Although one would think the Samsung 840 series would be an enhancement to their 830 series, this is not the case. With its slower speeds and components, this solid-state drive is more of an entry-level option. However, you'll find that it's likely the best entry-level option on the market today.
Yes, it is quite attractive, but more importantly, it performs as if it is a more expensive drive. This makes it the perfect choice for those home users looking to spend a little to upgrade their laptop hard drive. If you are a professional user or are looking for something fast and durable, you should probably look into Samsung's 830 series or 840 Pro.
Features and Design
Upon first glance, there doesn't appear to be any difference in design when the Samsung 840 is compared to the Samsung 840 Pro. If you look on the bottom of the drive, however, you'll see that the 840 series drive does not sport the “Pro” logo, nor does it come in as many capacities. The 840 series can hold 120GB, 250GB, and 500 GB while the 840 Pro offers 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities. Other than that, the 840 series is designed just as slim (7mm) as the Pro models, as well as offering SATA 3 (6Gbps) support.
The real differences lie on the inside, proving why the Samsung 840 series isn't at all the same as the 830 series and the 840 Pro. The 840 series drives relies on the new 3-bit-per-cell MLC NAND (triple-level-cell or TLC NAND). The 840 series SSD is the first mass-production consumer-level SSD that uses this kind of flash memory. This is probably why it is so budget-friendly: it is slower, thus cheaper, than MLC NAND (typical flash memory in consumer-grade SSDS). TLC NAND is usually the choice for other types of flash storage devices such as memory sticks or thumbdrives.
There is a downfall to relying on TLC flash memory: this type of SSD NAND offers lower write endurance (aka program/erase (P/E) cycle). The P/E cycle restricts how many times you can write and rewrite before it ceases retaining the new information.
As such, the 840 series will likely wear out more quickly than other SSDs. This is probably why the drives in the 840 series come with a three-year warranty rather than the five-year warranty that's included with the 830 series and 840 Pro. This also explains why the capacities are greater in the 840 series versus the 830 series: smaller capacities add up to less P/E cycles.
You'll find, however, that the typical home user will do just fine with a drive such as this. A Cnet reviewer calculates that even with 10GB being written/rewritten each and every day, it would take an estimated 7 years for the 250GB Samsung 840 series SSD to run out of P/E cycles. However, those professionals who are writing/rewriting heavily, such as video editors, should probably choose a different SSD.
Additional Information and Pricing
It may not be the fastest SSD out there, but for the average home user, no difference in speed will likely be noticed after installing the Samsung 840 series SSD. Price alone makes this drive the best option for the average home user. If broken down by price per GB, it costs less than $1. Currently, the 250GB version is $180, clearly the most affordable SSD offered on the market today, and just in time for the holiday season.