by Les Tokar
Late last year, Samsung announced it would join the ranks of solid state drive (SSD) manufacturers such as Mtron and Memoright by introducing a SATA II solid state drive capable of read/write speeds in the area of 100MB/s. This was followed in February of this year by a Direct2Dell article entitled ‘Improved SSD Performance Coming Soon’. This article announced that the new Samsung drive would soon be introduced into Dell systems and would tackle three concerns expressed by bloggers, these being performance, size and price.
It was around this period that reader comments began pouring in to NotebookReview.com and Dell.com asking if the Samsung drive would be a viable SSD and stand up to the claims. Thanks to all the hard work of Dell Community Liaison Bill B (Dell -Bill B), I have just received and installed the Samsung 64GB SATA II SSD and I’ve put it through its paces much as this amusing Samsung SSD video does here.
The test laptop is a Dell XPS M1330 with an Intel T7300 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB OCZ SDRAM, an NVidia 8400 graphics adapter and running on Vista Ultimate 64-Bit operating system.
The solid state drive is listed as a Samsung 2.5" 64GB SSD SATA-2 with a p/n of MCCDE64G5MPP-OVA and manufacturing date of 27 March 2008. It’s firmware version is PS105014 and Rev. 0. A website dedicated to this ssd can be found here.
Compatibility and Installation
Installation of this solid state drive into your laptop is a breeze. Simply backup and remove your old drive, replace it with this drive, boot to disk and restore your saved settings or install your operating system once again. I can confirm that the jump from SATA to SATA II on the drive creates no problems in compatibility whatsoever.
If you’re a Dell owner, insert the new SSD and follow my Clean Install Guide here at NotebookReview.com!
Testing Software and Benchmarks
I elected to add to the line-up of benchmarking programs a bit on this review and went with PCMark05, ATTO, HDTune, HDTach, CrystalDiskMark 2.1 as well as a little known program called Datamarck. All results were very similar and the read speeds of the Samsung SATA II were consistently around the 100MB/s mark with write speeds at 80-90MB/s mark and a disk access time of .2ms. This is quite an accomplishment for a company that released one of the first consumer SSDs less than a year ago and can now boast of doubling it’s performance results simply through advancement of their controller technology and flash alone.
The surprise came with the result of the PCMark05 score which is the highest tested benchmark received from any SSD tested by myself yet and is also Futuremark’s top score for systems of the same configuration. This result was head and shoulders above both of the industries top contenders mentioned above.
Availability and Pricing
In checking around the Dell website, one can see that this SSD (simply identified as the "Ultra Performance SSD") is presently available as a configuration option with the Dell Precision and Latitude models as well as the XPS M1730. Community Liaison Bill B. relates that this drive will be available on all models within a few weeks time. In searching the internet, it doesn’t appear to be offered on its own which appears to be the norm with Samsung preferring to sell its drives to manufacturers for resale as a system option.
The pricing for this SSD appears to be $1,130 when purchasing it with a Precision M6300, $100 more than the Samsung SATA SSD with significantly lower performance results. Dell seems to be making a lot of changes on their site recently as I also noticed it priced at $850 a few days back. A keen eye would have made a decent savings on that setup.
Comparatively speaking, your Samsung SSD purchase is getting you the same performance as you would from both other contenders, only at twice the storage capacity since this is a 64GB drive vice their 32GB SSDs for the same price.
Samsung and Dell sought to introduce us to a new SSD which would successfully tackle three barriers in the SSD industry; performance limitations, capacity and pricing. At the end of the day, although we would like to see prices drop significantly, they did bring us a high performance SSD, available in both 32GB and 64GB sizes and at a very small price difference from original offerings. I would suggest this small "bump" can most likely quite easily be negotiated in new system purchases.
The overall benefits of an SSD reach well beyond pricing to include complete silence, less heat, longer portable battery life, extreme shock resistance if the laptop is dropped and an incredible lifespan. Coupled with lightning fast access times and far superior read/write benchmarks, this SSD is a whole new ball game for consumers.
- Speed matches that of upper tier SSDs
- 64GB capacity an improvement over past releases
- No great price increase over former Samsung release
- Two million hours mean time between failures (this will probably outlast ownership)
- Lack of availability to purchase SSD on its own
- General price of SSD still out of reach for consumers
- Consumers still seek greater capacity in storage