Samsung's 840 Was Good; The 840 EVO Is Better
Samsung's 840 EVO will be supplanting the company's first triple-level-cell-based SSD when it surfaces next month. The 840 EVO is more than just higher-density NAND, a faster controller, and some new firmware. But it's not completely new either. Rather, we're looking at something in the middle, sporting a more advanced feature set better able to turn heads at value-oriented price points.
A controller clocked 100 MHz quicker and 19 nm flash aren't even the 840 EVO's most notable features. That honor goes to Samsung's Turbo Write technology, which it uses to effectively increase the SSD's write performance in common desktop workloads. Carving out a certain quantity of triple-level-cell NAND to operate as an SLC cache means that dedicated space should outlast the rest of the drive's flash memory many times over. Samsung is clearly confident in the technology. After all, it's protecting the 840 EVO with three-year warranty coverage.
You should be able to buy the 840 EVO in a couple of different packages. One will be the drive on its own, which allows Samsung to hit the same price point as its outgoing 840. The company is also planning a complete upgrade package to include a USB 3.0-to-SATA adapter and 9.5 mm Z-height spacer. If you plan to clone your hard drive and then use it as an external storage device, that adapter is a very handy add-on.
Samsung's Magician software is already potent. Continued development is extending its usefulness, too. The next best utility package is Intel's venerable SSD Toolbox. However, Intel isn't value-adding nearly as much functionality. While it's true that most mainstream customers won't even bother installing Samsung Magician, we know it to be invaluable for testing, updating, and optimizing our solid-state hardware. Moreover, the inclusion of RAPID and drive cloning enable capabilities you'd have to otherwise pay for separately. Here in our lab, Samsung's bundle includes the niceties and necessities we use every day for testing and maintaining benchmarking platforms.
One important feature that isn't enabled yet, but will eventually make an appearance, is higher-end data security. Once upon a time, powerful encryption wasn't a priority in the client space. But we've read enough news over the past couple of months to make FDE a more interesting prospect. Samsung is planning a firmware update for the 840 EVO will enable this.
Because we're enthusiasts and enjoy the fastest of pretty much everything, we already know that Samsung's 840 EVO isn't all things to all people. However, it's a product able to satisfy most people, armed with features that they'll both want and use. And Samsung plans to ask a price that millions of customers have already paid for vanilla 840s. With the addition of 750 GB and 1 TB models, the company's mainstream SSD family is pretty darned complete. Left with little else to ask for from an SSD, we're pleased to confer the Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award on Samsung's 840 EVO.