Samsung PM800 128GB mSATA SSD Review – Samsung Quietly Releases another Top Tier SSD

Our feature picture depicts the new Samsung PM800 mSATA 128GB SSD as it sits on top of our new Samsung 9 Series laptop.

A few months ago, we reviewed the Samsung 470 Series 256GB SSD and were the first to identify it as a top tier SSD. The results and review did so well that Samsung as well as other review sites hadn’t a clue.

A flurry of 470 reviews followed and we think history is about to repeat itself.

INTRODUCTION

As with the Samsung 470 Series SSD, we once again find ourself evaluating a solid state drive that has been out for a few months.  Although it is new to the  Samsung Series 9 laptop we just purchased, a quick internet shows that it started appearing in Dell laptops in January. We dug as deep as we could and couldn’t find a review anywhere on the internet that spoke of the PM800 so we decided to rip the back off of our Series 9, remove the drive, and test it.

The photo displays the Samsung mSATA SSD highlighted with a red rectangle and, as we found out here and here, DO NOT REMOVE THE BACK on your Series 9 as it immediately voids the manufacturers   warranty.  The Series 9 seems to be amongst the first of the Samsung family where the user cannot upgrade RAM or HDD/SSD themselves.  Fortunately for us, the unit shown was the subject of a return not related to this article.

SPECIFICATIONS AND COMPONENTS

As it stands, the Samsung PM800 mSATA SSD is not available as a consumer release but can be found in the series 9 and other select Samsung laptops as well laptops of other manufacturers.  It is available in a 32, 64 and 128GB version and we just received word that there would be a 256GB version of this mSATA SSD out within the year.  This capacity in a SSD that is 1/3 the size of a business card and only as high as a twenty-five cent piece is absolutely amazing.

Samsung has the advantage of being able to create such a drive with totally ‘in house’ components. The controller of the PM800 is a SATA 2.0 Samsung S3C29MAX01 controller which sits beside 2 modules of Samsung K9PFGD8U7M 30nm 32GB NAND flash memory.  Combining these with the two other flash modules on the back side of the PCB results in a total of 128GB raw capacity. There is also Samsungs own K4T2G314OE on-board cache below the controller.

We find it interesting that the S3C29MAX01 controller in use is exactly the same controller used in the Samsung 470 Series SSD.

The model number of the drive is MZMPA128HMFU and, as stated above, we will be seeing a 256GB version in the same form factor in the very near future.  We might venture to guess that the 256GB version will be one of the first products released that utilize Samsungs new 64Gb toggle DDR 2.0 NAND flash memory.

This new flash is 20nm in size and is capable of an amazing 400Mbps transfer rate which makes its DDR 2.0 chips about three times faster than toggle DDR 1.0 (a 133Mbps interface) or ten times faster than the 40Mbps SDR NAND flash in widespread use today.

This truly opens the door as to what we may be seeing in the Samsung line of solid state drives in the very near future.

Pg1 – Introduction

Pg2 – Test Bench and Initial Tests

Pg3 – Crystal and AS SSD Benchmarks

Pg4 – HDTune Testing

Pg5 – PCMark Vantage and Conclusions

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