Articles: Storage

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We have to start all of our recent reviews of solid state drives with words about this market having lost its momentum and SSD makers having ceased to innovate. A number of small and dynamic firms have left after the semiconductor giants, being also the leading manufacturers of NAND flash memory, have taken up SSD business. And it is those small players that used to be the most instrumental in steadily pushing up the performance bar of consumer-class SSDs. Now that the market is dominated by Intel, Micron, Samsung and Toshiba with their huge shipment volumes, the speed race has transformed into a price war.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong about that from the end-user's point of view. SSDs have really got cheaper lately. But enthusiasts who build top-performance computers don't like this state of things. Fortunately, from among numerous SSDs with average performance specs we can still pick up a few products with unique properties. They are offered by Samsung which, besides optimizing the cost efficiency of its products, tries to make them superior in terms of pure speed.

Samsung seems to have plans on dominating the whole SSD market. The company took up this business later than its main competitors, so now it has to catch up through marketing and innovation. Samsung has been quite successful at that. Its SSDs are already among the most attractive products in terms of speed as well as price/performance ratio. There are two key factors to this success. First of all, Samsung has proprietary controllers which feature an ingenious architecture and high performance and keep on being perfected. And second, Samsung is a manufacturer of high-quality, cutting-edge and cost-efficient NAND flash memory.

We’re already familiar with Samsung’s 840 Pro and 840 SSDs which earned Samsung its good reputation among different categories of users. Based on a progressive 3-core MDX controller, the 840 Pro model delivered record-breaking performance whereas the 840 model with 3-bit TLC NAND flash memory is a not-very-fast but very cost-efficient SSD which is also highly reliable in terms of everyday use.

Samsung might have enjoyed high sales even with these models but the company decided to move on and combine the best properties of the two in a single product. To produce a fast and inexpensive SSD, Samsung took a revised version of the fast controller and 3-bit memory, adding a number of sophisticated technologies to mask the weak aspects of TLC NAND flash. The result is the Samsung 840 EVO drive which features most impressive specifications. In this review we will check out the 250GB version of the drive and see if Samsung has come up with a real bestseller. Interestingly, the first TLC-based drive, Samsung 840, enjoyed up to 20% of the retail SSD market at one moment. The new 840 EVO claims to be even better. So let's see if it leaves any chance to its opponents.

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