Samsung 840-Series Pro 256GB review
Samsung has worked hard to earn its share of the SSD market, and its 840 Series drive impressed us, although it wasn't quite able to match our favourite drives for speed.
Samsung's latest drive leaves the mainstream behind and is intended for enthusiasts in need of excellent performance. Inside, it's a mixture of familiar components and new technology. The standard 840 Series SSD was the first commercial drive to use triple-level Flash memory and, while that pushes boundaries in efficiency, it isn’t the quickest NAND. That title is still held by MLC-based memory, and that's what Samsung has used in the 840 Pro Series.
This more conventional memory in the 840 Pro sits alongside the same MDX controller that Samsung used in its slower drive, but we’ve no problem with that. It’s a triple-core part that outstrips the dual-core, third-party controllers used elsewhere, and Samsung reckons it’s up to the job of driving this high-end SSD.
The combination of reliably quick controller and high-end memory performed well in our benchmarks, but it fell short of our favourite SSD in performance. The Samsung ran through our large-file write and read tests at 408MB/s and 433MB/s, and scored 421MB/s overall, but the Ultimate award-winning Toshiba THNSNF (http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/internal-hard-drives/1296574/toshiba-thnsnf-512gb) scored 515MB/s and 425MB/s in the same benchmarks.
The two drives were similarly matched in our small-file benchmarks. The Samsung wrote and read files at 157MB/s and 89MB/s, scoring 124MB/s overall. The Toshiba THNSNF scored 150MB/s and 100MB/s in the same tests.
The 7mm Samsung is slim enough to slide into the thinnest notebook, and its five-year warranty is as generous a deal as we've seen included with any SSD. The box and drive look like high-end bits of kit, too, but we're a little disappointed by the lack of accessories; there's no sign of a 2.5in to 3.5in adapter or any cables.
The Toshiba THNSNF beats the Samsung 840 Pro on price, but only just. The 256GB Toshiba THNSNF costs £184, or 71p per gigabyte, but the 840 Pro costs £192, which works out to be 75p per gigabyte.
The two drives are similarly priced, but the Toshiba THNSNF performed better in our benchmarks than the Samsung. The Toshiba THNSNF 512GB is still the SSD to buy for those searching for the ultimate in performance.
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