Solid state drives are getting faster, more capacious, and falling in price with each passing week. Within the next 1-3 years, SSD’s will be big enough and cheap enough to finally move over to the masses instead of being an enthusiast-only product. WIth that said, I am a bit late to the SSD arena, for this Samsung SSD pictured above is my first such drive. But I can now finally say “I get it”. As the saying goes “You can’t miss what you’ve never had” rings true. Before purchasing this SSD, I knew they were fast and I had seen that they were fast. However, I hadn’t experienced just how fast they really were. And now that I have, I’m never going back.
With that said, the SSD market is quickly filling up with plenty of options from various hardware manufacturers including but not limited to Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, Intel, and Samsung to name a few. In light of that, how does Samsung’s new second-gen SSD’s fair? The results are after the jump…
Unfortunately, OS X doesn’t have any real decent hard drive benchmarking tools. I gave the much hyped Xbench a shot, but the results were all over the place. One run would be phenomenal and toping 260MB/s while another would barely muster 50MB/s. I tried running some tests on the stock 5,400 RPM drive and spare 7,200 RPM drive I have lying around and the results were the same. That is, they were all over the place and hardly consistant. A quick search online showed that it was in fact an issue with Xbench and not the Samsung drive.
In light of that, we had to do things old school. Below is a video showing the restart times in particular for the Samsung 470 series SSD in OS X. I did at least 20 different takes because I apparently have trouble forming basic sentences when a video camera is rolling. But alas, I finally got a usable copy. In the video, i got just shy of 21 seconds from hitting “restart” to actually seeing a usable desktop. But make note that I have had several tests clip a hair over 17 as well as some taking as long as 23 seconds. Though compared to the stock 5,400 RPM drive, such times are much, much faster than what I was used to.
File Copy Test
The second test involved copying a 10.63GB folder to the desktop and recording how long it took. The contents of the folder was mostly music, some album art, lyrics, and other random text files. From start to finish, the entire copy took 1 minute and 31 seconds, which equals out to roughly 116.82MB/s. Not as fast as the visual performance would lead to believe. But remember, there were many different sizes of files as well as types of files in the test folder which overall, do have a negative effect on transfer times. Not to mention, synthetic benchmarks look great on paper, but it’s how the real world/day-to-day tasks run that really matters. And on that front, the Samsung 470 series feels just as fast as any.
One other aspect of this drive that I really like is the looks. Now I realize that physical appearance doesn’t matter all that much in the world of hard drives and SSDs, especially considering that in most applications the drive will be completely covered up. Nonetheless, the sleek brushed aluminum styling and orange accent show that Samsung paid a good deal of attention to detail. Not to mention, the actual packaging the drive came in is very Apple-like. Hey, It’s the little things that add up folks.
Price & Conclusion
This particular 128GB drive is available on Newegg for $279 (down from $299). But if 128GB at $279 isn’t right for you, there are also 64GB ($139) and 256GB ($549) options.
So what’s our verdict? The drive is certainly quick. There’s no doubt about that. However, it isn’t the fastest — a small gripe considering Samsung has had time to scope out the other contenders being slightly late to the game and all. But even then, the 128GB Samsung 470 Series SSD’s are a great value. It’s also unfortunate that OS X doesn’t have any decent hard drive benchmarking software, as loading Windows simply to run a few tests is both time consuming and a pain. Although, if a more detailed breakdown of Windows-based speeds is what you’re really looking for, fellow tech blog, TechSpot, has a great review of the 256 model with plenty of graphs and numbers to fill your head with.
Gadgetsteria gives the 128GB Samsung 470 SSD a 4 out of 5 stars.