TODO alt text

Samsung SSD 830 256GB review

OEM reliability arrives for consumer-class drives

Unlike the competition, the SSD 830's controller, DRAM and NAND are all designed and built by Samsung itself.

That's surely advantageous when writing the firmware – if each component is built to get along with the others from the initial design phase, firmware can really zero in on performance and reliability.

It's the latter that Samsung is emphasising with this drive.

Multi threaded 4k random read performance

Performance levels in the benchmarks we ran fell short of leading drives, but were especially impressive when dealing with incompressible data, which we'll cover later.

Without reliability though, these performance levels don't mean much.

SSD reliability is also the toughest aspect to get to grips with in a review. It's something that can be judged over months and years, not weeks.

Samsung's own test results show a 64 year lifespan for the SSD 830 with 10 GB written onto it each day, or 16 years with a rather improbable 40 GB daily write.

Those are really encouraging figures, and it's relieving to see reliability emphasized so heavily in a product type that hasn't always enjoyed the best *cough Sandforce 2200 series cough* track record.

The drive's firmware, which can be kept up to date by Samsung's Magician software, employs some nifty wear-levelling to avoid 'wearing out' blocks by writing to the same areas over and over. The firmware also runs a Sudden Power Off Recovery algorithm to prevent data loss if there's a power cut.

Sadly, we won't be able to see the fruits of these features until after a few months of heavy use, but current signs look encouraging and Samsung's pedigree in enterprise drives and extended OEM relationship with super-fussy Apple are good to keep in mind if you're looking for a dependable drive.

What we can talk about is performance.

549 MB/s read speeds for compressible data just about keep up with the quickest drives on the market, but the write speed of 407 MB/s falls back considerably.

However, the SSD 830 shines when dealing with incompressible (already compressed) data like media files.

It's the Achilles heel of the Sandforce controller, but certainly not Samsung's three core ARM9 controller which hits almost double the incompressible write speeds of competitors.

The Samsung SSD 830 isn't the quickest drive, but it deals well with incompressible data, boasts high IOPS and random read/write performance, and it's well priced.

If it's as reliable as it looks, the SSD 830 will be a fine long-term drive.

We liked:

With the emphasis on reliability in the Samsung SSD 830 that does give us confidence in the long-term use of this as a main drive.

The bespoke Samsung firmware also deals well with incompressible data, something traditional SandForce SSDs struggle with. The fact it can keep pace with the brilliant OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS in that respect is impressive.

We disliked:

Sadly, while it keeps pace it cannot best the performance of those competitors in compressible data.

Final word:

A really strong consumer-level effort from Samsung, though the SSD 830 isn't the quickest drive around.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Product Family830
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/600
Brand NameSamsung
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity256 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Read Transfer Rate520 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate400 MBps
Height7 mm
Width69.9 mm
Depth100 mm
Product Series830
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelMZ-7PC256N
Product NameSSD 830 Series
Manufacturer Part NumberMZ-7PC256N/EU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Solid State Drives, or SSDs, are innovative data storage devices that deliver high performance, reliability, and quality by using NAND Flash memory instead of the magnetic disks used in traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). SSDs provide very fast PC booting and application loading speeds and perform exceptionally well in multi-tasking environments all while consuming less power, emitting very little heat, producing no noise, and offering outstanding stability compared to conventional HDDs. Please visit www.samsung.com/SSD for more information on SSD technology.

Package Contents
  • Samsung SSD 830 Series
  • SATA to USB Adapter Cable
  • Mounting Spacer
Limited Warranty3 Year
Weight (Approximate)62.5 g