titleIn the beginning, there were platter hard drives. They would spend their lives spinning away into a data driven oblivion. Google has even authored a study on hard drives, and their reliability. For awhile, there were drives called RAM drives. They would use some of your system memory as a temporary hard drive (temporary because they were volatile) as a means to store and access data. This process was very quick. Recently, solid state hard drives (like a RAM drive, but not really) have become popular. They access data very quickly, and although they are small in size, they do pack quite a punch. Today we will be looking at the Samsung 830 Series SATA 6Gb/s drive (128GB capacity). How does it compare to other SSDs on the market, and does its performance warrant installation in your PC? Read on to find out!

Product Name: Samsung 830 Series SSD (128GB)

Review Sample Provided By: Samsung

Words By: Chad

Pictures By: Wes

 

Specifications

 

 

Product Type

Solid State Drive with Notebook Upgrade Kit SATA – SATA III (6Gb/s)

Design

2.5" 7mm (Ultraslim) Form Factor

Series

830

Capacity

128GB

Sequential Read Speed

520MB/s

Sequential Write Speed

320MB/s

Random Read Speed

80K IOPS

Random Write Speed

30K IOPS

Power Consumption (W)

.15W

Voltage

5V ± 5%

Operating Systems Compatible

Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Vista, XP, MAC OSX, Linux

Operating Temperature

32F to 140F

Weight

.13 lbs.

Warranty

3 Years

Product Contents

Drive, USB to SATA Cable, Drive Spacer for 9.5mm drive bays, Norton Ghost 15, SSD Magician 3.0, Documentation

 


Packaging

Many hardware packages come in what I would describe as "Apple Styling", and this hard drive is no different. Sure the coloring is different, but when you open the top of the box you are presented with the hard drive, looking right back up at you. It is interesting when you remove the drive from the plastic; there is a black plastic "riser" beneath it. This drive is thinner than many SSDs on the market, and the riser is there to keep the top of the drive flush with the plastic tray (instead of engineering a new plastic tray).

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There is the obligatory inclusion of software, including a surprise (not really a surprise, because it is written on the box) Norton Ghost software. Very nice.

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Lacking is the inclusion of a SATA cable. For an enthusiast (and this is an enthusiast site) that is not a big deal, since your motherboard probably came with a plethora of these cables, but from a standard consumer retail point of view, I tend to dislike drives that do not come with cables to hook them up.

But then, if you dig deeper into the drive box and you uncover a cable that you do not normally see included with an internal hard drive and that is a USB to SATA bridge to make this drive an external drive! That is a very cool addition, and would be made even better if it was actually a USB 3.0 cable instead of a 2.0 cable.

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There is also one other thing about this drive that really does need to be noted, and that is that this drive is tiny! Yes, all SSDs are small drives, but this one is about half of the size of a regular SSD.

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This above picture shows the Samsung SSD on top compared to a "normal" SSD sive on the bottom.


Performance

Alright, so you've seen an SSD before. While yes, the design of this drive is of particular interest due to its size, you are definitely more interested in the performance of this drive. On the official LanOC test bench, the following results were obtained.

wm aida64

Throughout the testing, there is a trend with this drive, and that is its fast. It has the fastest average access time, and it blitzes previous drives in read speed. This is because the Samsung is a SATA 3 drive being put against previous generation SATA 2 SSD's along with hard drives. 

wm asssd

The AS SSD results were also similarly impressive. This drive clearly outperforms the competition in this test as well. Being a SATA 3 SSD really pays off up against those 1st and 2nd gen SSD's. I'm really impressive to see how far we have come along in the last few years. 

wm cdmread

Our read speeds here show good sequential results. With a read speed up into the 500MB/s the Samsung drive is comparable to any of the top performing SATA 3 drives on the market. Of course when going against first and second gen SSD's like on our test you can see just how far along we have come. 

wm cdmwrite

Most drives take more time to write than to read, and when it comes to writing data with the CrystalDiskMark test, the Samsung drive leads in our limited test batch in every segment EXCEPT the 4K QD32 test. Lacking in performance in the 4K QD32 benchmark shows that the drive struggles with native queuing, something that will most likely show even more in our IOMeter results. In fact, when it comes to data writing, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe provides excellent competition to the Samsung drive. Considering the Mushkin drive is a last gen SATA 2 drive I'm not all that impressed with the Samsungs write performance. 

wm iometer

Considering the speeds we saw on our other benchmarks the difference between the SATA 3 Samsung and the SATA 2 Mushkin drive isn't very large. Although the Samsung drive has good performance, its obvious that if put against a few other SATA 3 drives that this graph would look very different. 


Performance Summary

As I am sure you have figured out, this drive is FAST. Heck, all solid state drives are fast compared to the spinning drives found in most machines. I was turned on to an SSD when I loaded (a slow by today's comparison) Intel 320 Series SSD into my iMac. Normally after the memory check/BIOS screen, I would have to wait several seconds for the desktop to load, and then an additional time for the desktop programs to load; with the SSD that was no longer necessary. After the memory test, the computer would be at a fully operational desktop with all my applications loaded and ready to go.

So why compare the speeds of SSDs when they are all noticeably faster than the spinning drives of "yesteryear"? You could argue that SSD speed does not affect gameplay at all, since once a game is loaded into memory hard drive reads/writes become minimal. However, there is a practical application for a fast SSD, besides a boot disk, and that is professional work in a program like Photoshop or Premiere. Using a SSD in those situations can seriously affect render time and make great scratch disks.

If you are the guy though that must have the fastest; the latest and greatest; this Samsung SSD is definitely something to look at. Again, as I mentioned, it is quite fast.


Summary and Final Verdict

This drive, as tested in 128GB form, comes with a MSRP of $229.99 (although it can be found much cheaper online). It is a modest price to pay for the amount of performance you will receive from this drive.  All of the benchmarking has shown that this drive is deliciously quick, and if you must have that in your life, then it is a small price to pay for that level of performance.

I also really like the drive for its size. I am going to be going through the process of building an extremely portable gaming rig, and if you use a case like the LianLi TU200, you are going to want ever millimeter of space you can salvage In that type of case. Yes, this drive is not THAT much smaller, but it is enough for you to notice and may make the difference if you are trying to ram this drive into a tight space. In some cases with extremely thin laptops a thin drive like this is your only option too. At Least its blazing fast or I would have to complain. 

I will let you on to a little secret that you probably already know. Yes, this drive carries a high MSRP, but if you like to buy things from Amazon this drive can be had for significantly less money at $149.99.  That price is extremely competitive for what you get with this drive.

I previously mentioned "secret sauce" from Samsung, and while there is no such thing, since Samsung controls the entire process of this drive (from the chips to the manufacturing) they can optimize and create a drive that truly performs as well as can be expected. Exceptional onboard caching combined with component-level optimization really makes this drive a good performer and one that should be taken seriously. Perhaps, it should even end up in my build?

fv2recomended

 

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #25750 15 Jun 2012 17:34
A look at a Samsung SATA 3 ssd. Sorry we didn't have better drives to put it up against. I'm going to fill in our database with a few drives I have around here for our next SSD review to give you guys a better idea of performance.

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