Samsung 830 MZ-7PC256B/WW
The Samsung 830 comes with a 3 year warranty, which you would be crazy to void for no good reason. Well that’s what we’re going to do here, with our brand spanking new SSD bought at the store:
The Samsung 830 is held together using plastic tabs which seem to be impossible not to break while taking it apart. I was able to get it apart breaking only two tabs, so maybe someone with more finesse could do it. Anyway, you can see that they are using heat transfer material on one side of the enclosure – both sides are plastic by the way, although the top half features a nice looking faux-brushed-aluminum finish.
Once you get the drive apart – if you are crazy enough to do so without good reason – you will come across the thinnest, lightest SSD of this capacity you’ve probably laid your hands on. Since the Samsung 830 uses high density 2xnm flash, only one side of the PCB is used.
Having such a thin drive means they can offer it in a 7mm size which makes it suitable for use in ultra thin laptops. Unfortunately, Samsung do not include an adapter to increase the height to the standard 9.5mm, so it may not be suitable for non-ultra thin laptops. This is something that neither Kingston nor Intel overlooked on their drives which are also 7mm in height.
At the heard of the 830 is Samsung’s own S4LJ204X01 controller. This is a proprietary 3-core ARM9 controller made by Samsung in Korea; Samsung states that the extra core allows it to excel during full read/write scenarios, which we’ll test specifically later. Sitting between it and the flash chips is a 256MB DDR2 cache module.
And here’s a look at one of the flash chips. Labeled K9PFGy8U7A-HCK0, each chip has a capacity of 32GB. Along with Toshiba, Samsung back Toggle Flash over the alternative ONFI flash which you see on devices such as the OCZ Vertex 4 and Crucial m4. Toggle flash works much the same was as fully synchronous ONFI flash – it can read and write on one tick, which is the most important part. Other vendors using toggle flash include Kingston in their V200 SSD. Some vendors have used toggle flash in unconventional ways, such as pairing it up with the SandForce SF2281 controller. This is what OCZ did with their Vertex 3 Max IOPS which is included in this review.
The Samsung 830 kit we bought includes nothing other than the drive, and a software installation CD. Users can download a version of Norton Ghost to migrate their Windows installation to the new SSD, but no desktop mounting bracket or cables are included.
Speaking of the included software, Samsung’s SSD Magician is actually quite good – easily the best I’ve come across in all our SSD reviews. Not only does it include an easy way to update the firmware, it also has a secure erase function, an OS optimization tool, and more. You can also set your own over-provisioning (although that is as easy as making a smaller partition). The more empty space you leave on the drive, the longer it will retain its full performance.
Now that we are fully acquainted with the Samsung 830 – inside and out – let’s see how it compares to the competition!