Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB SATA III SSD Review
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TLC NAND is supposed to be the wave of the future for SSD’s. Triple Level Cell (TLC) NAND promises to significantly lower dollar per GB costs, making solid state storage significantly more affordable thereby increasing mainstream adoption. A lot of manufacturers have talked about offering TLC based SSD’s but, to date only Samsung has brought TLC based SSD’s to the retail market.
Some have been reluctant to utilize TLC NAND (3 bit per cell NAND) because of its inherent drawbacks including, greatly reduced endurance, as well as lower overall performance in comparison to MLC NAND (2 bit per cell NAND). Samsung’s first TLC based SSD; the 840 series put endurance/data integrity fears to rest, proving that a TLC based SSD can have great reliability and endurance when utilized in a typical consumer implementation.
With the introduction of the SSD 840 EVO, Samsung is taking TLC to a new level of performance as well as endurance. The EVO isn’t just designed to be the most affordable SSD on the market today; it’s designed to beat all comers in performance as well. The Cheapest AND the Fastest? Cheapest and fastest normally don’t even belong in the same sentence when discussing computer hardware. This will be quite an “Evolution” indeed if we see this pan out when we subject the EVO to the beating of its life on our test bench.
The original SSD 840, while proving to have plenty of endurance as well as reliability, wasn’t the best performer. Most competing MLC based SSD’s had the edge performance wise. So how is Samsung going to accomplish this feat considering the EVO is utilizing even smaller (19nm) lithography NAND than was utilized on the original SSD 840?
To increase performance for the EVO, Samsung has introduced a new triple core FSP (Flash Storage Processor) designated MEX. The MEX controller has a 400MHz clock speed, which is a 100MHz increase over the triple core MDX controller utilized on the original SSD 840. Samsung has also introduced their own version of an emulated SLC (Single Level Cell [1 bit per cell]) write acceleration layer they call “Turbo Write”. And, if that’s not enough, Samsung includes their own proprietary DRAM buffer technology called RAPID that enhances system performance by utilizing up to 1GB of system RAM to cache “hot data”.
Samsung is marketing their SSD 840 EVO as an evolution in SSD price and performance even dubbing the EVO launch as “SSD’s for Everyone”. Well, let’s see for ourselves if Samsung has delivered the next evolution in SSD’s.