Samsung 840 500GB SSD
Here we get our first look at the Samsung 840 500GB SSD. In a couple of days we'll publish the 250GB model so stay tuned for that performance review. Samsung hasn't changed much on the surface when compared to the 830, at least in the way it looks. The 840 moves the orange square block to the middle of the lower edge, the 830 had it in the corner. The case is a new design and all metal, a throwback to the old Samsung SSDs before the 830 that was housed in plastic.
We'll talk about them at the end of this page, but do you notice all of the little silver specs all over the drive? They show up really well since the 840 is in a black case. We found these little specs all over the inner package. They aren't dust or lint, which would also show up through the lens just like this.
The sticker on the back of the drive shows your serial number, drive capacity and other data. Samsung lists 1.7 Amps as the maximum which is a really high rating compared to what we ran into during testing. The 840 has a really low power draw, something we'll look at today as well.
The 840 and 840 Pro are both 7mm Z-height drives, Samsung calls them Ultra Slim. The side mounting points are in the same location as 9.5 and 15mm Z-height drives so you won't have an issue installing the 840 in your regular notebook or desktop with an adapter bracket.
The SATA power and data connectors are offset and where they should be.
Inside we found Samsung's new MDX controller, 512MB DRAM very close to the controller and eight TLC NAND flash chips, also from Samsung.
All hands on deck, the 840 controller named MDX uses three cores, one for reading, one for writing and one for background and flash management. The DRAM buffer is very close to the controller and that should reduce latency.
Samsung's TLC NAND flash, eight chips on the 500GB model with 512GB total.
All of the surface mount components are on the opposite side.
OK, back to the specs on the front of the drive, inside the box and inside the SSD case. When we opened the case we found several small pieces of solder. Here we see the largest pieces from inside the case. We took a computer keyboard duster brush to the PCB and case to make sure the drive didn't short out while testing.
I haven't seen any other reports of metal flakes in retail Samsung 840 or 840 Pro boxes, but if you open your drive and find them it might be a good idea to return it or take the drive apart to get them out. To do that you'll need a Penelope #5 screwdriver. They're on EBay and cost a few dollars.