Samsung 830 Series SSD 256GB - Solid performance and Reliability

5/19/2012 3:43:29 PM
Can Samsung make hay while the rain falls on Seagate and Western Digital? 

A high-performance SSD for those can afford it

If you’re going to pay silly prices for storage, you might as well get silly performance out of the deal. That’s precisely the thought of many people, who have seen the hard drive makers drop their ball in a soggy place, encouraging them tm embrace the world of solid-state storage.

Samsung 830 series SSD 256GB

Samsung has been in this sector for a while, and the new 830 series takes it from SATA 2 compatible devices to SATA 3 models, to take on the latest Corsair, OCZ and Intel products.

In its brushed aluminium shell, the 830 Series looks nice enough, within the limitations of being exactly the same size as virtually every other SSD. With these things it’s about what’s inside, and in here is 256GB of very rapid LLC NAND flash chips, a new Samsung ARM-based controller and 256MB of high speed cache.

The quoted speeds are 520MB/s reading and 400MB/s writing – performance levels that make conventional drives appear to be going backwards. That said, the new Intel 520 is supposedly faster, for those that want ultimate speed.

Samsung, SSD, mSATA SSD 256GB, ultrabook

In testing the 830 Series 256GB I found some interesting results. If you put this SSD on a SATA 2 port, everything caps at about 260-250MB/s for both reading and writing. Pick a blue SATA 3 port instead and it suddenly shifts into a much higher gear. Using the AS SSD benchmark I was able to record a speed of 493.25MB/s read and 391/53MB/s write. That’s close to the quoted performance, and almost double what Samsung’s previous SSD product could achieve, and demonstrating that it’s running with the big dogs of solid-state storage now, snapping at the heels of IBM and OCZ.

The product is a good one and, ignoring the cost for a moment, how else could Samsung impress me? Well, for once it was with the overall package. In the box along, with the 830 series, it’s also included a mounting plate for a 3.5” drive slot. It’s also put in two very useful software tools. One of these is Samsung’s own creation, SSD Magician, and the other is that old faithful, Norton Ghost. SSD Magician is designed to monitor and maintain the SSD while in use, and Norton Ghost is the application you’ll need to transfer your Windows 7 system from where it is now to your shiny new SSD. I especially liked SSD Magician, because it can update the drive firmware, among many useful features. Given the overall cost of the drive, these additions didn’t cost Samsung much, but they’re appreciated.

Samsung MZ-7PC256D/AM 830 Series 2.5

There’s only one minor bone of contention here, and it’s the price, which makes recent dramatic rises in hard drive prices seem like a mild swelling. For those willing to trade capacity and write performance down, the 64GB model can be yours for around $135 and the 128GB model is around $240. Those who want 512GB can have that too, if they’ve got $885 of cash to splash, but you’ll need a SATA 3 port to appreciate them all.

The 830 series is cheaper than the Corsair Performance 3 and Intel 520 series but slightly more than the OCZ Vertex 3. The choice is yours, but I did really like what Samsung did with the 830 series in respect of the kit.


Price: $450

Manufacturer: Samsung


Required spec: SATA port and SATA power



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