Samsung hit a full terabyte of solid state storage with their 840 Evo SSD

Dave James

Remember me going on about how Crucial had made the SSD market a bit tasty recently? Well, Samsung are not the kind of folk to be outdone and today announced the Samsung 840 Evo series. What's so special? Well, again we're talking about capacities and Samsung have hit the 1TB mark with the top drive in the new Evo range.

But Sammy drives are generally pricier than the competition, so it's still a win for Crucial, right? That's the interesting part, with the extra capacity in the 1TB 840 Evo against the 960GB M500 they both come in around the same price/GB. Yup, at $649.99, the 1TB Evo is coming in somewhere around 50p/65¢ per GB too.

But it's also going to be a hell of a lot faster in general usage too. In my preliminary tests I was seeing a doubling of random 4K reads and writes compared to the Samsung 840 Pro. And that's without using any of the Evo's funky new software gubbins.

The fact they're competitive on price at all is impressive, but given Samsung produce the entire drive themselves - from 19nm Toggle 3-bit MLC NAND to the new MEX memory controller - it shouldn't really come as a surprise.

The 3-bit MLC Flash helps make the difference here, offering higher density SSDs without the hefty price premium of the more robust 2-bit MLC they use in the 840 Pro series. It does mean you're not getting the Pro's 5 year warranty though as the Evo range is a direct replacement for the standard 840 SSDs and their 3 year warranty. The 840 Evo range also debuts a new capacity in the 750GB drive, itself retailing for only a little more than Samsung's 512GB 840 Pro, but with a good chunk more space.

It's not just about the hardware. Samsung have made an effort to boost their software offering too, with an improved, simplified data migration application to clone your existing boot drive onto your new SSD and some impressive caching software too. The new RAPID mode software uses spare CPU and RAM resources to intelligently manage data operations. Effectively it pairs up with Windows' existing caching algorithms, smartening them up so recent files and oft-used data gets tagged as 'hot' and shifts a lot faster.

For me Football Manager and Kerbal Space Program would be taking up most of the 'hot' zone, but any games you regularly use should be persistently sped up. They showed me some impressive demo figures, but I'm going to wait and see how the software, available at launch, will stack up before getting too excited.

Sadly it's a proprietary application so it'll only be available for the Samsung 840 Evo, though they will be upgrading the 840 Pro drives to use it too. Everyone else will still be SATA 6Gbps limited.

The Samsung 840 Evo range will debut next month and in the meantime I'm going to get back to testing 'em.

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