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Conclusions
The Samsung 830 Series has a whole lot going for it. In addition to offering the best overall performance of any SSD we've tested, the drive comes in a slim form factor, includes a copy of Batman: Arkham City, and is backed by a company whose SSD history appears largely devoid of serious issues. Given those perks, one might expect the 830 Series to be priced at a premium—but it's not. The 256GB model can be had for just $360, while the 128GB and 64GB flavors sell for $220 and $110, respectively.

To be fair, the 64GB and 128GB variants cost a little more per gigabyte than their higher-capacity siblings. Based on Samsung's performance ratings and the results of our latest look at SSD scaling, those lower-capacity models will also be slower than the 256GB one we tested. I'm optimistic about their chances versus like-sized rivals due to the 256GB drive's strong overall showing, though.

I'd like to speculate more about how the 64GB and 128GB models might fare, but that's difficult to do without more information on their die configurations and Samsung's MCX controller. Based on the high number of NAND dies in the 256GB drive, I suspect the Samsung 830 Series is particularly dependent on die-level parallelism to achieve peak performance. We'll have to see about getting some smaller versions of the drive into the Benchmarking Sweatshop for testing.

Looking back over the results we do have, it's clear that Samsung has put together a well-rounded SSD. The 830 Series tends to perform comparatively better with larger files than it does with smaller ones, and it seems to need multiple concurrent I/O requests to really ramp up performance with random I/O. That said, the drive scored highly in nearly every one of our tests. The only glaring weakness? High power consumption under a demanding IOMeter load that's much more strenuous than anything notebook users are likely to throw at their SSDs.

Samsung 830 Series 256GB
February 2012

If it's not obvious already, the Samsung 830 Series is taking home an Editor's Choice award. We can only single out the specific model we've tested, but that's really the best one of the bunch. The 256GB version boasts not only the best performance in the family, but also the lowest—and most competitive—cost per gigabyte. If you're in the market for a high-capacity SSD, the Samsung 830 Series should be at the very top of your list.TR

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