Samsung 840 Series SSDs debut with 21-nm NAND

Samsung’s 830 Series is currently our favorite SSD. It’s well-priced, has relatively low power consumption, and offers the most well-rounded performance of any solid-state drive we’ve tested. The drive’s successor, the 840 Series, is expected to hit the market around the middle of next month. Samsung showed off the new drive, which comes in standard and Pro flavors, at an event in Seoul, Korea, today. AnandTech was on the scene and has the details.

Both members of the 840 Series family feature a new MDX controller that’s reportedly based on the same architecture as the MCX chip in the 830 Series. The big difference with the 840 Series is the NAND, which is fabbed on a 21-nm process. The 830 Series uses 27-nm NAND.

Like most SSDs, the old drive uses MLC flash with two bits per cell. That’s true for the 840 Series Pro, as well, but the standard model features TLC NAND that squeezes an extra bit into every cell. This TLC NAND is slower than the MLC stuff, according to Samsung, and its write-erase endurance should also be lower. Samsung isn’t revealing specifics about longevity, though.

The 840 Series Pro is rated for 540MB/s sequential reads and 450MB/s writes, relatively modest upgrades over the 830 Series. Random read performance is purportedly up to 100k IOps, and random write performance has more than doubled from the previous generation, to 78k IOps. The standard model is rated for 540/330MB/s with sequential transfers and 98/70k IOps with random I/O.

AnandTech’s initial review of the 840 Series Pro is positive, but we’ll reserve judgement on the drive until we can run it through our test suite. Looks like the Pro will carry a sizable premium over the standard model. The 128GB and 256GB 840 Series drives are set to sell for $110 and $200, respectively, while the Pro models are supposed to cost $150 and $270 for those capacities. Samsung will offer 512GB versions of both drives and a 64GB variant of the Pro, as well.

Comments closed
    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    So the 840 will be a less durable version of the 830 ? (same controller, cheaper nand)

      • Visigoth
      • 7 years ago

      Way to misinterpret the results. It’s way past your bedtime anyways, so go back to sleep and let the grown-ups do the talking.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        So what data do you have that 21nm TLC is more robust then 27nm MLC
        Only the 840 Pro uses the faster MLC.

        edit: My question, was a question. Open to anyone to participate in.

        Empty & insulting rhetorics is what I expect from children,
        so just for you “go stick your head in doodoo”

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6337/samsung-ssd-840-250gb-review[/url<]

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      They always claim to have a magic wand fix for the process scaling issues, but I’m guessing that yes, this will be a less durable 830. Especially the TLC version.

    • halbhh2
    • 7 years ago

    Price is still key. We put a 128GB 830 in our sandy bridge laptop, but for my desktop, I noticed that upgrading the RAM to 16GB worked very well to make loading programs speedy — they all get cached in RAM. So to put one in my desktop, it is a matter of price. I’m thinking 256GB for $80 or so, and I can see that day is coming and not long, probably in ’13.

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    That’s it. I will have an SSD by the end of this year or there will be blood. The wife has been put on notice – I told her, “well, I’ve managed to resist buying my own birthday present so that you might actually get to do it.”

    Edit: by the way, “there will be blood” and “the wife has been put on notice” were completely not meant to go together in the same breath.

      • stupido
      • 7 years ago

      LOL

      ah… the wife factor…
      mine lately is threatening to throw out my computer… 🙁 and I don’t use it as I used to…

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    Wake me up when the 840 Pro is below $1/GB.

    Seriously tho’, I think where we’re headed for the next few years is prices at, or very near to, $1/GB. The capacities will stay the same and random read/writes will keep going up. As Anand noted, we’re hitting a wall with SATA3 re: sequential performance.

    None of this is particularly exciting. I’d much prefer if they increased capacities and/or reduced prices.

    • Buzzard44
    • 7 years ago

    Eh, I’ll wait for the review. These numbers don’t particularly wow me.

    $.78/GB for a reasonably fast SSD using TLC and 21nm flash doesn’t seem like a great deal, considering there are equally fast 2x nm (where x > 1) flash drives available cheaper.

