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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27 comments

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

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

    • 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!

      • 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. TLC? Not for me! I wish companies had stuck with SLC because by now it would be cheap! I am considering an 840 PRO 512GB.

  7. I was hoping the Pro version would be pure SLC.

  8. i think you still dont get the whole notebook reason to test with one.
    also if your going to use a high end desktop atleast do a raid test.
    also a FDE test would be a huge help.
    it really sad how poorly most site do on testing and reviews.
    i do like this site but it allmost like most tech people cant wait to toss any review into there intercooled overclocked jet fueled desktop.
    not exactly real world is it.
    most people who buy a ssd are putting it in a laptop/notebook where this is the only upgrade they get.
    most worry about power use/heat and how secure it will be.
    so testing on a notebook is important and data protection.
    great work buy the way and you were 100% right on with samsung way back.
    you should also review that apple 2012 ssd that listed on the top of passmarks site.

    • I have tested the 2012 Apple SSD earlier and your pointys are well taken. Pros and Cons with respect to doing the actualy testing in a laptop and the definite cons are the fact that there are so many laptops that vary in hardware and setup. By testing on our main bench, we can achieve ideal performance at ideal conditions which we thnk is a valid trade off.

      As for the notebook, you are absolutely right when speaking of performance which could never be measured, in the way of battery life, on a desktop system. We are looking into being able to verify specified power ratings which might be a happy medium. As far as RAID testing…. we are hoping to get several drives in the near future…

  9. as for all the life talk it silly if you ask me.
    ssd change so fast we are on what gen now.
    i retired two of my asax leopard hunt drives from desktop duty to ps3 duty.
    my point here is we end up buying new tech every 2-3 years or less for some of us and just sell off what we can.
    talking of 10 year life spans is really silly unless it enterprize market and there i am certin size and price along with speed and power use are a huge factor for them when thinking of use.
    i have tested and used many ssd and never seen one fail and that leopard hunt got the bag beat out it with many os changes,betas,hardware,benchs and it not failed.
    i think enviroment would be the one thing i would worry about.
    silicon chips do not like mosture like humid places.
    i dont see any one talking how there old server pc in the basement would not boot up after they were away for a month.
    it be nice if they sealed them and put a mini usb port on them and not charge a extra 50 to 100 bucks.

  10. Innovation bring progress, Samsung is maybe one of the 1st that try their own controller, now their first TLC SSD, i think they are looking into the future not just for customers money!

  11. hi there yeah my bacbook air has more flash storage it has a 256 gb ssd so i get 6 gb more copacity and bigger then a 250 gb drive

  12. Quick question.. can by just dropping this SSD on a wood floor render it inoperable? I have someone from whom I Am to purchase one of these and now wants to renig by saying it was dropped and no longer works. Is this a dupe because I think he realizes that the price was wrong.. TIA bo1953

  13. I am assuming that on page 3 “System Information provides a good luck at your system hardware”, luck should really read look..
    But luck would be welcome too ..

  14. i could not disagree more. the 840 price is WAY to high. right now
    the 840 sells at the same price as the 830 which is a better drive. how
    can making a TLC drive that performs worse then your last generation MLC
    drive for the same price be a positive? now if they want to sell the
    840 250GB for under $150 then im interested. as of now im either buying
    the 840 pro or the 830. why would anyone buy a 840 until the 830 stock
    is gone?

  15. I can’t decide. This or the 240Gb SanDisk Extreme for the same price?

  16. i have “external exception E06D7363” error when trying to clone window 8! how do you fix that? other data migration software?

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