Samsung’s rise to power in the past 5-10 years isn’t a matter of flooding the market, but actually developing many good, reliable products over this time. Interestingly, Samsung has been in the HDD market for quite some time now, but only in the more recent past started dabbling in the SSD space. In the last two to three years, though, Samsung has not only managed to compete in this market space, but actually design and develop a few award winning products to sit on top of the pile, surpassing, on some level, the likes of the synonymous brands like Western Digital and Seagate.
The company released the SSD 840 last year, as well as the more extreme 840 Pro for those users seeking the highest available performance (without the concern on cost as it turns out). Nine months on, and Samsung have released the latest evolution (as the name suggests) of their award-winning SSD, the 840 EVO.
Unlike many of its competitors, Samsung used the 3-bit-per-cell MLC NAND technology for its 840, compared to the more frequently used 2bpc MLC NAND. The 2bpc MLC NAND is more frequently used by manufacturers like IMFT (IM Flash Technologies – Intel and Micron’s joint venture). Even with concerns over reliability, durability (erase cycles) over time and processing speeds, Samsung has managed to eke out the necessary reliability and performance for its tech. In addition, the company also managed to reduce the price, which can only be a good thing. The one big downside in manufacturing is the amount of units it can ship out with the specified endurance required for SDDs. The debate will continue over which technology is better overall, but what matters to the consumer, for the most part, is how it can benefit their pocket without too much difference in speed and endurance.
Getting back on track with the review, Samsung has continued its trend of using the 3bpc MLC NAND tech on the 840 EVO. The company’s latest process, titled 1x-nm, refers to sizes anywhere from 10nm to 19nm. The 840 EVO uses the 19nm chip, along with the TurboWrite technology to increase overall write speeds. TurboWrite provides accelerated write speeds by means of allocating a small amount of NAND on each of the individual storage chips as a single-level-cell flash. Without becoming too technical (if not already going overboard), writing to SLC NAND is much faster than directly to the TLC NAND. In fact, it is also faster than that of MLC NAND. Not only does this process speed up writing performance, but also decreases the erase cycle count on the TLC NAND, which then increases its longevity, something of a concern for standard TLC NAND.
Before questioning my logic in adding the above jargon into the review, the technology used on the Samsung SSD 840 EVO is what makes it another contender for the leading product in its range. In terms of factory specifications, the 840 EVO has a read speed of 540MBps and a write speed of 520MBps. Since not many of us will ever come across such near perfect conditions, consumers can expect read and writes speeds more along the lines of 500MBps and 490MBps, respectively. Despite the different drive capacities, which use different SLC NAND buffers, the results should be pretty much on par with one another. The 120GB and 250GB variants use a 3GB SLC NAND buffer, the 500GB uses 6GB, the 750GB uses 9GB, and the 1TB uses a 12GB.
To summarise the technical terminology into something more layman terms, the Samsung SSD 840 EVO provides excellent performance, and reliability, for the cost. In fact, the 840 EVO has a much lower starting price than the 840 PRO, but at the same time, thanks to its updated tech, the former outperforms the latter. The 840 EVO 120GB starts from about R1,400 all the way up to around R5,500 for the 1TB variant. The PRO carries an average additional 10% in terms of price per variant. At the end of the day, Samsung has again developed a product deservedly acclaimed to be one of the best in its category.