Samsung 840 Series 256GB SSD review
The Samsung 840 Series is the successor to the excellent 830 Series drives, which means it has a tough act to follow. Physically, the new drive doesn't look much different to its predecessor, but plenty has changed beneath its pretty surface. This is the first commercial SSD to use triple-level cell (TLC) NAND memory chips instead of the multi-level cell (MLC) drives we're used to seeing.
Triple-level NAND differs architecturally from multi-level NAND memory. While MLC memory is able to store two bits of information per cell, TLC hardware can store three bits of information per cell. That means manufacturers can use smaller chips to store the same amount of data.
It's cheaper and more efficient to produce TLC NAND, especially for a company like Samsung that can create its own components, but it's not all good news. With more data stored in every chip, controllers have to work harder to read and write more information and this can have an effect on performance. Performance is an important consideration for enthusiast drives, but you can currently buy the 250GB drive for a comparatively good value £131, which works out to be an extremely impressive 55p per gigabyte. It compares well to the Corsair Neutron 240GB, our current favourite, which can currently be bought for around £160 and costs 66p per gigabyte.
The 840 Series uses Samsung's own three-core MDX controller, which is a step up from the MCX chip used in the original 830, and the drive itself is a slim 6.8mm thick, which means it'll fit in the most petite laptop.
The three-year warranty is two years less than the five-year warranty of the Corsair Neutron, but it’s not bad. You also get a 2.5in-to-3.5in bracket in the box, along with SATA and power cables, so you can install it in a PC that doesn’t have a 2.5in drive mount.
In our benchmark tests, the 840 series lagged behind the Corsair Neutron 240GB, getting 362MB/s overall. The Corsair scored 400MB/s. The 840 Series wrote and read large files at 294MB/s and 431MB/s respectively; the Corsair scored 394MB/s and 406MB/s in the same tests. The 840 Series wrote and read small files at 138MB/s and 78MB/s. These are good scores, but the Corsair Neutron scored 148MB/s and 81MB/s.
The Samsung 840 Series is technically impressive and relatively quick, but it’s not as quick as some enthusiast drives, such as the Corsair Neutron 240GB. If you’re looking for a great value SSD kit with good performance and a decent warranty, you should consider the Samsung 840 Series 250GB.
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