While the Samsung 830 Series has 256GB of physical storage on board, once you make the GB to GiB conversion that is used by Windows, you wind up with 238GB available to the user. There’s 7-10% overprovisioning to assist with drive performance.
We expected good things from the 830 series since we had a very positive experience with the 470 Series earlier this year. Samsung products are well-respected in the technology world and they aren’t letting the fact that they are rather new to the consumer SSD game hold them back. With 100% of the drive fabricated and assembled by Samsung, they have full control over their product which almost always means high quality and lower costs. Especially from a company of their size.
Looking at the drive from an oblique angle, you can almost picture an LCD screen in the center, making it look very much like one of their television sets. Indeed, the drive design is in the style of their plasma and LCD TV’s which look great. On the performance end, we were very impressed again by Samsung. As we hinted at in the introduction, they’ve done a great job in putting together a SATA III SSD that competes strongly with any other SATA based drive on the market today. The specifications of 520MB/s reads and 400MB/s writes were exceeded in some of our tests and while it trails the fastest SandForce drives in the sequential writes on highly compressed data, it’s a usage scenario that rarely presents itself in the real world – especially on a consistent basis. So, it can’t be held too strongly against them. Conversely, on incompressible data, it does just as well where the SandForce drives tend to nosedive. The Samsung controller is similar to the Marvell and new Indilinx controllers with the use of a cache and consistent performance across data types. The 830 Series has a 256MB cache which is plenty big for anything you throw at it. Overall, we were impressed again by the work Samsung has done.
While the MSRP is listed as $429.99, you can find the 256GB version online for around $390 which ends up being around $1.63 per usable GB. That’s a very competitive price and should earn them some consumer love. The drives are currently packaged with a full version of Norton Ghost and a free copy of Batman: Arkham City which is a pretty sweet bundle. Don’t forget the handy adapter plate and the SSD Magician 3.0 toolbox software plus Samsung offers a three-year warranty.
Samsung already has a strong brand following in the tech industry and their hard drives have done well in the marketplace. The competition in the SSD arena is certainly heating up and it seems like every month, a new drive is released by someone who pushes the envelope just a little further and it’s not going to be long before the SATA III interface bandwidth is saturated and bottlenecking performance and we’ve seen a bit of that on sequential reads for a handful of drives. With CES just around the corner, we expect things to heat up even more and 2012 could be the year of attrition for SSD makers as supply catches up to demand and margins narrow.
Legit Bottom Line: Samsung is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of SSDs, but maybe it should be. Their 830 Series drives perform extremely well and can stand tall with the best of them.