Samsung Goes 6 Gb/s: Is The 830-Series SSD King Of The Hill?

Samsung's 830 is a late entry to the 6 Gb/s SSD market, but the company claims impressive performance. Can it unseat the incumbent SandForce-based drives? Let's just say this new offering shakes up the SSD world in a major way. Other vendors, beware.

Despite the number of different companies selling an even more expansive list of SSD brands, you really have to boil solid-state storage down into controllers, NAND flash, and firmware. Of course, it's the controller that defines most of a drive's performance attributes and features. More often than not, comparing SSDs based on the same controller hardware yields minimal deviation. We only needed to compare OCZ’s Agility 3 to Corsair’s Force 3 in our recent second-gen SandForce round-up for proof.

Samsung 830 Series SSDSamsung 830 Series SSD

If a controller is an SSD’s real foundation, then we're principally looking at a battle between a handful of different companies and their technologies. However, only SandForce and Marvell are currently shipping 6 Gb/s-capable controllers. Remember that Intel leans on Marvell's silicon for its SSD 510, and not its own proprietary design.

Samsung 830
64 GB
128 GB
256 GB
512 GB
Interface
SATA 6Gb/s
SATA 6Gb/sSATA 6Gb/sSATA 6Gb/s
4 KB Random Read
75 000 IOPS
80 000 IOPS80 000 IOPS80 000 IOPS
4 KB Random Write
16 000 IOPS
30 000 IOPS36 000 IOPS36 000 IOPS
128 KB Sequential Read
520 MB/s520 MB/s520 MB/s520 MB/s
128 KB Sequential Write
160 MB/s
320 MB/s400 MB/s400 MB/s


Samsung is showing up a little late to this battle with its 830-series SSD. However, those specs it's citing (above) are downright impressive. Across all capacities, we’re looking at sequential read speeds of 520 MB/s and writes as high as 400 MB/s on the 256 and 512 GB models.

Samsung 470 and 830 SSDsSamsung 470 and 830 SSDs

This puts the 830-series in the same league as SandForce's second-gen controllers. Perhaps the most significant difference, however, is that Samsung's logic doesn't depend on compression technology, whereas SandForce's DuraWrite "optimizes the number of program cycles to the flash" with the purpose of extending write endurance. As a caveat, however, incompressible data doesn't enjoy the architecture's peak performance (which is, of course, what drive vendors like to cite in their spec sheets).

By delivering its performance without a suite of marketing terminology, Samsung is forced to use higher-quality NAND to deliver the same level of write endurance. However, its 830-series should also be more consistent. Fortunately, Samsung is one of the only companies able to leverage its own controller, its own firmware, and its own flash memory in the same device, giving it a substantial cost advantage over companies that have to buy third-party controllers, someone else's NAND, and modify a reference firmware.

Brand
Crucial
OCZ
Samsung
Model
m4
Vertex 3
830
Data Rate
6 Gb/s
6 Gb/s6 Gb/s
Capacity
128 GB
120 GB
128 GB
MSRP
*subject to change
$225
$230
$250
Price per GB
$1.75
$1.92
$1.95


If that’s not enough to shake up the SSD scene, the prices Samsung says to expect its 830-series drives to sell for should give the company's competitors a reason to take notice. We're told that the 128 GB 830-series drive should sell for $250. That’s a little under $2 per GB (right in line with OCZ's 120 GB Vertex 3).

Samsung is withholding pricing information for the full product line, but prices should be similar to the 470-series, which the 830 is expected to replace.

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44 comments
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    Top Comments
  • pbrigido
    With all of these fast SSDs coming to market, I can only hope that the competition starts to drive down prices soon.
    20
  • kikireeki
    When will we be seeing articles like: SSD price slashed 50%?
    20
  • Other Comments
  • pbrigido
    With all of these fast SSDs coming to market, I can only hope that the competition starts to drive down prices soon.
    20
  • Anonymous
    I still opt for the M4 in all the enthusiast builds I do!

    It boils down to reliability, not one hiccup on M4 yet (or any crucial drive Ive installed), 4/5 Sandforce drives I have installed have had some form of callback problem to resolve once deployed, mostly requiring firmware updates, but a few failed drives as well!

    Mind you, still better than the early Corsair force Series I used, every single one failed! Stopped using them quick!

