access encrypted data on any device, not just a computer or Android smartphone. For example, this device could be a TV.

Buy Samsung SSD T7 Touch →

Samsung SSD X5

Although it was born in 2018, it is still the world’s fastest external SSD! That’s why the high cost, because we have before us not just an SSD for backing up office documents and vacation photos, but a device for professionals who work daily with huge amounts of media content.

With the X5, Samsung teamed NVMe storage with Thunderbolt 3, pushing speeds up to a fantastic 2800MB/s read and 2300MB/s write. As a result, in just 12 seconds, you can copy 20 GB of video in 4K UHD quality to the X5. Isn’t it miracles?

However, this performance can only be achieved on a suitable computer that would allow the drive to breathe freely. «The performance of the PC’s built-in memory should be equal to or better than that of the X5,» says Samsung.

So, the speeds declared by Samsung were obtained when testing on a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7 8570H processor, 16 GB of RAM at a frequency of 2667 MHz. And in order to transfer two dozen GB of 4K video in the promised 12 seconds, you need to have a machine at least on the Asus Strix Z270E Gaming with an Intel Core i5-7600.

Note! Thunderbolt 3 connector and plug same as USB Type-C. Therefore, the Thunderbolt 3 cable can be used as a regular USB cable. However, you will not be able to connect a Thunderbolt 3 device with a regular USB cable to a USB connector. Connecting the Samsung X5 to a smartphone, of course, is impossible.

Unlike younger models, Samsung X5 has a magnesium body. It is as strong as aluminum, yet lighter. However, since the super-fast X5 has an advanced cooling system, the drive still turned out to be heavy compared to its younger brothers and weighs as much as 150 g. The dimensions correspond: 116x60x18 mm. AES-256 encryption is, of course, in place.

Buy Samsung SSD X5 →


SSDs are much more reliable, faster, smaller and lighter than traditional hard drives. That is why even the most affordable SSD model will give you more freedom and speed than the most expensive hard drive. For those who professionally work with video, there simply cannot be an alternative to SSD. Especially if you look at the Samsung X5, where fantastic performance is achieved.

An important bonus of Samsung drives, whether they are entry-level or premium models, are separate chips responsible for AES-256 encryption. Maybe photos from Turkey do not need to be encrypted too much, but it is better to protect personal photo shoots or documents with bank data and trade secrets. You never know!

When you need speed — a review and testing of Samsung 830 Series (830 Series) 512GB SSD

I suggest you read the material on the latest SSD from Samsung, the original review is located on techPowerUP.

The author of the original material compiled a sign, which shows us some details about the accumulator from South Korea:

9000 9000

SSD Samsung 830 Series 512 GB Brand: Samsung Model: 830 Series 512 GB Controller: Samsung S4LJ204X01 Flash memory type: Samsung MLC, 20 nm
K9UHGY8U7B Form factor: 2. 5″ Capacity: 512 GB (476.9 GB usable) Connection interface: SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: CXM03B1Q TRIM support: Available Support NCQ: Available Warranty: 3 years

The 830 series is available in capacities from 64GB to 512GB. As you can see, the tests caught the most expensive model, it is probably the fastest.

Let’s look at the packaging of the drive and its photo: OK.

Samsung SSD package:

  • The drive itself is
  • Documentation
  • Norton Ghost
  • Mounting in 3.5″ bay
  • SATA cable

And here is the product itself, or rather its case:

SSD chassis of the 830th series made of metal, has a thickness of 7mm and therefore is suitable for ultrabooks .

Connection, like any modern SSD, is via SATA 6Gb / s. Although you can connect via SATA 3Gb / s, you should not count on the highest possible performance in this case.

Visible and chips with DRAM memory used for cache. We are advised not to disassemble our own 830-series SSDs, as this will void the warranty.

In this line of SSDs, Samsung uses its own development — a controller based on a tri-core ARM processor and firmware from Samsung.

The photo above shows one of eight flash memory chips created according to the 20nm process technology. Each of the chips has a capacity of 512gbit, which is somewhat unconventional (more often it has to see 256 Gbit chips at 512GB SSD.


