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Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD Review - An SSD with a Good Price and Performance

Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD Review - An SSD with a Good Price and Performance

Today Chris gets some time with Samsung's 500GB 840 EVO SSD. Should this be your next SSD to consider based on price and performance? Let's see.

@ChrisRamseyer
Chris Ramseyer
Published Mon, Feb 10 2014 9:02 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction

Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD Review - An SSD with a Good Price and Performance 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 42 IMAGES

It's been a while since we looked at Samsung's 2.5" 840 EVO drives. On launch day, we tested the 750GB and the 250GB. This went dark after that, until the mSATA drives arrived. With so many different capacity sizes available, we felt as if we only covered part of the story. Today, we're circling back and filling in one of the gaps with the 512GB class model.

If you didn't know already, the Samsung 840 EVO drives are selling like crazy. Depending on which report you read, Samsung has a large chunk of the consumer SSD market share. In some countries, one out of every two consumer SSDs sold is from Samsung. There is a good reason for that. Despite the initial fears, TLC flash (at least the TLC that Samsung is building), has endurance that is better than first expected.

The flash is low cost, and thus Samsung's TLC based drives are also low cost. The 500GB model we're looking at today is down to around $300, a magic price point for CPUs, motherboards, and other components like SSDs.

We covered Samsung's MEX controller, Turbo Write, and Rapid Mode cache in an introduction article last July. If you would like to learn more about the underlying technology, start here.

We're diving right into this review with a brief follow up on the technology on the next page.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Samsung offers the 840 EVO in five capacity sizes, all with the same tri-core MEX controller and TLC NAND flash. The 500GB model has 512MB of DRAM, just like the 250GB drive we've already reviewed. EVO rests just beneath the 840 Pro in both price and performance, but the performance is very close between these two drives thanks to advanced technology like TurboWrite.

Rapid Mode, previously exclusive to the 840 EVO, eventually migrated to the 840 Pro. Rapid Mode uses your systems RAM to turn random data into sequential data when written to the solid state drive. This gives your system a nice performance boost, and increases the drive's endurance.

The 500GB EVO that we're looking at today has claimed performance of 540 MB/s sequential read, 520 MB/s sequential write speeds, and up to 98,000 4K read IOPS with 90,000 4K write IOPS. Samsung lists a metric we don't see very often from other manufacturers, and that's queue depth 1 performance. This is an important metric since many of the reads and writes we ask of the drive are at low queue depths.

The MSRP for the 500GB EVO was $369 in drive only form. At the time of writing several e-tailers show the drive at just $309. At that price, the EVO 500GB is one of the lowest priced 512GB class SSDs on the market. Today we're also looking at the bare drive version, so don't expect too many bells and whistles. Samsung does include data migration software, Magician drive management software, and a three-year warranty.

You can read our editorial on Magician 4.2 at this link.

PRICING: You can find the Samsung 840 EVO SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD retails for $89.99 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD retails for $154.99 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD retails for $309.00 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 750GB SSD retails for $419.99 at Amazon, and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD retails for $529.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD retails for $111.80 at Amazon Canada, theSamsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD retails for $188.88 at Amazon Canada, the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD retails for $349.99 at Amazon Canada, the Samsung 840 EVO 750GB SSD retails for $549.99 at Amazon Canada, and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD retails for $663.99 at Amazon Canada.

Packaging and Accessories

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The bare drive version ships with the drive, a warranty and quick install guide, and a software disk.

Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD

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The 840 EVO uses a 7mm z-height case, so it will work in many new Notebook and Ultrabook designs.

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The drive consists of the Samsung MEX controller, one Samsung DRAM buffer, and four NAND flash packages located on the other side of the PCB.

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This configuration is quite a bit different from the 750GB and 250GB models we've tested. The 750GB drive had eight NAND packages, and the 250GB only had two.

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Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

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Lenovo W530 - Mobile Workstation

We use two systems for SSD testing. The desktop runs a majority of the tests, and the Lenovo W530 runs the notebook power tests, as well as the real-world file transfer benchmark.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used to market storage products.

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We achieved higher performance than the specifications sheet stated. Our sequential read performance went to just over 555 MB/s, and our sequential write performance was just shy of 535 MB/s.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: Measures the performance

Info: Shows detailed information

Health: Checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: Scans the surface for errors

Temperature Display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write, and access time results, and for the last couple of years has gained popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must-have application for storage device testing.

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Getting right into the four corners, the 840 EVO performs really well at QD1 when reading sequential data across the drive.

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The sequential write test shows us that the 500GB model doesn't lose a step, even though it's only using half of the packages of the 750GB drive.

