Samsung 470 Series SSD 256GB review

Throwing its hat in the memory controller ring

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Samsung 470 series ssd 256gb

First a quick word on physical appearance.

We understand the retail version of the Samsung SSD 470 Series 256GB comes in a sleek brushed alloy chassis. The dowdy black enclosure you see here is purely for the evaluation version of the drive. That's a little odd, but then an SSD's casing doesn't influence performance or the end-user experience in any tangible way.

Regarding performance though, our hopes are high.

For starters, the 470 series benefits from Samsung's latest 30nm flash memory chips. Then there's 256MB of fast (for an SSD) 667MHz DDR2 cache memory. Finally, we have Samsung's latest controller chip, the imaginatively monikered S3C29MAX01-Y340.

As our benchmarks show, the results are pretty impressive.

The 470 actually outstrips Samsung's claims in terms of peak sequential read and write performance, topping 260MB/s in both metrics.

That's very much in the same ballpark as a typical SandForce-powered drive. Random reads and writes, however, are a little off the pace compared to the best current SSDs. That said, the actual end user experience with the Samsung SSD 470 Series 256GB is pretty similar.

As much as we strive to simulate real-world usage scenarios, however, assessing the long term performance of any SSD is tricky. The 470 Series supports the drive-clean TRIM command in Windows 7, which is arguably the most important feature for maintaining performance.

However, the good news for non-Windows 7 users is that Samsung supplies its SSD Magician application for older Windows OSes which does the same job as TRIM. In other words, it cleans out redundant data and keeps the drive fresh.

We liked:

SSD technology is moving fast, so any brand new drive is always attractive.

Samsung is determined to be a major player in the market and the new 470 Series is definitely an improvement. It's well specified with Samsung's new 30nm flash memory and new controller chipset. All-round performance is solid, too.

We disliked:

The SATA I/O interface is increasingly looking like a performance bottleneck for SSDs, even in 6Gbps trim. So, it's disappointing to find Samsung releasing a brand new high-end drive that makes do with SATA 3Gbps.

Despite the new controller chip, random disk performance is also a little ordinary.

Final word:

The SandForce SSD controller is due a spanking. Improved as it is, Samsung's latest isn't the drive to do it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/300
Brand NameSamsung
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity256 GB
Maximum Read Transfer Rate250 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate220 MBps
Height9.5 mm
Width70 mm
Depth100 mm
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelMZ-5PA256
Product Name470 Series MZ-5PA256 Solid State Drive
Manufacturer Part NumberMZ5PA256HMDR-0AA00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Spend more time doing and less time waiting. Samsung Solid State Drives access data a lot faster than standard hard drives. This means less time for a computer to boot up or programs to launch. Data is available much quicker and overall response time is significantly improved. Samsung SSD drives have industry-leading performance of up to 250MB/sec sequential read speed and 220MB/sec sequential write speed which leads to computers booting up in as little as 15 seconds and programs opening up in seconds.

Limited Warranty3 Year
Weight (Approximate)57 g