Samsung 840 – 250GB SSD Review

Final thoughts and the conclusion


User experience

A modern operating system such as Windows 8 rarely does one
thing at time; it processes hundreds of threads at once. Just take a look at
the processes and services that are running in task manager for an idea of how
much is going on, even with the PC idling at the desktop. When you start
running applications on top of this, the workload increases in line with the number
and type of applications you are running. It’s also fair to say that many of
these processes are already loaded into system RAM, but many are also loaded into
and unloaded from RAM to the system drive as and when they are required.

If we look at the 4 basic requirements for a really fast
SSD, they are as follows.

  • Small file threaded performance needs to be high.
  • Small random file performance needs to be high.
  • Sequential read and write speeds need to be high.
  • Fast access times. 

The Samsung 840 SSD has most of these attributes, and feels
very snappy in use as a system drive.

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Stability

I have only had the Samsung 840 SSD for a couple of weeks,
so it’s not possible to comment on the drive’s long term reliability, but I
will now be undertaking a long term test of the Samsung 840, and specifically
testing the durability of its TLC NAND. What I can say is that during the
testing period, the Samsung 840 has been 100% stable, and has caused no
problems whatsoever.

The Samsung 840 is as “plug n play” as it gets. There are no
special tweaks needed other than simply making sure that AHCI SATA mode is
enabled in the system UEFI (BIOS), and installing the latest Intel RST SATA
drivers, if you want to get the best performance and compatibility out of this
SSD.

Conclusion:


Let us summarise the most important positive and negative
points below:

Positive:

  • Silky smooth operation as a system drive.
  • Outstanding sequential reading performance, even at very
    low queue depths.
  • Outstanding 4K random reading performance at low and high queue
    depths.
  • Very good 4K random writing performance at low queue
    depths.
  • SATA 6Gbps support.
  • TRIM support under Windows 7 and Windows 8.
  • Fast access times.
  • Completely silent operation.
  • Fast operating system start-up and shutdown times.
  • Very competitively priced

Negative:

  • Sequential writing speed is quite slow by today’s
    standards.


To sum up, this is what I
would say:

As a system drive with the operating system and applications
running from the Samsung 840, this SSD is pretty hard to fault. Its excellent
reading performance ensures that applications launch very quickly, and it has
more than enough writing performance to make sure that the Samsung 840 never
feels sluggish.

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Where things are not quite so good is when you start to use
the free space on the SSD as a scratch disk for editing and storing data that
you may be working on. Apart from the fairly low sequential writing speeds (by
today’s standards), the other slight problem is that writing performance is unpredictable
when 840 has reached a stage where is has no clean NAND to work with. With some
idle time, performance is very decent indeed, but push the drive hard with
sequential writes, then it appears that garbage collection just can’t keep up
with the demand, which appears to be down to the TLC NAND implementation in
this SSD.

Don’t get me wrong, the Samsung 840 as a system drive is up
there with the very best of them, and if used in this way then I’m quite
confident that you will be very impressed by its performance.

Price

What makes the Samsung 840 so very hard to resist is its
price. After all, that’s the main reason that Samsung are using SSD grade TLC
NAND on this drive.

I found the Samsung 840 250GB SSD at e-buyer
UK
for £128.34 including VAT, making the Samsung 840 excellent value for
money.

For our USA members, I found the Samsung 840 250GB SSD at Newegg
for $169.99.

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Price comparison

In the table below I present a price comparison on selected comparable
SSDs. The prices are collected from the online retailers listed above, and the
price is correct at the time that this article was written. The "price per
Gigabyte" listing is calculated from the available user capacity.

The price in Euro is derived from the UK pound to Euro
exchange rate, when this article was written.

Product

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Available user
capacity

Price

Price per
Gigabyte

Samsung 840
250GB
(basic retail kit)

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228GB

£128.34
$169.99
€148.53

£0.56
$0.75
€0.65

OCZ Vector 256GB
(retail kit + Far Cry 3)

238GB

£179.99
$289.99
€208.30

£0.75
$1.22
€0.87

Crucial M4 256GB
(bare drive)

238GB

£157.99
$193.99
€182.25

£0.66
$0.82
€0.77

The parting sentence is

“The Samsung 840 is an impressive SSD, it’s fast, very competitively
priced, and it’s also very stable”.

Rating system

The editor rating is based on the following key factors.

  • Performance
  • Stability (is the device stable?)
  • Price
  • Warranty
  • Supplied accessories (what is included in the package)

Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

Thanks to:


Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

EFD Software for
providing the fully licensed versions of HD Tune Pro

Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

Alex
Schepeljanski
for AS SSD Benchmark

Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

Anvil’s
Storage Utilities

Samsung 840 - 250GB SSD Review

FutureMark for
providing a professional license for PC Mark Vantage

You may comment on this review below.

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