    Now, from Samsung’s point of view those numbers look really good, depending on 21nm yields.

      • swampfox
      • 7 years ago

      Also looking forward to a TR review. Anand’s review makes me excited for an 840 Pro next year when I’m rebuilding and they’re on sale. Also excited to see what OCZ has coming up.

    • fantastic
    • 7 years ago

    “It’s well-priced, has relatively low power consumption” Not compared to early SSDs. Power consumption keeps going up and up on SSDs. I have money that says OCZ or someone has been trying to put heatsinks and FANS and blinding BLUE LEDs on SSDs already. They’ll probably stick an “Xtreeeeeme!” sticker on it too.

    From your own article. “The Samsung 830 Series’ power consumption is a little on the high side.” I looked at it and decided it was a pig of an SSD. The Samsung company is usually much better with power consumption. [url<]https://techreport.com/review/22401/samsung-830-series-solid-state-drive/11[/url<]

      • BoilerGamer
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah of all places on your computer you decided to go green on the SSD? Seriously?

      Grab a pair of Samsung 1.35V Ram Samsung MV-3V4G3D/US for example that runs 1866 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.35V and you will save way more power than on “greener” SSD.

      • XDravond
      • 7 years ago

      I do think it’s pretty low though [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6328/samsung-ssd-840-pro-256gb-review[/url<] Claims 0.068W active and 0.042W idle... And so what if OZC does that you are not forced to buy it and I think that would only be a really small market that would not be something that the rest would try to much in.... Some people want performance before power others try to strike the balance and some tries minimum power usage everyone is different and you are allowed to choose by buying it or not...

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Well, nuts. If I had seen that graph I probably would have gotten the M4 for my laptop upgrade instead of the 830. It’s an older chipset that peaks at 250GB/s transfer, too…

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        These power differences make crap difference in battery life, seriously. Turn your display down if you want long battery life…

          • halbhh2
          • 7 years ago

          That’s not our experience. When you have a modern laptop with LED (and a nice little 14″ screen like ours), then an extra 3 watts at load (which is often) from our 830 *does* add up enough to make a real difference in run time.

          It is worth it. But it is a noticable decrease in run time we saw right off when the 830 went in.

            • halbhh2
            • 7 years ago

            Here’s my calculation. Our HP g4 comes with a battery that at 11 – 12 volts and 4400 maH has about 48 WH (watt hours). The advertised run time is about 6 hours originally. It was doing 5 before the change out to the 830 SSD.

            If the drive uses an extra 2.5 watts during load, we can start to estimate by considering worst case load — full load for 5 hours. That would use about 12 WHs. Out of the 40 WH or so available (assuming a typical decrease in battery capacity at this point corresponding to the 5 hour run time).

            If we take 2/3 of this value as more representative of heavy use, it is 8WH of extra power going to the 830 (than used by the original low-power 5400 Hdrive).

            Another way: typical use before the 830 SSD was about 40/5 or 8 watts. With the 830 SSD during heavy use it is using not 6 or 8 but more like 8 or 10 watts. Run time is cut by very roughly 1/4th.

            Instead of 5 hours, we get under 4 hours.

            That’s a pretty heavy hit.

            • Firestarter
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Instead of 5 hours, we get under 4 hours.[/quote<] That's assuming that your SSD is active for more than ~50% of the time, which, considering the performance and usage scenario, is pretty far fetched unless you like using your laptops as mobile workstations. My hunch is that the idle power consumption is by and large the biggest factor.

      • halbhh2
      • 7 years ago

      My wife complains that since we put the 830 (128GB) in our laptop, the battery run time is down a lot, not gradually, but a step, all at once.

      What explains it? With the link you provided — now I know!

      The fact we went from an original low-power 5400rpm drive to the power-hungry 830.

      Was it worth it, nonetheless? Yes, the speed is worth the sharp cut in battery run time.

      I’ll end up buying a high-end 9-cell battery replacement, but that is something I would have done eventually.

