The Samsung 470 Series 256GB has certainly surprised us. This quiet achiever came from nowhere to dominate our performance charts with stellar performance. In terms of raw performance the Samsung 470 Series is right up there with the popular Crucial RealSSD C300 and at times surpassing it.
The extraordinary write throughput we saw in synthetic benchmarks became apparent in the all-important real-life tests. The Samsung 470 Series 256GB set new records in the file transfer ISO, program and game tests. Then when measuring application load times the Samsung 470 Series 256GB continued to impress. The Windows 7 boot time and the StarCraft II level load time results were inspiring.
In the synthetic benchmark phase the Samsung 470 Series 256GB displayed strong performance for the most part, though one glaring weakness did appear. The NCQ performance is rather weak for both reads and writes, which became evident when running the CrystalDiskMark Random 4K-QD32 and AS SSD Benchmark 4K-64 Thread tests.
That said, this didn't appear to have any impact on real-world testing and since we place much more weight on those results we are still ecstatic about the Samsung 470 Series 256GB performance.
As things stand today, the 256GB version that we tested costs a cool $550, while the 128GB version will set you back $280, and the 64GB version can be had for just $140, which would have made it eligible for our recent Budget Sub-$150 Solid State Drive Round-up. Had the Samsung 470 Series 64GB SSD been included in this article, there's a good chance it would have been given the thumbs up as the best sub-$150 SSD available.
While we are quite happy with the pricing of the smaller 64GB version, the 256GB drive seems a little pricey. At $550 the Samsung 470 Series 256GB matches the Crucial C300 256GB and is about $100 more expensive than the OCZ Vertex 2 240GB SSD. There aren't a whole lot of 256GB SSDs around, and we suspect there aren't as many buyers when compared to the 160GB and smaller drives either, but if you are already spending this much money on a solid-state drive, we would favor the Samsung drive for its improved performance over the Vertex 2.
Another far less important but still notable aspect where the Samsung 470 Series shines is on physical appearance and packaging. The clear acrylic case sets the product apart right from the get go, while the drive's silver brushed metal/plastic case also looks very nice.
Outstanding product: Samsung 470 Series 256GB Solid-State Drive
The only question that still remains is reliability as no one has been able to use a Samsung 470 Series drive for an extended period of time yet (they have been available since late August). That said, given how flawlessly Samsung has executed this first-time retail release and the fact they have years of experience in the memory industry we are confident this will be a non-issue.
For now it looks like the Samsung 470 Series is the real deal, offering high-end performance at a reasonable price. The only advantage the Crucial RealSSD C300 series has is its SATA 6Gb/s support, though this has yet to become a real asset.