    Am tempted by OCZ, once they have reliability on their side I will give them a go again!
    0
  • Anonymous
    Would love to see an article addressing Sandforce controller problems people have been experiencing.
    0
  • mark_hamill
    Would love to see an article addressing Sandforce controller problems people have been experiencing.
    6
  • JamesSneed
    Looks like a really nice SSD. Samsung has one of the best validation proceses along with Intel and Crucial so I really don't expect people to have issues like they do with OCZ drives. Now the real question how much will it be on the egg?

    I saw this quote below in the summary and laughed as nobody in there right mind would use a basic MLC drive in a database server. So Samsung tuned the drive for what it will be used in ,desktops, good.
    "Although we'd probably think twice before picking this as our first choice for a database server, it does just fine in an enthusiast's machine."
    3
  • kikireeki
    When will we be seeing articles like: SSD price slashed 50%?
    20
  • JohnnyLucky
    great review. now we just have to wait and see how the ssd will hold up over the long haul. If it is anything like the 470, then it should be problem free.
    -1
  • alikum
    Make it $1 per GB at least
    0
  • beenthere
    We'll see how this series of Samsung SSDs fair. The previous gen was a nightmare of problems so I don't think Samsung's validation process is any better that the rest of the SSD suppliers - which is sad when Samsung controls everything including NAND production. It's amazing that we still have SSDs NOT readt for Prime Time.
    -3
  • AppleBlowsDonkeyBalls
    beenthereWe'll see how this series of Samsung SSDs fair. The previous gen was a nightmare of problems so I don't think Samsung's validation process is any better that the rest of the SSD suppliers - which is sad when Samsung controls everything including NAND production. It's amazing that we still have SSDs NOT readt for Prime Time.


    Proof? I think you just pulled this out of your ass or from someone's that told you some story. The 470 series was VERY reliable.
    2
  • Kamab
    I've stuck with Intel and crucial drives on rigs that I had any decision on, but it's always nice to see a little competition. I expect prices will continue to drop pretty linearly over the next few years.
    0
  • David 617
    ahh, its always refreshing to see a newer and faster SSD.
    0
  • yurim
    What is the physical height of the drive, is it 7 or 9.5 mm? I want to know if it will fit in a ThinkPad x200.
    0
  • acku
    yurimWhat is the physical height of the drive, is it 7 or 9.5 mm? I want to know if it will fit in a ThinkPad x200.


    7mm but it comes with a spacer to fit 9.5mm
    0
  • belardo
    Performance matters, but reliability over-rules that.

    Even today, I would NOT use OCZ drives on any computer. Yeah, they are generally the fastest drives on the market, but I'd rather get an intel, even an M2-X25. The return rates for ALL drives, other than intel... are bad. Samsung is worst in performances and tools. But this new drive... we'll have to see over time.
    -2
  • cmartin011
    Another two years before we meet dollar 1gb range for high performance ssd
    0
  • ikyung
    belardoPerformance matters, but reliability over-rules that.Even today, I would NOT use OCZ drives on any computer. Yeah, they are generally the fastest drives on the market, but I'd rather get an intel, even an M2-X25. The return rates for ALL drives, other than intel... are bad. Samsung is worst in performances and tools. But this new drive... we'll have to see over time.

    Really? Hmm, this is the first time I heard something negative about the 470series SSD. Everytime I read a SSD article the 470series always had good reviews on solid reliability.
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    belardoPerformance matters, but reliability over-rules that.Even today, I would NOT use OCZ drives on any computer. Yeah, they are generally the fastest drives on the market, but I'd rather get an intel, even an M2-X25. The return rates for ALL drives, other than intel... are bad. Samsung is worst in performances and tools. But this new drive... we'll have to see over time.



    I have googled every which way and cannot find any references to any major problems or issues with the 470 series that is similar to what other brands have been going through.
    0
  • boletus
    I'll be watching the customer feedback on objective forums wrt reliability (certainly not mfgr-reported failure rates, which Tom's, and reality, have demonstrated to be useless). If these new Sammys can approach Intel's level of customer satisfaction, it will be a great step forward for SSD technology. If not, well just another pipe dream for those that value reliability over speed.
    -2
  • beenthere
    All you need to do is read the actual owner reviews to know that Samsung a has had a ton of problems with their SSDs, similar to the other SSD suppliers. See Newegg, Samsung, etc. for user reports. I sure hope these folks finally invest the necessary effort to correct all of these SSD issues or I'm not buying their crap.
    -2