Specifications, Pricing and Availability
We can't really understand the 840 without pulling the 840 Pro into the story. The Samsung 840 is the lower priced option with TLC flash and lower specifications. The 840 Pro is Samsung's new flagship with MLC flash, higher performance and an additional two years added to the warranty.
The Samsung 840 comes in three capacity sizes - 120GB, 250GB and 500GB. The standard flash capacity is physically on the drive, but more reserve space was reserved for background tasks. The 840 Pro ships without the extra spare area and a 64GB model made the final cut.
Samsung released a couple of different specifications for the 840 and 840 Pro. These are the initial numbers released; the numbers below are the final, published to web numbers. There isn't much of a difference so we're going to keep our original chart that is good enough to see a comparison between models.
Let's get the Samsung 830 512GB model in to see how Samsung progressed. The Samsung 830 was highly talked about publicly in the review world, but we never found a reason for the high praise. We only looked at the 128GB model and found high write latency and low performance in when the drive held data. Personally I think the high praise of the 830 Series had more to do with reviewers working to get marketing dollars from Samsung's massive budget than it had to do with the SSD.
When users started emailing their own experiences with write latency, our concerns were validated. The 830 is a good budget offering, but not the SandForce killer most made it out to be. Issues with firmware updates on drives sold by major OEMs, i.e. not being able to update OEM drives with retail firmware was a big complaint as well. We can tell you the write latency issue was taken care of on the 840 even though TLC flash has even higher latency at the flash level. We still don't know anything about the OEM firmware issues since we've yet to hear from OEM customers.
Here we see the final published specs for the 840 512GB as found on Samsung's website just before writing. Samsung claims a sequential read speed of 530MB/s and a write speed of up to 330MB/s. The final read IOPS spec is 87K and the write IOPS is 63K. Samsung didn't specify how they achieved these numbers and that played a part in publishing two sets of numbers in this review. We'll get to the bottom of the performance ourselves so there isn't a reason to split hairs on published performance data.
The Samsung 840 ships with two accessory packages. Today we're looking at the base package that Newegg currently lists for $379.99. The Full Kit or as others call it Upgrade Bundle ships with a desktop adapter bracket, screws, SATA power and data cable, mounting spacer and SATA to USB adapter cable. Newegg lists the full kit price at $419.99.
Both 840 kits include a three year warranty and newly redesigned Magician Software. We'll take a look at the new software in the review today. Inside the Magician Software is a link to Samsung's website where Norton Ghost resides. You can download the software, but the key code only ships with the full kit and not the base 840 drive.