      I’ll just have to do it sooner. I can pay $ for speed.

        • rrr
        • 7 years ago

        Actually, since storage system is much faster with SSD, CPU load may increase, because CPU doesn’t have to wait so long for data loaded. All in all, battery life may be reduced, but amount of work to be done until it dies – increases.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      Still lower than HDDs, and not comparable to CPU/GPU power consumption.

      Stop spreading FUD.

    • CaptTomato
    • 7 years ago

    It seems to be taking forever for prices to come down and sizes to go up to and beyond 750gig.
    750 is the smallest C drive I could live with.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      I think you’re weird.

      Seriously, you have 750GB worth of stuff that can’t be moved to a second or third drive?

        • DancinJack
        • 7 years ago

        He doesn’t.

        • CaptTomato
        • 7 years ago

        I want FULLTIME SSD performance, not crappy HDD performance.

          • DeadOfKnight
          • 7 years ago

          512 should suit you fine then.

            • CaptTomato
            • 7 years ago

            I could probably live with a 512, but I feel a 750+ would really hit the spot, so “I’m a” wait for their creation and reasonable pricing….I know initially R&D and new/improved factories have to be paid for etc, but it seems like it’s taking ages for either sensible $/gig and/or larger capacities, plus it tends to defy reason that a 512 SDD could cost me $500AUD, when a AMD7970 is $400AUD.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Seriously, how would you use a ~750GB SSD? I have a 128 in my gaming PC and a 256 in my laptop and even those I don’t have filled much more than halfway. I know I’m on the lower end of the average storage requirements of people but I didn’t think my needs were that anorexic

        • CaptTomato
        • 7 years ago

        Between movies, games, recently recorded TV etc, there’s a ton of it on my C drive.
        I also notice my HDD slows down once it gets low on gigs, so I like a buffer as well, so all up, that equates to a fair chunk of gigs.

          • Sargent Duck
          • 7 years ago

          Why don’t you have a second hard drive?

          I have a 64GB SSD for my C drive for Windows/Office/other programs and all my media on older hard drives where speed isn’t an issue.

            • CaptTomato
            • 7 years ago

            I’m not interested in a half and half, plus I play modified games, so I always need grunt.

            • Farting Bob
            • 7 years ago

            Right, keep programs and games on your SSD makes sense. But Music, Movies etc do not need to be at all. A 256GB SSD coupled with a 500-1TB HDD for media seems like the best option. Everything that can take advantage of the speed offered by an SSD will have plenty of room while your multimedia files will have loads of capacity without breaking the bank.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          I can see wanting games on the SSD, but the rest of that nonsense belongs on a mechanical drive.

            • CaptTomato
            • 7 years ago

            Are you saying an SSD is no faster loading a HD movie compared to a HDD?

            • BoilerGamer
            • 7 years ago

            an HD movie is not a HD game, my 5400 rpm External HDD loads 1080p movie in 1-2 seconds, I fail to see why you need a SSD that might load it in .5 seconds.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            For the most part, yes, because your media player does not “load” an HD movie, it buffers the first chunk of it and then maintains a small running buffer ahead of the current play position. A hard drive works just dandy for this, provided you aren’t using a “green” drive or an external USB drive with an aggressive spin-down time.

            Most of your performance gains on an SSD will be achieved by having the operating system and core applications running from the SSD. Extended data storage on an auxiliary HDD is entirely practical and does not remove the benefits of running the HDD.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, considering it just streams as much as necessary as the movie plays. Even Blu Ray rips are only 40 mbit/sec, which is 5MB/sec. Your 5400RPM hard drive can do that with power to spare.

            • CaptTomato
            • 7 years ago

            Still gotta contend with WMC wtv-dvrms conversions when recording HDTV….

            • Firestarter
            • 7 years ago

            If your video transcoding is limited by storage bandwidth, then either you have dreadfully slow storage or an absolute overkill on CPU cores.

            If you put an SSD in that system and keep transcoding the movies on your HDD, your system’s responsiveness during transcoding will be like night-and-day compared to your current situation, where you have your HDD trying to write videos while also juggling your system files.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        A 128GB drive is trivial to fill anymore. 256 would be spectacular for my use.

