Review: Samsung's most affordable, triple-level cell SSD

This TLC SSD rivals two-bit MLC SSDs in performance and blows them away in price

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The greatest advantage to TLC NAND flash is that it increases flash density by roughly 33% and therefore reduces the cost to produce the flash. Those savings, traditionally, are passed on to the consumer and make SSDs more marketable to the general public.

Performance benchmark tests

For the benchmark tests, I used an Apple MacBook Pro running OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8.4) with 8GB of RAM and a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor. The computer has a SATA 3.0, 6Gbps internal drive interface. It also has USB 3.0 5Gbps external ports.

I used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test benchmarking software for Macs to test the performance of the SSD.

I found the Blackmagic performance benchmark tests on the 840 EVO a bit all over the place. In fact, I've never seen a drive with such a wide variance in read/write times, but all were very good. The SSD's sequential read/write speeds ranged from 406MBps and 325MBps, respectively, on the low end to 509MBps and 488MBps on the higher end.

As is typical, the SSD's performance in tests fell below what Samsung's specification sheet claimed, which is 540MBps read speeds and 520MBps write speeds.

I then transferred a 1.81GB MP4 movie (Star Wars) from a USB 3.0 drive to the hard drive. USB 3.0 has data transfer rates of up to 4.8Gbps. The movie took 1 minute and 41 seconds to upload. Next, I downloaded the same movie to a USB 3.0 flash drive. That took just 41 seconds.

Then I tried an internal transfer by copying and pasting the movie from the desktop to the hard drive, which took eight seconds.

All in all, very respectable data transfer times.

Finally, I tested the SSD for boot times. After numerous tries, the drive settled in right around 25 seconds for boot-up, 13 seconds for shutdown and 36 seconds for a system restart.

Overall, the Samsung 840 EVO SSD represents a significant evolutionary step in NAND flash devices. It packs the greatest amount of data storage density into a device that maintains the endurance and exceeds the performance of previous-generation models.

Because it's a Samsung SSD, all of its parts come from one manufacturer, which should translate into better reliability than what users can expect from SSDs assembled from parts made by third parties.

Pricewise, you really can't beat this SSD. You're getting quality, performance, endurance and low cost. I highly recommend this drive for anyone considering boosting the performance of their laptop or desktop computer.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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