The test stand itself and the SSD Samsung 830 tests (830 SERIS) themselves (830 SERIS)

Test stand
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3. 3 GHz
(Sandy Bridge, 6192 KB cache)
Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-M LX
Intel H67
RAM: 2x 2048MB Kingston HyperX PC3-12800U DDR3
@ 1333MHz 9-9-9-24
Video: Integrated from Intel
Soft: Windows 7 64-bit SP1
Drivers: SATA: Microsoft AHCI
Display: Intel 15.21.13


  • After installing Windows and the necessary drivers / software, an image was taken from the system, which is used in all tests
  • Automatic updates have been disabled for all programs. This is done so that the results do not differ if some software suddenly updates one or another algorithm.
  • Drive partitions have been aligned.
  • To eliminate possible jambs and inaccuracies, each of the tests was repeated as many as 10 times, and after each of them the OS was rebooted.
  • The average values ​​obtained after 10 tests are included in the performance graphs.

Windows 7 boot time

The Office 2010

Test shows how quickly it is possible to install a set of office programs from the drive from the same time. The distribution is unpacked, 2.4GB is written during the test.

Copying an ISO image In the test, a total of 6.15GB is transferred, 50% is accounted for by the write operation. Win


In fact, the test is not archiving, but the reverse process. The Linux 2. 6.34 Kernel distribution packaged in bz2 archive is activated (unzipped). 865MB is transported, 86% of operations are writes.


Antivirus 5 Antiviro -Syste Anti -SSTEM ANTIS all files, regardless of their extensions. 2.14GB of data is involved, 0.6% of operations are writes.

ADOBE Photoshop CS5

Temporary Service was measured during which Photoshop was loaded with CS5, after which 21 opened 21 , after which it was closed and the program was exited. 73MB of data is used, only 1.4% is read.

performance Adobe Photoshop CS5 9000 (I will not risk translating all the terminology — crop, move, auto levels, reduce to 1024×768 and save for the web). 862MB used, 79% of data is being written.

The level of level loading in Crysis

for the test was disconnected by Rendering Path to derive the impact of the video card from the measurements. The Island level was loaded, and the loading time was measured on it. 188MB of data was used, 0.5% was write operations.

Battlefield 2 patching

For the test, Battlefield 2 was patched to version 1.41 (apparently this is not indicated since 1.00). The time that it took to apply the patch was measured. 18.3GB of data was shoveled, 77% of operations were writes.


For the test, some large open-source C# .NET project was compiled, and the time to create a full-fledged product from source was measured.

Windows Experience rating

9000 storage test. The test uses 2.27GB of data, 81% is write.


  • Samsung 830 Series 512GB online retail price is $549. There is a cheaper option, but the package includes only the SSD
  • itself.

  • Very high performance
  • Compatible with Ultrabooks thanks to 7mm case thickness
  • SATA 6Gb/s connection
  • Rich delivery set
  • TRIM support
  • 3 year warranty
  • High cost
  • Warranty could have been longer
  • Without a SATA 6Gb / s connection, this drive is not anyhow fast

The new Samsung 830 series (830 Series) impressed the author of the original material very much, and I personally also pleased. How? Yes, at least because it does not use controllers from SandForce or Marvell, but uses Samsung’s own development. The controller turned out to be good and this can be seen in the performance graphs. Although the novelty is not the first everywhere, it proved to be excellent.

In addition to speed, the Samsung 830-series SSD showed amazing stability — in 24 hours of continuous tests, the «blue screen of death» (BSOD) so familiar to SandForce product owners has never popped up, and other manifestations of instability were also not noticed . In the large online store Newegg, where users immediately write about the quality of the goods, there was no negative either.

In summary, we can say that the new product from Samsung is an excellent choice for those people who are looking for a high-performance SSD in their PC. The price tag, however, cannot be called low, because. it’s higher than high-end competitors, OCZ’s Vertex 3 and 4 SSDs are examples. Samsung has a good chance of capturing a fair share of the SSD market if they lower the cost of their new products a bit.