Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Samsung 840 Series 500GB TLC SSD Review

Samsung has released the first TLC NAND equipped SSDs into the market, creating the lowest price points we have witnessed for SSDs bringing large capacity SSDs within reach for average users. Today we test the 500GB TLC Samsung 840 Series SSD to test the performance in steady state of a large capacity TLC Solid State Drive.



With endurance and the slow write speed being the major question mark for consumers with this new type of NAND, the larger capacity with its higher write speed and longer endurance seems to fit the bill.

The Samsung 500GB TLC 840 features more flash onboard than the smaller capacity SSDs, which creates an extra amount of over-provisioning. This extra spare NAND is utilized by the internal functions of the MDX controller to speed up the write speed and increase endurance of the drive. This leads to much higher write specifications for the SSD, easily beating out the smaller versions of this SSD.

The 128GB model only writes at 130MB/s sequential and 32K random IOPS, well below any of the MLC competitors. The 256GB version fares much better with 250MB/s in sequential speed and 44K IOPS. The write performance increases with the amount of spare area, and with the 500GB version carrying the most spare NAND onboard creates a higher speed of 330MB/s in sequential write speed and 44K random write IOPS.

The 500GB 840 also sports a bit of a higher random and sequential read speed of 98,000 IOPS / 540MB/s, compared to 86,000 IOPS / 530MB/s for the 128 model and 96,000 / 540MB/s for the 256GB model.

The 500 and 250GB models include 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, and the 128GB carries 256MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM.

The 840 Series features DSP and ECC algorithms to protect user data and combat the higher rate of data errors that can be experienced with TLC NAND.

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Samsung SSD Magician

The Samsung SSD Magician software is a tool provided for SSD management. The goal of bringing SSDs to the casual user will never be realized unless more companies begin to include tools that can mange every aspect of the SSD in a very simple to use and user-friendly manner. Samsung has scored a home-run in this department, with every possible need covered under the Magician umbrella.

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The more compelling and relevant features reside in the OS Optimization tab, which automatically configures the OS to operate efficiently with an SSD. This eliminates the need for users to do registry changes and disable services, bringing these optimizations easily within reach of the typical user.

The Firmware Update tab simplifies the task that users typically complain about the most; upgrading the SSDs firmware. Creating bootable media sticks or CDs is a pain at best, even for those of us that have experience with these types of solutions. For the average user this daunting task is usually left undone due to the complex steps required for a simple firmware update. The Magician software provides a handy button which checks the SSDs firmware and then automatically downloads an updated version if one is available. For users that do not routinely check for updates Samsung has also included an auto-alert notification that will pop up whenever a new firmware update is available. For Windows users there is no need to create bootable media, the process is handled in the OS. For other operating systems, there is an option to create a USB stick or CD, but all of the configuration is handled by the utility. All the user has to do is insert the media and select it. Secure Erasing is simple and easy to do in the relevant tab.

There is also the option for heavy users to configure some extra over-provisioning for their SSD, providing more stable performance and longer endurance. For users of the TLC equipped 840 this ability to provide extra over-provisioning is especially welcome.

Finally there is a Disk Clone option that will ease users’ installation of a new SSD and the cloning operation, and a site link that provides links to all of the needed help documents and user guides. This is a helpful inclusion simply because it eliminates the time consuming task of searching for the documents online.

There have been a number of powerful class-leading SSDs that we have reviewed that sadly lack these types of tools. Samsung clearly wins across the board with the SSD Magician program.

Availability and Warranty

The Samsung 840 Series comes in capacities of 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB.

The Samsung 840 Series as a whole is only warrantied for three years, and we would like to see this increased to five years for the higher capacities (500 and 250GB) to reflect some faith in the durability of the TLC NAND. By most rough math estimates, TLC should last 7 years for the 250GB model, 14 years for 500GB variants, and 3.5 to 4 years for the 128GB model. (assuming a 10GB per day workload).


The 120GB 840 features random read speed of 86,000 IOPS and sequential read speeds of 530MB/s. The sequential write speeds weigh in at 130MB/s and 32,000 random write IOPS. The SSD features 256MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM.

The 250GB 840 features random read speed of 96,000 IOPS and sequential read speeds of 540MB/s. The sequential write speeds are 250MB/s with 44,000 random write IOPS. The SSD features 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM.

The 500GB 840 features random read speed of 98,000 IOPS and sequential read speeds of 540MB/s. The sequential write speeds are 330MB/s with 44,000 random write IOPS. The SSD features 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM.