Articles: Storage

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Testbed and Methods

We test SSDs on a special testbed based on a mainboard with Intel H77 chipset. The latter has two SATA 6 Gbit/s ports and we connect the tested drives to one of these ports.

Since this review covers an SSD which claims to deliver high performance at an affordable price, we want to pit it against a number of popular SSDs of different classes. Of course, we will also compare the Samsung 840 EVO with its predecessors Samsung 840 Pro and Samsung 840 which are based on the previous-generation Samsung MDX controller and use Samsung’s own 21nm MLC and TLC flash memory.

Besides the three SSDs from Samsung, we will have a Seagate 600 (with LAMD LM87800 controller), Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme, Crucial M500 and SanDisk Extreme II (with Marvell’s flagship 88SS9187 controller), Plextor M5S (with Marvell 88SS9174 controller), Intel 530 (with the good old SandForce SF-2281 controller), and OCZ Vector 150 (representing the proprietary Indilinx Barefoot 3 platform). The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme, SanDisk Extreme II, OCZ Vector 150 and Seagate 600 are equipped with 19nm MLC NAND from Toshiba/SanDisk. The Plextor M5S uses 25nm flash memory from Micron, the Samsung 840 Pro is based on Samsung’s own 21nm MLC flash, and the Intel 530 features Intel’s 20nm MLC NAND flash. The Crucial M500 is equipped with Micron’s new 20nm flash with 128-gigabit cores and 16KB memory pages.

The tested SSDs have similar storage capacities (240/250/256 GB).

Here is a list of all hardware components we will use in this test session:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3470S (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 2.9 GHz, EIST and Turbo Boost disabled)
  • Mainboard: Intel DH77DF (BIOS 0108)
  • System memory: 2x2GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM (9-9-9-24-1T)
  • System disk: Crucial m4 256GB (CT256M4SSD2)
  • Tested SSDs:
    • Crucial M500 240GB (CT240M500SSD1, firmware MU03)
    • Intel SSD 530 240GB (SSDSC2BW240A4, firmware DC32)
    • OCZ Vector 150 240GB (VTR150-25SAT3-240G, firmware 1.2)
    • Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB (PX-256M5P, firmware 1.06)
    • Plextor M5S 256GB (PX-256M5S, firmware 1.05)
    • Samsung 840 Pro 256GB (MZ-7PD256, firmware DXM05B0Q)
    • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB (MZ-7TE250, firmware EXT0BB6Q)
    • Samsung 840 250GB (MZ-7TD250, firmware DXT08B0Q)
    • SanDisk Extreme II 240GB (SDSSDXP-240G, firmware R1311)
    • Seagate 600 240GB (ST240HM000, firmware C675)
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (SP1, 64-bit)


  • Intel Chipset Driver
  • Intel HD Graphics Driver
  • Intel Management Engine Driver
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology
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