Samsung's previous-generation SSDs have proven themselves as solid competitors, but they're never a catch-free affair. Both the 470 and 830 Series fell short in at least one area, yet they managed to counter their shortcomings with impressive results elsewhere. This appears to be the case again with the company's new SSD 840 Pro -- perhaps to an even greater extent than we've seen before.
The 840 Pro's file copy results are hard to explain. Its single large compressed file performance was mind-bogglingly good, while its multiple small non-compressed file performance was mind-bogglingly bad. Between those two extremes, the small and large compressed and uncompressed "game" test gave fairly standard results. The drive went on to perform very well in our game install and virus scan tests.
Synthetic benchmarks such as CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD Benchmark revealed that while the 840 Pro's sequential read performance has not improved over the 830 (perhaps due to limitations of the SATA 6Gb/s interface), the drive's write performance has improved dramatically. This was particularly true when working with smaller files where the 840 Pro outpaced last year's 830 by a margin of about 30%.
PCmark 7's results were a mixed bag. The 840 Pro set new records in the importing pictures and starting applications tests with some seriously impressive results, and its gaming performance was also great, coming a fraction of a MB/s away from taking the number one spot away from Kingston's HyperX 3K. However, the drive tripped up on PCmark 7's video editing test as it fell behind SandForce drives.
Unfortunately, we were not supplied with a copy of the new Magician 4.0 software so we were unable to test the over-provisioning feature. This feature is meant to give users more control over their SSD by allowing them to allocate between 7 and 24% of the drive's storage to maintenance functions that boost speed. We will test the impact this software has on the 840 Pro's performance as soon as possible.
As important as performance is, reliability has become a large concern for new SSDs, and Samsung has excelled here. Our 470 sample never caused us any problems while the 830 sample is still in commission today after seeing prolonged heavy usage. Based on our experience and the fact that the 840 Pro's controller is similar to the 830's, the newcomer should be as reliable as its predecessors have been.
The new SSD 840 Pro series is priced slightly higher than existing 830 drives with the 64GB model fetching $100, the 128GB model $150 and the 256GB model $270. Meanwhile the largest model being the 512GB which we tested costs $600 and that works out to be $1.17 per gigabyte. When compared to the OCZ Vertex 4 which costs just $400 for the 512GB model we're not sure how we feel about Samsung’s pricing considering the stiff competition from OCZ and others.
The 840 Pro is another solid offering from Samsung. If the odd hiccup we recorded in our program copy test is addressed with a firmware update, the 840 Pro will be nearly flawless. Between its impressive overall performance, the potential boost from Magician 4.0, and Samsung's reputation for reliability, the 840 Pro could become the market's top enthusiast drive. Now let's hope it isn't priced into oblivion.
Pros: The SSD 840 Pro performed at the top of near to top of our tests in repeated ocassions. Write speeds of compressed files are simply staggering. Samsung's reliability record is a big plus in our book.
Cons: There were the odd ocassions where the drive performed well behind its predecessor, we hope this can at least be partially fixed via firmware update. Initial price points are a mixed bag.