Samsung 830 Series 128GB Solid State Drive Review

Final Thoughts
So what can we say about the Samsung 830 Series?  Well first off it is great to see Samsung building the drive completely in-house.  The 3-core MCX controller, Toggle NAND flash and the DDR2 flash chip have all been designed and built by Samsung.  This gives them full control over the drive.

When it comes to performance the drive does very well when it comes to read speeds, enough to compete with the top of the line SandForce SF-2200 based solid state drives.  We saw speeds of up to 536MB/s and they was very consistent across all of our tests.  We it came to write speeds the drive, while performed right up to specifications (320MB/s) that was not enough to compete with other SATA 6GB/s solid state drives out there.  A few things to note about the performance though.  The drive performed equally well with compressible and incompressible data.  SandForce-based drives suffer from very poor performance with incompressible data.  Also in many of our test we noticed that the drive would get up to top speed and just stay there, not fluctuating that much at all.

The drive itself is a beauty.  The brushed aluminum finish and Samsung logo look awesome.  Also it is only 7mm thick!  This makes for a very attractive drive and one that will fit in the very thin Ultrabooks.  We received the “Laptop PC” installation kit version of the drive, which came with a USB adapter for the drive and a full version of Norton Ghost.  The desktop version comes with a 3.5-inch to 2.5-inch adapter, SATA cable and SATA power cable.  Larger capacity versions of the drive also come with a free copy of Batman Arkham City.  The drive also ships with Samsung’s SSD Magician software, which is the most comprehensive and easy to use SSD software that we have seen to date.

When it comes down to it Samsung has a very reliable and attractive solid state drive that performs well, but just cannot compete with the SandForce SF-2200 crowd in terms of write speeds.  Right now you can pick the 128GB drive up at my favorite online retailer for $179.99, which is about $10-20 more than some of the SF-2200 based drives.  It is also available in 64, 256 and 512GB versions.  Overall ThinkComputers gives the Samsung 830 Series 128GB Solid State Drive an 8 out of 10 score.

Pros:
– Controller, NAND and cache chip all designed and built by Samsung
– Great read performance
– Identical performance with compressible and incompressible data
– Great software bundle
– Only 7mm thin!

Cons:
– Write speeds cannot compete with SandForce SF-2200 based drives

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