Samsung brings considerable resources to bear as the world’s largest manufacturer of flash memory, and it has quite a stellar track record in this market, as well. The 470 Series in early 2011 earned a verdict of 8 from us, and the 830 Series, which came out at the end of 2011, received not only a 9/Kick Ass but a spot on our vaunted Best of the Best list as the fastest solid state drive money can buy. That’s a tough record to beat, but the company is trying to do just that with its all-new 840 Series SSDs, available in Pro and non-Pro versions. We focus on the Pro model in this review.
Unlike Corsair and other vendors that must purchase drive controllers from a third party and then tweak them to fit the flash memory that was also purchased from a third party, Samsung builds its own controllers from scratch. It also builds its own NAND flash. And its own DRAM. So the entire package is 100 percent made by Samsung. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not criticizing how Corsair, OCZ, and others assemble SSD drives from third-party vendors, but Samsung is uniquely capable of putting the whole drive together by itself, which it claims provides better performance. After testing the 840 Series drives, it looks like Samsung might be onto something here.
We loved Samsung's 830 Series SSDs, and we love its new 840 Series even more.
Like the Corsair Neutron GTX, the 840 Pro comes in a 7mm chassis and uses toggle-mode NAND flash, though it’s built on a smaller 21nm process than Corsair’s 24nm flash from Toshiba. Samsung uses a multicore controller as well, allowing for increased efficiency as the drive fills up. The drives are actually quite close in terms of build and specs, so their close performance isn’t much of a surprise.
Even though the two drives were quite close in benchmark performance, the Samsung drive had a small edge in every single test we ran. In sequential read and write tests the 840 showed us the fastest scores we’ve ever seen, with its closest competitor being both the Neutron GTX and the SandForce Patriot Pyro SE. In our 32-command-queue tests, the Samsung also trumped the Neutron GTX but lost big-time to the SandForce-based drives, as they are simply head and shoulders above everyone right now. These were the only tests in which the Samsung failed to set a new record.
In the final tally, the Samsung 840 Pro took top honors in seven out of nine benchmarks, so it looks like it’ll be taking its predecessor’s place on our Best of the Best list. Samsung also claims this drive is energy-efficient and “robust,” which is great news, but in the end, just icing on a very, very fast cake.