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Samsung 840 EVO SSD: Tested At 120, 250, 500, And 1000 GB

Inside Samsung's 840 EVO

Getting into the svelte gunmetal-grey chassis is a snap, so long as you have a #5 pentalobe screwdriver handy. You'll find two screws under the label and one that's plainly visible. Don't even bother removing the label; just push the bit right through it.

There are no thermal pads, stickers, or adhesives under the cover. The drive's top, circuit board, and bottom separate as easily as oil and water.

500 GB 840 EVO circuit board

This is the 500 GB model's PCB. Samsung's 120 GB drive is actually shorter, as you can see in the side-by-side shot below. Each NAND package plays host to eight dice, except on the 120 GB drive, which uses two quad-die packages. Otherwise, each package's octet of 128 Gb Toggle-mode NAND delivers 128 GB capacity.

500 GB (left) and 120 GB (right) 840 EVO circuit boards

The MEX 400 MHz triple-core Cortex-R4-based controller is labeled S4LN045X01-B030. This new revision runs 100 MHz faster than the older 840's processor, and will also be able to apply Opal 2.0-compatible encryption, either through the drive itself or through Windows 8's BitLocker Drive Encryption, once an upcoming firmware update is certified. This is big news in the self-encrypting drive space, since there aren't many desktop drives with Opal 2.0 support yet. Naturally, this will change as competing vendors refresh their product lines.

500 GB 840 EVO, from the back

Lastly, we see the drive's LPDDR2 DRAM cache. In the picture of the 500 GB 840 EVO, it's a 512 MB package. Samsung is deploying 1 MB of cache for every gigabyte of capacity, which is fairly standard these days.