Although it had a somewhat complicated birth, the Samsung 840 Pro Series is a very fast SSD. Unlike its 840 Series sibling, the Pro offers strong write performance to go along with its wicked-fast read speeds. The drive performs well with both random and sequential I/O, and the latest firmware seems to be devoid of performance pitfalls. You'll definitely want to flash the latest DXM04B0Q release. The new firmware's tweaked TRIM implementation improves the drive's used-state performance appreciably.
Samsung's Magician utility makes firmware upgrades easy, and the free data migration software should be particularly useful for upgraders. The Assassin's Creed III bundle is a nice addition, too, albeit one whose appeal is largely limited to gamers and people who flip download codes on eBay. Given how much SSDs can speed up level load times, I suspect a lot of gamers are shopping for solid-state storage these days.
The thing is, I'm not sure how many of them are going to be willing to shell out $270 for the 840 Pro Series 256GB. Similarly sized SSDs are available for closer to $200, and while they may not match the 840 Pro in all our benchmarks, they should feel every bit as fast in the real world. For most desktop tasks, the performance differences between mid-range and high-end SSDs are relatively small.
Some users will always want the fastest drive on the block, and the 840 Pro certainly comes with more bragging rights than a mid-range drive. That said, some of its competitors offer better performance in certain scenarios. The 840 Pro isn't a clear-cut favorite like its 830 Series predecessor was.
Samsung does use a smaller fabrication process to manufacture the 840 family's NAND, and that should give the firm more flexibility to lower prices. The presence of the 840 Series may prevent the Pro from dipping as low as the 830 Series did in its final months on the market, though. Right now, the 840 Pro commands a 50% premium over its standard 840 Series sibling, neatly segmenting the two drives.
Given the vanilla 840 Series' slower write performance and the lower endurance of its TLC flash chips, I'd lean toward shelling out the extra cash for the Pro model. Certainly, the 840 Pro should be on the short list for anyone shopping for a high-end SSD. Samsung has an excellent reliability reputation, and the drive's five-year warranty is a nice perk. Throw in Assassin's Creed III, and you've got an appealing package overall.
95 comments — Last by travbrad at 2:33 PM on 01/13/13
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