Samsung SSD 470 When you think of solid-state drives (SSDs), Samsung is not the first name to come to mind. But judging by its 470 Series line of SSDs, that might well change soon. Though the line is based on 3Gbps SATA II rather than the newer and faster 6Gbps SATA III standard, the 128GB model we tested (priced at $299 list) ran impressively—in some cases beating the results we saw from the more established players in the field. We’d like to see what else Samsung can produce, and whether it can stay competitive on the SATA front, but the 470 represents an excellent start.
It’s worth noting, too, that unlike drives from other companies (Intel being one of the most notable exceptions), the 470 Series SSDs use controllers from Samsung rather than from (acclaimed) third-party providers such as Indilinx, JMicron, or SandForce. This means Samsung is putting its name and reputation on the line, which is potentially risky for a company that’s not well known for these types of products in the consumer space.
As it turns out, there was no reason to worry. Samsung does indeed know what it’s doing, and that showed once we put the 470 Series drive to the test. It’s loaded with 128GB of 32nm Toggle DDR NAND flash (which amounts to about 119GB after formatting, with the rest dedicated to over-provisioning) and 128MB of cache, which turned out some fine performance. The Samsung drive also supports TRIM and garbage collection, which should help maintain performance over the long haul; the drive is covered by a three-year warranty, more or less standard for SSDs. (For more information about buying an SSD, read our article “How to Buy an SSD.”)
The Samsung drive’s sequential write speed of 195.1MBps in the AS SSD Benchmark was better than we saw with the same-capacity 6Gbps Plextor PX-128M2S (128GB) (179.5MBps), as was its random 4K read and write (16.6MBps and 54.7MBps versus 13.7MBps and 46MBps) and its 4K read with 64 threads (113.08MBps versus 72.6MBps), both in the same benchmark. Interestingly, on the last test, the Samsung even surpassed Intel’s 250GB SSD 510 Series, which also uses 6Gbps SATA (Intel managed only 77.38).
Samsung SSD vSpecifications
- Storage Capacity (as Tested)
- 128 GB
- Rotation Speed
The 470 Series also held its own against both the Plextor and Intel drives on our CrystalDiskMark benchmark, handily surpassing both in the 4K read and QD32 4K read and write tests. The Samsung drive also turned out overall superior write results compared with the Plextor in the ATTO disk benchmark, though the Plextor drive managed considerably speedier reads.
The Samsung drive also kept pace with Intel’s own newer-generation 3Gbps-SATA drive, the SSD 320 Series. The two traded superior scores down the line, further demonstrating Samsung’s facility with SSDs.
Our chief complaint with the Samsung 470 Series, then, is the same one we have about all drives designed this way: the lack of 6Gbps SATA. As the Intel SSD 510 shows in most of its tests, and is further borne out by the Crucial m4 and the Editors’ Choice OCZ Vertex 3, moving up to SATA III makes SSDs go supersonic, and once you’ve experienced that level of performance it’s hard to go back. Still, Samsung has managed to wring every bit of speed possible out this 3Gbps drive, which makes it safe—even smart—choice if your PC does not support the newer and zippier standard.