Samsung SSD SM825 400GB Enterprise SSD Review – 3Gbps eMLC Data Center Edition

In reviewing the Samsung SSD SM825 Data Center Edition 400GB eMLC solid state drive, we understand that we have wandered off the beaten path of normal consumer reviews but there are some things in this SSD that will just grab your attention.

Although it’s interesting to see that Samsung has chosen its own premium eMLC NAND flash memory in the SM825, we believe that it is the total write endurance that truly stands out in this enterprise class SSD.


The use of Samsung’s own hand picked e-MLC NAND flash memory enables an amazing 7000TBW (terabytes written) for the 400GB sample that we are reviewing today, followed by the 200GB with 3,500TBW and 100GB with 1,700TBW.  To bring that as close  as we can to the consumer side of things, a typical consumer edition mlc drive might have a total write cycle of 60TBW which is 116 times less than the 400GB Samsung SSD SM825.

The change in TBW for each capacity is directly related to the over provisioning of each which we will elaborate on a bit later. Is anyone interested in endurance testing the SM825?  If so, you must definitely have spare time on your hands.


blankThe SM825 exterior is constructed of a very sturdy brushed metal casing that serves the purpose of cooling the SSD more so than it does protection, although this case feels bulletproof.  It is an HDD thickness of 15mm thick for easy installation in data centers.

blankThe truly unique aspect of this SSD, that we see above all others, is that it is all Samsung.  First we have the S3C29MAX01-Y330 3 Core ARM controller, which is the heart and sole of the drive, and is surrounded by a total of 16 pieces of Samsung 32nm Ep-mlc 2 bit Toggle DDR NAND Flash memory (K9HDGD8U5M-HCE0) with each module being an 8 die stack. Each piece is 32GB in capacity for a RAW total capacity of 512GB.

blankSince this is advertised as a 400GB SSD, 112GB of the NAND capacity would have to be allocated for over provisioning which runs similar to 56GB of over provisioning for the 200GB version and 28GB of over provisioning for the 100GB version. We can now understand how over provisioning ties into the total write cycle, or TBW, of the respective SSDs.  We can also see that the SM825 contains Samsungs own DDR 2-800 SDRAM cache at a 256MB capacity (K4T2G314QF-MCF7).

blankThere are four capacitors on the rear of the drive which are used solely for data protection in the event of power loss where any information still in the cache completes its movement to the NAND even after the power is lost. 


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    The word coming from Digitimes is that Samsung is not about to see its NAND lead eroded, and their new fab, dubbed Line-16 should give Samsung a leg up.

    Located in the Nano City Complex in Hwaseong in South Korea, the fab will be capable of producing 200,000 12-inch wafers every month.

    Samsung began work on the site back in May 2010, and it is now expected that the site will be up and running in two months.

    According to chip expert at Future Horizons, Malcolm Penn, the opening is indicative of how important the NAND sector is.

    “It used to be DRAM, DRAM, DRAM ;now NAND is growing around 50 percent faster.”

    “They are pretty much neck and neck now with Toshiba so it is very important for Samsung to get more capacity online.

    “Capacity equals market share, so if you have a bigger fab then you are going to get ahead, and the Samsung fab is a monster.”

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    This Fab is open an operating.

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    Toshiba has as much as admitted that they will have a tough time competing with Samsung’s new fab. Toshiba wants to expand also; but their costs to expand will be far greater than Samsungs. Advantage – Samsung

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    You might want to look into the life span on the SuperCaps used. There is a reason why everyone else is going to digital caps, something to do with the SuperCaps only lasting two years 🙂

    Chris Ram

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    Where can you buy this?

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    Agreed asw. This would be a great product if you could actually find somewhere to give you pricing on it, let alone actually buy one.

    Even several months after this review, no one seems to know anything about buying one.

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      It is an enterprise product and available with contact through Samsung Business.

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        Thanks. I’ve got a request in to Samsung Business. We’ll see how long they take to get back to me.

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        HOLY COW buying these things is VERY different than just going to newegg and putting in your credit card and then they ship them to you. I had to dig up memories from days gone by and put on my old reseller hat…

        For posterity’s sake, here’s what I’ve gone through:

        In a nutshell, it’s taken a week, and I FINALLY have an MSRP on these things. I was wondering if they were in the realm of the Hitachi eMLC (SSD400M) drives or more along the lines of the OCZ Deneva’s. (Hint, they are pretty much right in the middle.)

        Anyway, Samsung has a few distributors in the USA – many of which won’t deal with “small” purchases (we’re looking at 44 of these things, and they consider that quite small). I ended up at Arrow, but Avnet would have worked too. (I think there are 3 in the US. Crestone is the company that supplies the other 3).

        If you don’t know how the channel works, prepare to be mired in red tape.

        I also finally got a call back from Samsung itself. I basically had to sell what we were doing with the product to them. Don’t get me wrong, the guy was very nice and quite helpful, but we’re not usually the kind of place they would sell to. If you’re not a NetApp, EMC, HP, Dell, Oracle, Cisco, etc, well, they’re not quite sure what to do with you. The guy explained that they couldn’t be expected to send an engineer from Korea to diagnose problems and then produce custom firmware for with such small quantities ordered. I told him I just want a bunch of fast reliable enterprise drives… Custom firmware not required…

        IMHO, you’re probably better off waiting for these drives to come to your preferred storage vendor. Enterprise just moves more slowly than consumer. In other words, although this drive was released in late 2011, it’s still considered a new product, and the channel is still trying to figure out how to handle/sell it. But, if you’ve got a definite need for a bunch of these, it is perhaps possible to acquire them. Just be prepared to exercise extreme patience.

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        I always suggest buyers to contact us with such purchases as our contacts can usually help significantly, however, yes…this is not a NewEgg purchase.

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    still cant found it stock… only reviews is it real device or not?

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