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Samsung 840 500GB SSD Review

A number of next-generation SSDs are coming to TweakTown this week. OCZ, Intel and Samsung and others will follow after CES. Today Chris tests Samsung's low-cost 840 with TLC flash in the 500GB capacity size. Does TLC show the love or is this low-cost offering another low-budget blunder?

| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Nov 28, 2012 9:02 am
TweakTown Rating: 89%      Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction

 

TweakTown image content/5/0/5072_01_samsung_840_512gb_ssd_review.jpg

 

It shouldn't be any surprise that Samsung was the first to release Triple-Level Cell (TLC) flash in a consumer SSD. Samsung has a large market share lead with system builders and system builders want lower priced SSDs. Samsung has full control of its SSDs. They make the flash, the controller, the DRAM and given its size, most likely make their own cases and PCBs as well.

 

This level of control means Samsung has a greater control of costs with less outside interference. On the outside, this may not seem like as big of an advantage as Samsung makes it out to be, but looking at OCZ's troubles in Q2 and Q3 with NAND flash supply, we can say Samsung's advantage is real.

 

I don't want to get into too much detail here about triple-level cell (TLC) flash today. We're setting up a Q&A with a leading industry engineer and that session goes live on TweakTown soon. We've seen a lot of contradicting information about TLC online and we're rather get it right the first time.

 

Samsung uses TLC flash in the 840 SSD we're reviewing today and the obvious concern is the 1,000 P/E cycle. Samsung once again has an advantage since they are using its own flash and controller combination. Who better to tame Samsung TLC flash than Samsung with its own DSP controller?

 

TweakTown image content/5/0/5072_02_samsung_840_512gb_ssd_review.png

 

Samsung took its new MDX controller to school and taught it reading, writing and arithmetic. The triple core ARM Cortex - R4 controller dedicates one core to reading data, one for writing data and the other for background tasks like flash management. Compared to the 830 controller, the new 840 increases the clock speed by 80MHz per core. The new 840 drives also see an increase in DRAM for faster page mapping.

 

However, you didn't come here to read me blabbering on about architecture - let's wrap up the specs and get down to business.

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