In early 2011 Samsung reminded the world that they actually make SSD’s. This was when they launched the 470 series of drives, with a 3Gb/s interface that received well-deserved praise but unfortunately the timing of the launch was around the same time as Sandforce unleashed its mighty SF2000 series of SATA 6Gb/s controllers. These left the 470′s performance languishing in the wake of drives using the new controller. Not to be outdone, a smarting Samsung headed back to the drawing board and in no time at all hit back with the new 830 series of SSD’s, equipped with a new faster controller – complete with a SATA 6Gb/s interface.
It may be an odd thing to say about a hard drive, but the 830 actually looks the part with its black brushed aluminium chassis, where it seems almost a shame to hide it away. While the 470 series used both sides of the PCB to populate with chips, the 830 series uses just one side of the board. Just as before, everything is Samsung’s own design so the new S4LJ204X01-Y040 controller is joined by 8 64GB NAND chips and 256 MB of cache, in the shape of a single DDR2 chip.
The 512GB drive is the flagship of a range that includes 64, 128 and 256GB capacities. All four drives have a quoted 520MB/s read performance, but their write times as you might expect differ with each capacity. The 64GB and 128GB have write speeds of 160MB/s and 320MB/s respectively, while both the 256 and 512GB versions get by with a 400MB/s write performance.
How do the numbers stack up
When tested with the ATTO benchmark, the drive gave a read performance of 549MB/s and a write figure of some 412MB/s. This is a little faster than those quoted Samsung figures, but when tested with the more demanding AS SSD benchmark the figures dropped to 506MB/s and 391MB/s for read and writes, respectively. What about real world performance? Well, the drive took just 17 minutes to load Windows 7 from the start until the password entry splash window. From a cold boot (ie from the on/off button) to being able to use Windows (including full motherboard driver load) took just 36 seconds, while copying a 100GB folder of mixed file types and sizes took just 9 minutes 27 seconds.
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- Huge capacity (for a SSD) matched by extremely fast performance. Good bundled software in the form of Norton’s Ghost 15
- Still not as fast as the fastest Sandforce drives. Cost per gigabyte is very high
Samsung’s 830 5132GB SSD certainly as put the cat amongst the pigeons as far as mixing it up with the latest Sandforce controlled drives. This SSD may not be as fast as some of them out there, at least it’s good to be able to have a choice when it comes to controllers. The drive is expensive but then again so are most drives offering this much capacity. If your budget won’t stretch to this one, there’s always one of the others in the range, but be aware they won’t be as fast as this flagship model.