        • waterytowers
        • 7 years ago

        I do a lot of virtualisation on my laptop and have 500GB of VMs. I haven’t used a 500GB drive in over 2 years now. I also like to have everything at my fingertips, so I have 2 x 1TB platter drives at the moment. I could live with a 750GB disk but I would have to move some of the VMs to the second drive, the software drive. I have filled the software drive with various ISOs for different software that I could use at any time.

        VMs are better when they run off a faster drive so I would prefer it if they had 1TB SSDs or larger.

        For a PC, an SSD would be purely to increase boot speed and basic software usage like Libre Office and to me that is not that important since my system runs for long periods without a restart and most software I use within a VM.

        I think I would be at the extreme usage level when it comes to disk space 🙂

          • bandannaman
          • 7 years ago

          This. I would *love* to see TR include virtualization torture tests in their disk reviews. For example, a Visual Studio development environment compiling something huge, alongside another “server” linux VM doing something disk-y, while transcoding a movie in the background on the host (or third VM).

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      Stop pirating and you’ll be fine. I could fit all my data on my M4 64GB, and there are few applications (most likely professional, like video/image edition) that cannot (maybe until some individual games like MP3 become complete space hogs). Judging by your nick, you are probably not one of them.

    • demani
    • 7 years ago

    Maybe this will also put those 830 drives on clearance like the OCZ drives have been recently.

    • iq100
    • 7 years ago

    Goff Gasior wrote>”… 840 Series Pro … features TLC NAND that squeezes an extra bit into every cell. This TLC NAND is slower than the MLC stuff

    But Goff Gasior also wrote>”… The 840 Series Pro is rated for 540MB/s sequential reads and 450MB/s writes, relatively modest upgrades over the 830 Series … Random read performance is purportedly up to 100k IOps, and random write performance has more than doubled from the previous generation, to 78k IOps …”

    Something appears to be amiss. If Samsung has replaced MLC with TLC, and “…This TLC NAND is slower than the MLC stuff …”, then how come the sequential and random tests are faster?

      • iq100
      • 7 years ago

      I guess part of the confusion is that there are two new models. The 840 uses slower TLC. The 840 Pro uses NAND. Probably Goff’s summary should have quoted new speeds for both.

        • Dissonance
        • 7 years ago

        [i<]Probably Goff's summary should have quoted new speeds for both.[/i<] It does, right after the sentence you quoted.

          • demani
          • 7 years ago

          Someone is trying to point out a mistake you didn’t make and you are trying to bring [i<]facts[/i<] into the discussion? What nerve.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      TLC is slower on a per transistor basis, but there’s a lot more of them and probably a newer controller.

      This is a mix of latency vs bandwidth vs parallel

      Parallel can help maximize bandwidth and help hide the latency.

    • BoilerGamer
    • 7 years ago

    Here is the Review on Tom’s Hardware [url<]http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/840-pro-ssd-toggle-mode-2,3302.html[/url<] They didn't give it a recommended buy because the price. From what I see you do get a decent Write speed bump but more signficantly the 4K write( email, file compression, and Web browsing) performance where Samsung 470/830 always end up dead last in comparison benchmarks have been dramatically improved. 840 Pro actually topped the chart in 4K Write.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      Thankfully 4k writes aren’t an issue for desktop users, though the price will be.

      I expect the prices on these to plummet after Samsung clears out all of the 27nm-based drives.

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    Why do all these “Gen 4” SSD’s have 75% of the Write* performance of the “Gen 3” models?

      • DancinJack
      • 7 years ago

      What is “Wire performance?”

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        Ability to say [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUjh9Id6Id8<]sh*****t[/url<] as long as possible.[NSFW]

          • DancinJack
          • 7 years ago

          hahaha. It always makes me laugh when Clay Davis does that.

          To this day I still believe it’s the best TV show ever made.

