Over the past year, the SSD product landscape has changed drastically. Performance has gone up, prices have dropped, and new competitors have emerged in the market place. One company that has been around through this and more is Samsung. While it's not the biggest consumer brand for SSDs, Samsung has a big presence in the industry. As a long term supplier of SSDs to Apple, Dell, and HP; Samsung has had a lot of experience building and designing SSDs. Today we'll be looking at one of Samsung's consumer oriented SSDs, the 256GB 830 series, to see how it compares.
|Design (Form Factor)||2.5" with 7mm height|
|Sequential Speed (R/W)||520/400 MB/s|
|Random Speed (R/W)||80/36 k IOPS|
|Additional Package Contents||Samsung SSD Magician, Norton Ghost 15|
Samsung's 830 is a unique looking product in the quickly growing solid state drive market. Like its fully internally sourced components, the external design is custom and looks nothing like its competitors. The top is comprised of a thin plate of brushed aluminum, with the rest of the body plastic. The 830 SSD looks sleek, fitting well in Samsung's corporate style book with other product lines like ultra-thin bezel flat screen TVs.
The 830 is a thin drive with a 7mm height for the 2.5" form factor. There is no 9.5" height adapter included. Two screw mounting holes can be found on either long side of the 830 (commonly used for notebooks).
The bottom of the 830 is comes with a sticker with the drive's details and identifiers. There are four mounting screw holes on the bottom of the drive (commonly used fot desktop computer cases).
With most of the SSDs we've reviewed, screws are used to hold together the components of the drive. Samsung chose to go the route of a snap-together enclosure. This probably saves a little bit of money per drive, but as you can see looking at our drive, we broke many of the plastic clips when taking apart our sample drive. Most owners shouldn't be taking apart their drives anyway, as it is a warranty voiding action. The gray pad on one of the sides of the enclosure is a thermal pad, and it makes contact with all of the chips within the 830, conducting head to the enclosure itself.
There are three main types of ICs on the circuit-board of the 830 SSD: the cache, controller and NAND. It's no surprise that all are sourced from Samsung. Unlike the drives using the popular LSI SandForce controller, Samsung's design requires the use of external cache, and thus the 830 comes with a 256MB DDR2 module. The NAND modules used are 2x-nm toggle modules of 16GB each. Samsung designed it's own NAND controller that's used in the 830, and it features 3 cores based on the ARM9 architecture.
Samsung offers a 3 year warranty on the 830, which is in line with what most other manufacturers offer on their drives. Registering your drive with them nets an additional 3 months of warranty coverage. Software wise, Samsung bundles the 830 with a license of Norton Ghost and their SSD Magician tool. The main unique functions of SSD Magician specific to Samsung SSDs are the ability to change overprovisioning settings and a firmware updating utility.