With prices continuing to drop each week, it's a good time to invest in solid-state storage. Although the market seems to be flooded with SSD options, few relevant controllers are used today, sourced from SandForce, Marvell, and Samsung.
Probably best known for its use in the OCZ Vertex 3, the second generation SandForce SF-2281 offers considerable performance but is not without its flaws. SandForce isn't exactly synonymous with reliability because many SF-2281 drives experience stability problems early on. In addition, Intel recently discovered that the controller cannot handle AES-256 encryption – a problem that is so deep that a firmware update cannot fix it.
For its newest enthusiast drive, the Vertex 4, OCZ claimed to have used its own Indilinx Everest 2 controller. However, it turned out to be a newly built Marvell chip – presumably the 88SS91874, but it has not yet been confirmed. If so, it shouldn't necessarily be a cause for concern, as the 88SS91874 has proven to be fast and reliable in drives like the Crucial m4, which we've tested extensively and yet recommend as a viable solution.
Outside of SandForce and Marvell, there is Samsung, whose 470 and 830 series are entirely made in-house, including the controller, memory and cache. The latter drive launched last September with Samsung's MCX controller (S4LJ204X01-Y040) and has remained a solid option in terms of speed, reliability, and affordability – especially given recent price drops where the 256GB 830 is was only $ 0.76 per gigabyte. a marginal and well-founded $ 0.06 premium over the Vertex 3.
While the 830 series and many of their year-old counterparts may still be attractive, Samsung is poised to move on to bigger and better things. Because of this, the company announced a new line of products this week, including a new flagship offering, the SSD 840 Pro, which aims to refine the 830 series firmware with faster random and sustained performance, as well as improved reliability.
In addition to the new drives, Samsung is also releasing the Magician 4.0 software, which offers SSD 840 Pro users an interesting feature called user-configurable over-provisioning. It reserves 7 to 24% of the SSD storage for functions such as creating pre-erased drives. ready-to-use memory blocks. This allows users to choose what matters most to them: speed or capacity.
With most of the SSD competitors using the same remanufactured components, Samsung has been in a unique position to mess things up in the past few years and it has done a good job. We had almost no expectations for the 2010 470 Series, but we were pleasantly surprised when it dominated our performance charts. Last year's 830 series showed repetitive performance so we can only hope for the 840 Pro.
Samsung SSD 840 Pro
Samsung will offer four versions of the 840 Pro, including 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models. The 256 GB and 512 GB modules offer a read performance of 540 MB / s and a write performance of 450 MB / s, which is slightly faster than the previous generation of the 830 series' rates of 520 MB / s and 400 MB / s.
The new drive has been equipped with Samsung's latest MDX controller (S4LN021X01-8030), an ARM-based triple-core chip that supports SATA 6 Gbps and coupled with the latest 20nm NAND flash memory can be.
According to Samsung, the 840 Pro's MDX controller offers superior multitasking results with heavy I / O loads and smoother performance with more tasks. Based on an ARM Cortex R4 (300 MHz) processor, the three cores can execute several commands at the same time, so that, for example, one can be used for reading data, one for writing data and one for optimization.
Our 512 GB test device was equipped with a Samsung NAND flash memory called K9PHGY8U7A-CCK0, which was manufactured using 2 nm technology. There are eight chips with each IC with a massive 64GB density. The drive weighs 62.5 grams and measures 100 x 69.85 x 7 mm. This is thin enough to fit into most modern ultra-portable systems.
Although all SSDs are power efficient, Samsung boasts that its drives are special. According to Samsung, all four models consume 0.042 watts when idling and only 0.068 watts when active, while most other drives consume 2 to 4 watts of power when active.
Samsung claims an MTBF of 1.5 million hours and 1500G shock resistance – typical SSD estimates – and the 840 Pro comes with a five-year limited warranty.