Articles: Storage

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Although the market is overrun by new solid state drives that support the SATA 6 Gbit/s interface, there are but very few users who really need them. On the other hand, the huge army of notebook owners (and desktop users too) would be willing to upgrade their systems with SSDs that offer an appealing price/performance ratio without setting any speed records. It is for such users that Samsung offers its 470 series products which are not exactly new, yet seem to be an interesting option. That’s not only our opinion because notebook makers agree with us and install Samsung 470 series SSDs into their products. For example, Apple even puts them into its newest MacBook Air.

The success story of Samsung’s 470 series is based on Samsung’s very own second-generation S3C29MAX01 controller. It was released in response to the SandForce controllers, but while the latter are targeted at enthusiasts who don’t mind to regularly update firmware, Samsung focused on reliability.

Another factor contributing to the success of Samsung’s SSDs is Samsung’s own NAND flash memory with DDR interface. The resulting products have spectacular specs even now. For example, the 256GB model we are going to discuss today has a specified read speed up to 250 MB/s and a specified write speed up to 220 MB/s.

Closer Look at Samsung 470 Series

Samsung’s 470 series SSDs come in capacities of 64, 128 and 256 gigabytes and are specified to have a sequential read speed of 250 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 220 MB/s. The only exception is the 64GB model which has a specified write speed of 170 MB/s. Samsung notes the fact that the height of these SSDs is reduced from 9.5 to 7 millimeters, which may be important for systems with high storage density.

The Samsung S3C29MAX01 controller is a complex, multiple-chip device. It features a dedicated DRAM buffer to ensure uniform wear of NAND flash memory. The buffer is based on two 128MB DDR2-667 SDRAM chips manufactured by Samsung itself.

As we wrote above, the NAND flash memory installed in the SSD is made by Samsung, too. The chips are labeled as K9HDGD8U5M. This is 30nm MLC memory with toggle mode support. The SSD has a total of 16 chips, each with a capacity of 16 gigabytes.

The Samsung 470 series supports the TRIM command.

The service life of 1.5 million hours and the 3-year warranty should make the device appealing for consumers but these are in fact the minimum requirements for a top-brand product.

The recommended price for the 256, 128 and 64GB models is $399, $199 and $119, respectively.

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