Samsung 840 Pro 256GB RAID SSD Review
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Having already served up a 128GB 840 Pro RAID 0 review we know that the fastest MLC based two drive array you can buy today is a Samsung 840 Pro array. Today we have for your viewing pleasure a larger 256GB 840 Pro two drive array. The 256GB 840 Pro is slightly faster than a 128GB 840 Pro and ever so slightly slower than the 512GB 840 Pro (which as you will see very soon in an up-coming review is the holy grail of MLC based drives).
Samsung has thrown in a little twist in the form of new firmware. When we previously reviewed the 128GB & 256GB 840 Pro we were running on a slightly faster DXM03B0Q firmware. The 256GB drives we are reviewing came directly from Samsung with slightly slower DX04B0Q firmware already installed. When I say slightly slower I’m talking about peak performance with an empty drive and slightly reduced 4K performance. What the new firmware does bring to the table is better performance with data on the drive or in a used state. This sounds good to us because RWL is all about performance with data on the drive/array.
As we have seen in our previous 840 Pro reviews, what makes the Pro’s so special is their performance with data on the drive/array. Samsung decided to make long term performance and performance with data on the drive/array their primary focus when designing the 840 series. Because of this focus they have produced a MLC based consumer drive that is a cut above the rest for the moment at least.
Our 128GB 840 Pro array manage to beat out all challengers proving to be the fastest 2 drive array we’ve ever tested. How will the 256GB array that we have on the bench for you today measure up? On paper this array should be slightly faster although we already know that 120-128GB drives produce the best performance with data on them usually beating out their larger higher spec’d siblings in real world performance with data on the array.
So what’s under the hood? The new MDX controller sports three ARM Cortex R4 cores and the NAND Flash Memory utilized is Samsung’s new generation 21nm Toggle Mode 2.0 capable of 400MB/s per interface. DRAM Cache utilized is 512MB of Samsung’s own LPDDR2-1066.
Specifications look like this drive will have plenty of performance on tap so let’s see for ourselves if that’s what plays out on our bench. Here is what Samsung has to say about their newest flagship the 840 Pro:
Blazing Speeds and Unrivaled Performance
Samsung’s SSD 840 PRO Series is capable of delivering up to 540MB/s and 450MB/s of sequential read and write speeds for ultra-fast file transfers—including random speeds of up to 100K IOPS for the fastest real-world performance.* The SSD 840 PRO Series provides workstation-class performance for seamless video editing or the ultimate gaming experience.
Increased Reliability and Security
Keep up with demanding workloads while safeguarding your data. Samsung-designed multi-core controller and firmware ensure long-term sustained computing with superior write performance for non-compressible data like images, music and videos.** AES 256-bit full disk encryption provides advanced data security backed by a 5-year limited warranty to deliver a secure, reliable solution.
Precision Engineering from the #1 Supplier in the World
Our SSD 840 PRO Series weighs only 2 oz. and is 100% Samsung designed and manufactured using the highest industry standards and advanced Samsung memory technology. No moving parts mean no hard-drive spin-ups, no noise and superior data protection. The 840 PRO Series features industry-leading energy efficiency that provides up to 50 minutes longer battery life.***
* Real-world performance based on PC Mark 7 performance versus leading competition
* *Incompressible data performance based on AS-SSD Sequential Write performance versus leading competition
***up to 50 minutes longer battery life versus standard HDDs and some competitor SSDs based on MobileMark 2007 results with DIPM enabled versus leading competition
Plus, Samsung’s Magician software has been completely redesigned and includes several business-friendly features including Drive Health Status, Total Bytes Written (TBW), and Disk Scan & Error Reporting functionality. This allows IT managers to monitor drive health and plan hardware replacement cycles.
Well we already know a single drive can deliver everything Samsung claims it can so, let’s see what a pair can do with this new firmware.