Samsung SSD 840 Pro (256GB) - Here Comes Big Daddy

Launch SRP: S$399


Vertically Integrated

With a full-year profit of US$26.4 billion on revenue of US$183.5 billion, there’s no doubt that Samsung Electronics is one of the biggest and most successful IT companies in the world presently. In fact, it won’t be superfluous to say that Samsung is one of, if not the major, driving force behind South Korea’s rapid growth in the past couple of decades.

Today, Samsung Electronics holds a couple of records. It is the world’s largest mobile phone maker, world’s largest television manufacturer (a record held since 2006), world’s largest manufacturer of LCD panels (since 2005), it has the largest marketshare in memory chips, and it is also the world’s second-largest semiconductor chip maker (after Intel).

With its wide and far-reaching business, Samsung is uniquely placed in the storage industry because it is one of the few manufacturers that makes its own memory chips. This means it has unrestricted access to the best chips it makes. And as we all know, the quality of memory chips can make or break a drive.

The Samsung SSD 840 Pro rides into battle on a wave of widespread critical acclaim. It will be interesting to see how it fares in our labs.

Furthermore, with the its immense resources, Samsung is able to develop its own controller and firmware, thus giving it complete and total control over its drives. Few companies have the ability to do this, even mighty Intel has to rely on a third-party controller for its flagship SSD 520 Series drives. And while OCZ’s new Vector drives have an in-house developed controller and firmware, the memory chips are in fact sourced from IMFT (Intel). Samsung, therefore, one of the few truly vertically integrated SSD manufactuers.

The Samsung SSD 840 Pro is the company’s flagship series of drives and uses a new MDX controller and also Samsung all-new 21nm MLC NAND chips. The MDX controller is Samsung’s fourth-generation SSD controller and boasts three ARM Cortex R4 cores running at 300MHz and is paired with a generous 512MB of DRAM. The amount of DRAM is double that of the older Samsung SSD 830 drives and is more in-line with other high-end drives from competitors these days. The SSD 840 Pro will be offered in three capacities: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. For this article, we'll be evaluating the 256GB edition.

Here's a closer look at the drive. Note that the drive comes with no accessories.

Usually, we tear open the drives to take a look at the components inside, but the Samsung SSD 840 Pro uses this unusual pentalobe screws that we were unable to find a suitable driver for.

As a befits an SSD for its stature and billing, the SSD 840 Pro uses the latest SATA 6Gbps interface for the quickest possible transfers.

The Samsung Magician software lets you optimize your drive, check its status and update its firmware.

The Good
Blistering performance on AS SSD, CrystalDiskMark and Iometer
Intuitive and useful Samsung Magician control panel
Completely in-house developed (memory, controller and firmware)
The Bad
Inconsistent performance
No accessories such as installation bracket
Commands considerable premium over other high-end SSDs

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