Before we get to the inside, let’s look at one aspect of the exterior – the drive thickness.
Most 2.5″ SSDs have a thickness of 9.5mm but the Samsung 830 Series comes in at 7mm (although tough to see that here). It’s thin and svelte which is nice but that may be a problem for some notebook computers that were designed for 9.5mm and no less. Just something to note should you be thinking about picking one up.
If you took a close look at the exterior you’d see one normal feature missing – screws. This drive is held together by plastic tab clips which are rather fragile. This is probably by design as a form of warranty void mechanism to implicate those guilty of cracking open the case. We had heard about this and spent the better part of a half hour trying to gently and carefully open the drive without breaking these tabs but as you can see from the above image, we failed miserably. One in a long line of voided warranties!
Finally, with the drive open, we were able to get a gander at the goods.
It’s rare for a drive of this capacity to have one side of the PCB completely devoid of NAND or other chips but this one certainly is with nary a component and a clean view of the tracers.
So, on the other side lies everything and it isn’t as crowded as you’d expect. Note the Samsung name on everything. Being a huge technology company has its perks and one is that you can fab all of your own components and control costs, quality and supply. It’s the only SSD maker we are aware of that uses no third party components.
First up is the Samsung NAND with part number K9PFGY8U7A-HCK0 which isn’t very helpful but rest assured this is 2xnm DDR toggle MLC flash supporting up to 133Mbps data transfer rates. Each package is 32GB in capacity and there are eight total on the board so that rounds out to 256GB.
This drive employs a rather large DDR2 cache to assist with operation and is 256MB in size.
Finally, the Samsung controller labeled as part number S4LJ204X01-Y040. Samsung conveyed to us that this is a triple-core ARM 9 based (note the ARM brand on the chip) processor. According to Samsung, the three cores allow the controller to simultaneously process reads, writes and optimization activities. How that translates to real world performance is up for debate and is something that benchmarks probably aren’t going to bear out. Either way, it supports the usual goodies like TRIM and idle garbage collection as well as the mundane tasks of wear-leveling and encryption.