HD Tach - Sequential Write Performance after Random Writes

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After a number of random writes, we ran HD Tach to see the 128K sequential reads and writes. The 840 EVO 500GB dips the writes down to around 240 MB/s.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few, if not the only, test that will measure hard drive's random access times in hundredths of milliseconds, as opposed to tens of milliseconds.

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Since the initial launch, Samsung has released a couple of firmware updates. One of the updates decreased the EVO latency, and we see in the chart that the changes were significant.

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For several years, we've complained about write latency with Samsung SSDs. TurboWrite helped quite a bit, but the new firmware paired with TurboWrite gets the latency down to the level of other SSD products.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? It's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs that allows you to check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test, or just the read or the write test, or you can run a single test (i.e. 4K QD16).

The software is used several different ways, and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data, and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

0-Fill Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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The performance doesn't decrease when changing between compressible and incompressible data.

Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Samsung lists 10,000 IOPS for 4K reads, and in our test we get very close to that spec. The 840 EVO and 840 Pro dominate the low queue depth read IOPS tests.

Scaling Write IOPS through Queue Scale

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Write IOPS at low queue depth performance are also very high with the 840 EVO. TurboWrite makes this possible, since TLC normally has higher latency than MLC.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* Internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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For years 40 MB/s was the goal for QD1 4K performance, but the 840 EVO products have pushed past 40 MB/s, and moved the goal to 50 MB/s. The EVO drives also scale well as the queue depth increases.

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The 4K write IOPS scale well, and the QD1 performance is also one of the highest on the chart.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmarkvantage

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC, from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist, or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars, or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use, yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

Futuremark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users, these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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TurboWrite with the newest firmware release helped move the 840 EVO into the top spot in our real-world test. For consumer workloads, the EVO is actually a little faster than 840 Pro.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.

- Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time, and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - A test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover, or if performance is instantly restored.

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The new firmware also increases performance with data on the drive. There is little doubt why the 840 EVO gets high marks from end users, and is the best-selling model at this time.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark8

Buy It Here

Note: PCMark 8 Storage benchmark is ideal for testing the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives. Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

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PCMark 8 shows how long a task takes to complete. When looking at SSD performance in small tasks in seconds, it appears that the drives all perform about the same.

Benchmarks - DiskBench

DiskBench - Directory Copy

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

Developer Homepage: Nodesoft

Product Homepage: DiskBench

Download here: http://www.nodesoft.com/diskbench/download

Note: In this test, we use the Lenovo W530 Mobile Workstation and a SuperSSpeed S301 SLC 128GB SSD to move a 15GB block of data to and from the target drive. This is part of our real-world test regiment. Roughly 45GB of data resides on the target drive before the 15GB block is transferred. The 15GB Block is the same data we built for the Data on Disk Testing, and is a mix of compressible and incompressible data.

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We test file transfers with the drives in a notebook with C-states enabled. This shows real-world transfer performance in a notebook. It also shows that most notebooks will limit SSD performance to save power, which increases battery life.

Final Thoughts

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They say wine gets better with age. I don't know much about that, but as Samsung tinkers with the underlying code over time, the 840 EVO gets better. The 840 EVO drives we've tested and used in our own systems have all performed very well under normal day to day use. The only time we've forced the drive into a slower state was when building Blu-ray ISOs from files.

This writes just under 50GB of data as fast as the CPU can process the data. If you have an overclocked flagship CPU, you might see a reduction in performance since the drive is operating outside of TurboWrite. For the most part though, the drive stays very fast.

At this point, we don't have any concerns with endurance from Samsung's TLC flash. Of the vast number of drives sold, we have yet to see a sizable amount of end-user reviews speak of failures or endurance issues. There are not many complaints at all; those using 840 EVOs actually love them.

All things considered, the 840 EVO is the best consumer SSD on the market for most users. If you are on the fringe and write massive volumes of data daily, then EVO is just a really good drive. Samsung continues to update the 840 EVO with software and firmware releases, and the enhancements only make the product better.

PRICING: You can find the Samsung 840 EVO SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD retails for $89.99 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD retails for $154.99 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD retails for $309.00 at Amazon, the Samsung 840 EVO 750GB SSD retails for $419.99 at Amazon, and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD retails for $529.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD retails for $111.80 at Amazon Canada, the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD retails for $188.88 at Amazon Canada, the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD retails for $349.99 at Amazon Canada, the Samsung 840 EVO 750GB SSD retails for $549.99 at Amazon Canada, and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD retails for $663.99 at Amazon Canada.

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PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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