Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB review

Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB review

Samsung has worked hard from a nearly standing start to gain consumer mindshare as a premium supplier of SSDs for after-market upgrades. With Toshiba, the Korean giant is one of only two brands that can control the whole design and manufacture of the flash memory, the controller and the controller firmware. See all Storage reviews.

In 2012 Samsung split its range into two: the 840 and 840 Pro Series. The latter tested here is a development of the previous 830 Series, while the standard 840 perhaps marks the larger departure from the beaten path: the world's first SSD using three-layer cell flash in order to reduce costs. See Group test: what's the best SSD (solid-state drive)?

Samsung keeps with its DDR2 memory cache, perhaps for power economy, and ups this to 512 MB. In control is a proprietary three-core ARM processor, running Samsung's own firmware. Flash itself is also from Samsung's fabs of course, 21nm toggle NAND, reduced from its previous 27nm process. Take a look at the Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD review too.

Samsung backs this MLC-based drive with a 5-year warranty, although platform support is resolutely limited to Windows. It's possible to adjust over-provisioning using the SSD Magician for Windows software, as well as run rudimentary benchmark tests.

We did experience an unusual issue using this drive in our MacBook Pro workhouse became inoperable with this drive fitted, due to Bluetooth inteference. Two samples supplied to check if the first was rogue proved defective too, although this was later traced to Samsung issuing broken customer-returned RMA drives as review samples.

Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB: Performance

100,000 IOPS was the goal, and that's what Samsung has achieved given the right metric. AS SSD indicated lower but still impressive figures of 86.7k and 81.1k for 4kB read and write IOPS. The same benchmark tool also indicated the second-best nominal score here, with 1094 points not far behind Plextor's 1124. We tried the SSD Magician tool, which reported 98.4k read IOPS.

But halving the number of threads to 32 in CDM, we found the best peak IOPS result of the group, with a stunning 103.8k read IOPS. Write IOPS weren't so very far behind either, at 93.5k.

CDM clearly showed the Samsung's indifference to data type. Not only did the random data test match that of compressible data, it actually exceeded it. The best results here were 516 MB/s reads and 496 MB/s writes, while ATTO returned the highest sequential read results of 562 MB/s.

Samsung 840 Pro 512GB: Specs

  • Capacity: 512 GB
  • Memory cache: 512 MB LPDDR2
  • Controller: Samsung MDX (3-core ARM)
  • Encryption: AES 256-bit
  • Flash: Samsung 21 nm Toggle DDR 2.0 NAND
  • Firmware update support: SSD Magician for Windows
  • Warranty: SSD Magician for Windows
  • Price per gigabyte: 72p
  • Weight: 54g
  • Capacity: 512 GB
  • Memory cache: 512 MB LPDDR2
  • Controller: Samsung MDX (3-core ARM)
  • Encryption: AES 256-bit
  • Flash: Samsung 21 nm Toggle DDR 2.0 NAND
  • Firmware update support: SSD Magician for Windows
  • Warranty: SSD Magician for Windows
  • Price per gigabyte: 72p
  • Weight: 54g

OUR VERDICT

There's little doubt that when working correctly the Samsung 840 Pro is one of the top consumer solid-state drives available today. Pricing is very competitive and the essential small-file IOPS performance is on the money too.

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