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Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB review: the fastest SSD currently around

A review of the Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB

The Samsung SSD 840 Pro is by far the fastest SSD currently around- faster than the OCZ Vertex 4, faster than the Corsair Neutron GTX and faster than the Plextor M5 Pro. Samsung also has a proven track record in terms of reliability and quality, as the Samsung 830 series had very few known issues. History is of course not a guarantee for future success, but there is no reason to think that the new 840 Pro series will be any less dependable.

If you thought that we had gotten the most out of SATA 600 SSDs, think again. This year a number of new records were set in terms of SSD performance, but Samsung thinks it can go even further with the new SSD 840 Pro that's being introduced today. This new SSD series is supposed to be faster than all other SATA 600 models currently on the market, and should also be suitable for professional use. Hardware.Info tested the new Samsung SSD 840 Pro to find out how fast it is exactly. See also: Samsung 830 Series 512GB review and Samsung 830 Series 256GB review.

The last few months we've seen a number of impressive SSDs with great performance, including the the OCZ Vertex 4, the Plextor M5 Pro, and the Corsair Neutron GTX which scored even better in certain areas. Can these fast SSDs really be improved upon? Samsung seems convinced it can.

With the 840 Pro, Samsung takes aim at consumers that want the best performance regardless of cost, and also professional applications such as workstations and even servers. The professional aspect is apparent from a number of features. The SSDs are supposed to be very reliable, with an MTBF of 1.5 million hours, or 171 years. The warranty is five years, which has become standard among high-end SSDs. The 840 Pros support 256-bit AES encryption. If you want to configure the disks in a professional RAID array, there is support for WorldWide Name which gives storage devices a unique ID.

The SSD 840 Pro SSDs use a new generation Samsung controller. Very little is being divulged about the internal workings of the new MDX controller, called the Samsung S4LN021X01 in full, but from the things we do know it's clearly an improvement over the previous generation.

Like the previous generation, the new Samsung controller employs foreground garbage collection. This means that while the SSD is performing new tasks, the organisation of data is optimised. The SSD doesn't need to wait for a moment of inactivity. Samsung claims this will ensure high performance even after a long period of use.

Samsung is releasing the SSD 840 Pro in three sizes: 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB. For the 128 GB model Samsung promises read speeds of up to 530 MB/s, and write speeds up to 390 MB/s. For the 256 GB and 512 GB versions that's 540 MB/s for reading and 520 MB/s for writing. While those figures aren't that impressive, the alleged random performance is. The 256 GB and 512 GB models are supposed to be able to cross the magic threshold of 100,000 4k read IOPS (queue-depth 32) and 90,000 for writing.

Hardware.Info tested the 256 GB model of the SSD 840 Pro. It has the new S4LN021X01 controller and 256 GB of Samsung flash chips and 512 MB DDR2 buffer memory. The SSD is less than 7 mm thick, and will fit in any laptop with a 2.5-inch slot.

To find out how fast the new Samsung SSD is, and how it compares to the other high-end SSDs, read the full review on Hardware.Info.

Samsung SSD

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