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            Nothing is better than Star Trek.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Fry: And all you had to put up with was one really annoying Star Trek fan.
            Shatner: Let’s get the hell outta here!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    $200 for a 256GB drive at MSRP. Huzzah!

    Anand’s died at the end of testing, though. Definitely want to make sure they’re stable before anyone jumps on.

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      They’ve been listed below that on Newegg for at least 4 weeks.

        • DancinJack
        • 7 years ago

        He’s referring to the 840, not the 830.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Indeed. And I’m also noting that if that’s MSRP then they should be way below that before too long. Once supply catches up to demand – they’ll probably be popular.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    I think i’ve read a paper about SSDs which talked about the ever decresing endurance brought by smaller fabrication processes. So why don’t they stick with 27nm or 34nm nodes? I mean there must be a fab process size that offers the best compromise…..why go further for diminishing returns?

    Edit
    [url=http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcseweb.ucsd.edu%2Fusers%2Fswanson%2Fpapers%2FFAST2012BleakFlash.pdf&ei=79RgUJrODI7Nsgb4p4D4DA&usg=AFQjCNEjEf-XCklM5ZnAuvBq1SOjWR-QEA<]<<<<<<<<<Click me>>>>>>>>[/url<]

      • Ryu Connor
      • 7 years ago

      Smaller nodes mean a cheaper price to for them to build, us to buy, and greater storage capacities.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t think we’ve seen improvements on storage capacity from this… like ever for SSDs.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Capacity/$ has gone up. It’s just that consumers seem to prefer lower prices instead of higher capacity. For most folks, 100-160GB range is enough, and cheaper is better

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I think it’s more like for most folks, $100-150 is all they’ll spend, and they’ll balance performance and capacity within that range.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            This would infer they’re using different chips inside to maintain the same envelope, when that’s not the case. Same models selling for less as the market gets saturated.

        • anotherengineer
        • 7 years ago

        ” cheaper price to for them to build, us to buy”

        Cheaper………well it’s all relative, if your 34nm drive is 3x the cost of a future 14nm drive, but lasts 3-4 times longer, the end price to the end user may actually end up being higher.

      • Goty
      • 7 years ago

      Drive capacity and price. If you want bigger, cheaper drives, you need to go to smaller NAND dice. Also, as it stands, drive endurance isn’t really an issue in the consumer space, with most drives listing estimated lifetimes of more than 5 years at workloads far exceeding the most common usage cases.

      • brucethemoose
      • 7 years ago

      ??? Profit

      If you want to think about it another way, even though smaller chips don’t last as long, you can stick more of those chips on an SSD for the same price to increase endurance/performance.

      • Geistbar
      • 7 years ago

      Even if there was no desire to increase total storage, lower cost, lower power consumption, etc., then the smaller size should be sufficient that they could add more redundant chips for wear leveling purposes and still come out ahead of the previous node size. Endurance is an issue, but the die shrink gives some means to deal with it.

      I am modestly hopeful that we’ll have switched over to a new technology ([url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor#Potential_applications<]meristors[/url<]? [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-change_RAM<]PRAM[/url<]? [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetoresistive_random-access_memory<]MRAM[/url<]? something else entirely?) by the time the endurance becomes so low as to be a serious issue.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      You should find out if you’ve read that paper. I’d be curious to know as well.

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve read it like half a year ago, too bad i don’t have the link anymore. The conclusion was that when we get to one digit nodes, iirc, SSDs will become far slower than current drives in terms of performance while decreasing considerably in endurance. The only advantage would be capacity……will try to find the link later.

        Edit:
        Found it, it’s called “The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory”, you can find the link in my original post.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      Storage capacity is still increasing faster than write endurance is decreasing… for now…

      One can just reserve more drive space for wear leveling. Most users tend to have a heavy read and light write, so write endurance is rarely an issue.

      To paraphrase Intel, one would have to write 1TB/day to a 256GB drive for 5 years before you wear it out.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      Except smaller node allows for increased capacity. Amount of cycles may drop, but it can be offset by higher capacity, which would cause overall life expectancy of the drive to stay the same.

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