Review of the Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA

Last year we reviewed the Samsung SSD 840 PRO SSD and it was our favourite SSD. Now less than a year later Samsung have released the 840 EVO series and we have been testing the 1TB mSATA model.

Samsung has announced the entry-level SSD ‘840 EVO’ line-up with significantly higher sequential write performance. Utilizing the industry’s most compact 10nm-class 128Gb high-performance NAND, Samsung proprietary controller and Turbo Write drive, the Samsung SSD 840 EVO boasts superior performance. The Samsung SSD 840 EVO also has flexible product supply capacity, making it the most competitive device on the market today.

Compared with the 250GB 840 Series SSD, the highest selling capacity of the 840 lineup, the new 250GB 840 EVO now delivers 520MB/s sequential write speed – making it more than 2 times faster than last generation. In the case of 120GB model, the 840 EVO achieves 410MB/s sequential write speed, which is approximately 3 times as fast as that of the 120GB 840 Series SSD.

For the 1TB 840 EVO SSD, the sequential read/write performance has reached 540MB/s and 520MB/s. Furthermore, both the random read and write performance have achieved the highest level, reaching 98,000 IOPS (Input Output Operations Per Second) and 90,000 IOPS, respectively.

The Samsung SSD 840 EVO introduces two important features for data security: hardware-based AES 256bit Full Disk Encryption (FDE) and PSID. Hardware-based AES Encryption helps safeguard data against attack by encrypting all information on the disk at the hardware level, which means there is no detrimental effect on performance.

When you forget your SSD security password, PSID protects your data on the drive by executing a cryptographic erase which returns the drive to its factory status, preventing any unauthorized access to your data.

 

SSDs

Solid State Drives, or SSDs, are innovative data storage devices that deliver high performance, reliability, and quality by using NAND Flash memory instead of the magnetic disks used in traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). SSDs provide very fast PC booting and application loading speeds and perform exceptionally well in multi-tasking environments – all while consuming less power, emitting very little heat, producing no noise, and offering outstanding stability compared to conventional HDDs.

Specifications (the same for the mSATA)

Using the 840 EVO Series

The 840 EVO Series SSD is easy to install and use. It comes with Samsung’s SSD Magician software (see Final Thoughts for more on this).

Magician eliminates the confusion and uncertainties of SSD management, making it simple for users to maximize the performance and lifetime of their Samsung SSD. In addition to its performance optimization features, Magician (from the version 4.2) also provides 840 EVO users the option to enable RAPID mode (Real-time Accelerated Processing of Input-output Data) – an innovative performance enhancement that processes data on a system level by using free DRAM memory as a cache. Once enabled in Magician, RAPID mode provides an overall PC performance boost (see later for more details).

Data Migration (Cloning your old drive)

If you want to use the 840 EVO as your system drive you can either install a clean version of Windows, followed by all your software, or you can use the Samsung Data Migration software (if you purchased one of the kits – see later for more details).

The software is simple to use, you just install it and run it from within Windows.

Then you connect up the 840 EVO, and select the source drive (in my case it was the 840 PRO from last year) and then select the 840 EVO as the destination drive.

After accepting the various warnings about not being able to get your data back if you select the wrong destination you just sit back and wait. As you can see, I cloned a 238.5GB drive in just over 23 minutes, and it worked perfectly.

Performance Testing

Here is our usual suite of performance testing – all testing was conducted via a SATA III 6Gb connection.

The spec of the machine used to do the testing is as follows:

  • Windows 8 Pro, 64-bit version
  • 16GB RAM
  • Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz

Windows 8

This gave me a Primary hard disk rating of 8.1, which is the highest I have ever had this rating.

HD Tune Pro

The average Read speed was 371.3 MB/s (the 840 PRO scored 299.8 MB/s).

The average Write speed was 348.8 MB/s (the 840 PRO scored 265.3 MB/s).

File benchmarking was as follows:

CrystalDiskMark

RAPID Mode

RAPID (Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data) Mode is an innovative performance enhancement tool which processes data on the system level by utilizing free DRAM memory as cache. RAPID Mode was designed to increase the overall performance of PC, combining fastest SSD available in the market and the most advanced storage management algorithm in Magician 4.2.

RAPID Mode analyses a user’s application and data usage, optimizes the I/O for Samsung SSDs accordingly, and eliminates system performance bottlenecks.

In order to deliver the fastest and the most reliable user experience, RAPID Mode focuses on improving the random performance with low queue depth and small size data. When frequently used data (hot data) is recognized, RAPID Mode can also enhance the sequential performance as well. However, improvement on sequential performance can vary depending on user scenarios.

Enabling RAPID Mode is very simple – just launch Samsung Magician, click on RAPID Mode and then click Enable – very simple!

Because of the way RAPID Mode works it will take a while before it really shows results, and as such I can’t comment in this review if it really makes a difference, but in a few months I will take a look again.

A Closer Look

Final Thoughts

The Samsung SSD 840 EVO line-up is available in five capacities: 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB, as well as in mSATA. For this review we had the 1TB mSATA model.

The drive is fast, very fast and work’s very well indeed. In fact it is the fastest SSD I  have ever tried. There are a number of really great features with the drive too!

At the time of writing this review, Samsung had yet to release the final version of their Magician software, so the review was completed using a beta of version 4.2 but I didn’t have any problems with it at all.

I didn’t test out the full disk encryption (FDE) functionality as the motherboard I was using didn’t support it.

RAPID Mode is an interesting addition, and time will tell if it actually brings any benefit, but I certainly like the idea of it.

If you want an easier life and you want to keep all your software and settings I recommend going for one of the upgrade kits with the Data Migration software on – it is quick and works perfectly.

The warranty period on the series 840 EVO drives are 3 years in case you were wondering, but hopefully you will never need it! I have been using Samsung SSD’s for a few years now and so far I haven’t had a single problem with one.

So I cannot rate this SSD highly enough – it is fantastic! It is the best SSD I have ever tested and now is my main drive!

Prices start from £86.99 for the 120GB SSD all the way up to £509.99 for the 1TB model and should be available from today.

To learn more, visit the Samsung 840 EVO website.

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