Samsung SM843 Pro Data Center Series 240GB SSD Review
Samsung leverages the full power of its tremendous manufacturing capability with an SSD constructed entirely with Samsung building blocks. With the MDX controller, NAND and DRAM production in-house, Samsung aims to deliver the total package for their datacenter customers.
Samsung's SM843 Pro Data Center Series is the beginning of a deeper push from Samsung into the datacenter. The SM843 SATA SSD is geared for mainstream usage in a wide variety of typically read-centric workloads. The SM843 is the first new product in the Samsung datacenter SSD family, and following shortly will be Samsung's first SAS SSD, the SM1625. The SM1625 behemoth is designed for heavier workloads and features impressive specifications.
The SM843, in contrast, is intended for the entry-level and mainstream market. This segment is exploding rapidly and several key players have begun to address these markets with specialized solutions. Samsung is turning their attention to gaining more traction in this burgeoning market segment with the SM843, and intends to aggressively market this SSD at near-consumer pricing.
A key building block of the SM843 is Samsung's own 21nm MLC NAND. Samsung is the largest manufacturer of NAND in the world, controlling 42.7% of the market. Samsung's lead in the market is considerable, with the next two competitors combined equaling Samsung's market share. Much of Samsung's dominance in this market comes from lucrative contracts with Apple, the world's largest flash customer.
This tremendous manufacturing capacity provides Samsung with a formidable advantage, and including their own DRAM in their SSD takes this a step further. Manufacturing and implementing their own DRAM into the solution provides Samsung with additional flexibility in design and construction.
The final piece of the puzzle lies in the Samsung-powered MDX controller. Designed, engineered and manufactured by Samsung, the MDX controller is a powerful component that has fared well in a multitude of product variations in the consumer market. The successful 840 Series has highlighted the fact that the MDX controller is proven and reliable.
The 8-channel MDX controller sports three ARM Cortex R4 cores at 300MHz and delivers data via a 6Gb/s connection. This provides the SM843 with top sequential read and write speeds of 520MB/s -410MB/s, respectively. The random read IOPS are impressive, weighing in at a sustained 70,000 IOPS in steady state conditions.
The random write IOPS come in considerably lower, with a top speed of 11,500 IOPS. This disparity between the read and write speed illustrates the fact that this SSD is designed for light write workloads.
The SM843 also sports a rating of 1,080 random TBW (Terabytes Written) for the 480GB capacity version with standard MLC NAND. This is an impressive 1600% boost from the previous generation of Samsung's enterprise SSDs, which only offered 60TBW of endurance. While this is an impressive endurance increase percentage, it one should keep in mind that is only in relation to Samsung's previous products. Samsung also offers a rating for sequential workloads of up to 4,120 TBW.
Samsung's continuing foray into the enterprise space comes in the midst of heavy market segmentation. Other smaller SSD manufacturers, and large foundry competitors such as Intel and Micron, are also offering value parts that offer impressive endurance specifications in conjunction with solid performance. The budget-conscious market can be brutal, but with Samsung's manufacturing capabilities, and fully vertically-integrated SSD, they feel they can provide a compelling solution to their customers.
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