Is A SATA 3Gb/s Platform Still Worth Upgrading With An SSD?

Hardware And Test Setup

We're using Samsung's 840 Pro MZ-7PD256 for today's testing, based on the company's own SATA 6Gb/s-capable S4LN021X01-8030 NZWD1 (internally known as MDX) controller, sporting a triple-core Cortex-R4 processor. The ASIC is complemented by 512 MB of DDR2 data cache. There are also non-Pro models out there with triple-level cell memory that's neither as fast nor as robust as the 21 nm MLC NAND found in the higher-end drive family. Samsung covers its 840 Pro with a five-year warranty.

Samsung specs the 840 Pro for up to 540 MB/s sequential reads and 520 MB/s sequential writes. It's supposed to achieve 100,000 random 4 KB read IOPS. And, right now, the 256 GB model we're using sells for about $230 on Amazon. You can also find 128 and 512 GB models of this drive, which run about $140 and $460, respectively.

Samsung SSD 840 Pro Technical Specifications

Model840 Pro
Model Number
Form Factor2.5" (7 mm)
Capacity256 GB
Flash Type21 nm MLC Toggle-mode NAND
Cache512 MB
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
In The Box
Samsung Magician Software

Benchmark System and Software

We used our Windows 7-based benchmark system with Gigabyte's Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard, an Intel Core i5-2500K CPU, and 4 GB of Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D RAM. The SSD was connected to the first 6 Gb/s port, and we were able to throttle the port to 3 Gb/s in Gigabyte's firmware.

As a basis for comparison, we also added Western Digital's VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ hard drive. The 1 TB VelociRaptor is a 2.5” drive in a 3.5” format. It’s the fastest disk we’ve ever benchmarked due to its 10,000 RPM spindle and 2.5” platters. Its I/O performance is higher than that of any competing hard drive.

Benchmark System Hardware
Intel Core i5-2500K (32 nm, Sandy Bridge, D2), 4C/4T, 3.3 GHz, 4 x 256 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache, w/ HD Graphics 3000, 95 W TDP, 3.7 GHz max. Turbo Boost
MotherboardGigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3, Revision: 0.2
Chipset: Intel Z68 Express, BIOS: F3
Memory2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D
SSD System Drive
Intel X25-M G1, 80 GB, Firmware 0701, SATA 3 Gb/s
ControllerIntel PCH Z68 SATA 6Gb/s
Power Supply
Seasonic X-760 760 W, SS-760KM Active PFC F3
General Performance
h2benchw 3.16
PCMark 7 1.0.4
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2006.07.27
Streaming Reads
Streaming Writes
4K Random Reads
4K Random Writes
Benchmark System Software and Drivers
Software / DriverDetails
Operating System
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1
Intel Inf9.2.0.1030
Intel Rapid Storage 10