Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD Review – The Worlds First TLC SSD Takes Center Stage

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

I remember speaking to a manufacturer of TLC SSD potential not so long ago and being told that there needed to be an appreciable difference between the pricing of TLC NAND and MLC NAND for this to have any chance of success.  In that conversation, we also spoke of lifespan where the thought of matching TLC and MLC SSD endurance met with an uncomfortable silence.

Samsung seems to have easily scaled that barrier with the 840 SSD and, in doing so, reminds us that companies that own the fab (manufacture memory) will have a healthy advantage in bringing new technologies forward.  In the 840 SSD we see, not only the first example of TLC memory in use but also, a shining example of Samsung’s ability to increase the endurance and significantly increase the life of the 840 SSD.

Performance of the 840 is excellent with each benchmark seemingly supporting and building on the last.  Samsung’s ability to tweak their firmware to the point that we are pulling just under 100,000 read IOPS from the 840 speaks for itself.  Even looking at the AS SSD Copy Benchmark, we see incredibly fast file transfer results even in benchmark software that preys on SSDs that do great with compressible data and, not so great with incompressible data such as movies, music and photographs.

Pricing will be the main factor with the 840 and I might suggest the ability to create a stir in market pricing just might be too good to resist for Samsung.  MSRP for the 120 and 250GB SSDs is right in line with what we are seeing, as of late, with 120/128GB SSDs below the $100 mark and 240/256GB SSDs under $200.  Keeping in mind that this is only a suggested pricing model and the trend seems to have reversed in recent times where we are seeing e-tailers beat MSRP, the potential for such an SSD to pull the SSD pricing median even lower is incredible.

Could we imagine a price war between Samsung and Crucial/Micron, a company completely responsible for significant SSD price drops in recent months? If this were to occur, what then for third party SSD companies who don’t have the benefit of controlling their own memory, cache and even SSD controller prices?  Just when we thought we might see the dust settle a bit, Samsung has pulled off a great move.  The only fly in the ointment seems to be that a TLC SSD on the street is, as of yet, untested and consumer confidence comes with time and positive experience.  For now though, our Samsung 840 will remain active in our Test Bench and we will be the first to revisit this review, or quite possibly post an updated article,  should there be any anomalies whatsoever.

I don’t see that anyone would disagree that the 840 is deserving of our Innovation Award just as the 840 Pro was our Editor’s Choice!

Check Out Samsung 840 SSD Prices at Amazon!

For this report we are going to include something that we believe to be a definite asset with technology reviews, however, is never seen simply because of industry competitiveness. While at the Samsung 2012 SSD Summit, I reacquainted myself with a few good friends and met several others.  Check out a few of the links below that lead to other independent Samsung 840 reviews from those that attended the Summit as well.  I will update these as others are posted:

  1. Kristian Vatto – Samsung 840 SSD: Preliminary Benchmarks
  2. Sam Chen – Samsung 840 250GB SSD Review
  3. Allyn Malventano – Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD Full Review

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renosablast
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renosablast

I especially like the image of the SSD standing on end among office buildings.

Ting Fung Yip
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On page 8 , slight mistake in the title and the chart, we are testing the Samsung 840, not the 830. Awesome review though.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thanks and that is actually an editorial trick! Now, we are certain that we have at least one reader and the article was a success. Fixed!

barry j
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barry j

Really liked the review I also have a 128gb 840 pro and a 128gb 830 Samsung drives bought the 840 250gb set as my OS(windows 8) drive to see how it runs so far really impressed in real world use very similar to my 128gb 840pro better than the to crucial M4 128gb and 64gb I decided on smaller drives and I rotate them every few months. They all get a turn at running the OS spreads the writes around all the drives.
Samsung has good track record with SSDs so figured it was worth a try

Travis Dillard
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WOW that is one nice SSD. SSDs are really starting to improve at an amazing rate.

dravo1
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dravo1

Any thoughts of setting up an 8-drive RAID test on a nice LSI adapter???? I’d love to see how the Pro numbers scale up.

Les@TheSSDReview
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eheheheh I cant answer that one just yet!

jack
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jack

need the 840 Pro version for 256gb.. not really that interested in TLC drives. just how many P/E cycles are these drives? the TLC and Pro version?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thats a Samsung secret at this time.

jack
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jack

one of my bud works for a company that does the nand, he told me TLC are only around 1k write cycle. so basically 1/3 of the lower MLC and 1/5 of old MLC drives?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Except….the latest trend now is extending the life of such NAND and we are seeing through many different companies.