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Samsung 830 Series 128GB Solid State Drive Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 6:13 am
TweakTown Rating: 84%Manufacturer: Samsung

Final Thoughts


The Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD has some very strong features going for it. The drive is capable of delivering very good read performance, something you want in a consumer drive. The write performance on the other hand still has some issues that we simply can't overlook.




When we test SSDs we run all of our benchmarks in a particular order. This order doesn't change no matter what results we see. Our first set of tests are ran with HD Tune Pro and there are six of them. The seventh test is HD Tach, the read / write test. In the image above we see the results of that seventh test. You can clearly see that the write performance was already affected by the previous six tests and in several places the drive wrote data at around 50MB/s. This is a very large drop off from the near 350MB/s peak we see when the drive is writing data at a high rate. The average write speed throughout the test drops to 226.4MB/s, but just like when you are playing a video game and measuring frames per second, it's the low points that make the experience less enjoyable.


We've seen a handful of reports on the Samsung 830 Series drives, but nearly all of those have come from larger capacity models. So far no one has really talked about just how fast this drive loses performance while writing data. The larger drives would make the performance loss happen at a slower rate so it might not be as easy to spot. The 60GB drive would lose performance rapidly though and I predict the loss would make the drive feel much like the current crop of controllers from JMicron or Toshiba controllers from last year. Given enough workload in a short period of time the larger drives could suffer from the same issues, rapidly decreased write performance.


For most desktop users this shouldn't become an issue because most users don't write large amounts of data to the drive in rapid succession. Users working with HD video or multi stream audio on the other hand would most likely see issues while working with the data and for a short time after. Once TRIM and the idle garbage collection 'clean' the flash performance would be restored.


The question you really need to ask yourself is if this temporary reduction in performance is acceptable when other products exist that aren't as prone to the issue. There are tradeoffs in all SSD designs; no one has produced a golden product that is free from some form of drawback. Some are bigger than others and some are only valid in certain usage scenarios. This is one of those cases where the number of users affected should be limited.


One way of making the Samsung 830 Series look a bit more attractive is its price. This is also an issue right now with the 128GB model we looked at today. At the time of writing the 830 Series 128GB drive sells at Newegg for 209.99. This is a very good price for a SATA III 128GB drive, in March 2011. Today the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB drives sell at Newegg for 169.99 (after a $20 mail-in-rebate). With that in mind you can start to answer the important question for you. The Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD is good, but not good enough to pull us away from the several low cost Team SandForce drives already on the market.



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