I'm going to talk about the future, sort of, when it comes to the way that we get our information on and off our computers. (bare with me).
What I am talking about is Hard Drives, or Hard Disc Drives, or HDD's that sit in PC's and store all the information that you want to put onto them, starting with the Operating System of your PC, be that Microsoft, Mac or even Linux, and then everything else that you find you need to make you PC run in just the way you want it to.
But what are the few things that all HDD's have in common...? Yes, they can become slower than my Granny on her drive to the shops. They can over heat faster than a teenager in the Adult section of the local DVD shop and worst still, they don't like to be dropped off a tall building without a parachute. (although the dropping bit is not recommended at all).
So, what is the future or these seemingly fragile and soon to be out of date HDD's..? I can hear you asked, (or is that the voices in my head once more?).
The future is actually already here, and it has been for quite some time really. In fact, we all, or most of us already hold the future in our hands on a daily basis.
The future is the Solid State Drive, or the SSD, which, as the name suggests, is more your Rocky Balboa of the computer 'internal storage' world rather than your Norman Wisdom.
The SSD is basically a memory module that has no moving parts, unlike the HDD's which have discs that spins at an astronomical rate in order for the heads to read the information on them. Which is why the SSD's are the future.
Allow me to give you a general idea of what I am waffling about...
More than likely, when you're sitting at your laptop, you can hear a whirring noise or even a light 'whooshing' sound. These noises are down to the fact that you have inside your laptop a HDD which has moving parts and therefore gets quite warm. In fact, it gets quite hot.
The Data that is stored on a HDD is done so by 'writing' it onto the spinning discs, which in turn is then read by a tiny, and very fragile, little head. Imagine, if you will, an old fashioned record player with a stylus, (I can see the confused expression on those of you that are under 25 years of age. If you're confused about what a record player is, or even a stylus, then please ask an elderly person).
Anyway, are we imagining the stylus? Right. When you place the stylus on the record as the record spins around. It is this stylus that reads the music that is on the record. This is the same principle as how the heads on the HDD read the spinning discs.
And it is this spinning process that makes the HDD's not only noisy but also quite delicate when it comes to portability really, even though the HDD's are designed to be portable they are susceptible to damage due to the fact that they have moving parts and anything with moving parts can be damaged quite easily.
Anyway. This is were the SSD comes in to it's own. There are no moving parts as the information is stored on, shall we say 'microchips', that can be read without the need of a spinning disc and stylus type head. And it is this reason why the SSD's are not only silent when running, not only more robust than HDD, but are a lot faster than HDD's when it comes to reading and writing information to them.
I could go into why and how but I feel that I have waffled on too much, plus anyone reading this will be scratching there heads and wondering what on earth I am talking about when the heading for this review space is actually about a certain SSD and not how and what SSD's are.
Anyway. As I said, the title for this review space is for the Samsung 840 Series MZ-7TD120 120 GB and it is that particular modal that I have had sat in my laptop for a few months now and feel that I can my opinion on...
So here it is...
* What does this SSD look like..?
The body of this drive is made of aluminium which makes it look good, even though once it's inside the PC the look of the SSD is irrelevant.
Well, at first glance it looks similar to a standard 2.5inch HDD only a fraction smaller, being about 100mm long by 70mm wide and less than 7mm thick, weighing in at just over 50grams. But once it's in your PC then the size and weigh mean nothing really.
On the front there is a little slot which is what connects to the 'pins' on the inside of your PC, where your old drive sits at the moment.
And that's really all I can say about the structure of this unit, but there is a bit of writing on the back of the body, which is in several languages, but it only goes on about the warranty and say nothing about how to fit this drive in. although there is a bit telling you a few facts about the drive, such as the minimum and maximum stats that you need on the PC that you intend to slot this on, and there's also a bit about the speeds of this 120Gb drive compared to the larger size drives, those being the 250GB and 500GB.
And that's all the writing on the rear, and, to be honest, that's all the writing on the entire thing, apart from the Samsung name and the fact that it's a Solid State Drive.
So that's the looks of it...
* What does it offer..?
It offers everything that a HDD offers, only it offers it at much faster speeds.
There are a few specs that mean things but make no real sense really, such as the fact it is a Samsung 2x nm toggle 2.0 NAND flash memory (400Mbps)
3- core MDX controller.
SATA 6Gb/s interface, compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s interface.
(This information came from the little leaflet that came in the box...)
I do have to mention that it does state it's a 120Gb drive but as anyone that has looked at their HDD you know that you never get the full amount of memory space. On this you do get just short of 114GB, which is plenty really.
* Is it easy to fit..?
If you've ever replaced a HDD then this is just the same. If you have never done it then I'll give you a brief run down of what to do.
Firstly, disconnect your laptop from the mains and take out the battery. Then you unscrew the screws that are holding your HDD in place, then slide the drive out.
At this point you have to take the bracket off the drive, the one that has the screw sockets that hold the drive in the laptop, and screw this bracket onto the new SDD. Now you just slide the new drive into the laptop and put the screws back in place, screwing them hand tight so that the new drive is in place.
And now you're done. All you have to do now is put the battery back in, or plug it into the mains and boot up your system, using the OS as this is a brand new drive and should be clean. Your system should recognise this new drive straight away. If it does not then try taking it out again and re-fitting.
So all you have to do now is re-install everything that you want on your new drive, staring with the OS of course, and everything else you have to put on.
This may take a fair amount of time depending on how much 'stuff' you've got to put on. But it is a lot quicker with this SDD than it is on the HDD.
And you're done
* So what about the performance..?
This is really down to what you're doing and what you have running. But on paper you can get some cracking speeds. On the little leaflet it goes on about begin capable of getting on average up to 530MB/s read speed and up to 130MB/s write speed.
In everyday terms, I can open up a 'complicated program' such as a Roxio video editing program, which took over a minute and twenty seconds to open up fully on the HDD, in just short of 37 seconds... which is half the time really.
Smaller programs, such as a virus/malware scanner, which open in about 20 seconds on a HDD, open in the blink of an eye with this SDD. It's a matter of double clicking the program and there it is, no waiting. The same goes for such things as documents, photos and even music. It's all opening quicker than the lies coming out of David Cameron's mouth on Prime Ministers Question Time.
And that's what this SSD is all about. Getting programs up and running as fast as you can. Which in this
* What makes it faster..?
This is because there are no moving parts and the data stored on the drive is stored in order, so to speak, which means that your system does not have to go searching around the houses for what you ask it for.
For example. In the HDD your data is basically slapped anywhere that your PC finds a spot, sometimes separating information and throwing it in different places on the drive. The HDD is then full of confusing data that is separated by massive gaps and even more confusing data.
So when it comes to, say, opening a certain program, your system has to go looking for all the bits that it has tossed about the place, even having to search through the empty spaces in case there's something hiding in there. Then it has to bring it all together and do its best to open the program. And this is all done by the disc spinning and the heads doing there best to read the information that is rushing passed them faster than a politician putting in his expenses claims forms before the end of the month.
But with these SSD's there's none of that. The information is stored in one place, with no gaps and no moving parts. When data is delete it does not leave an empty space in the middle of other data, which means that the search does not take you to unknown and empty areas that just take up time for no reason. The data on the SDD's is all stacked together instead of anywhere it can find space as in the HDD's.
So that's why the SDD's are faster. And this Samsung is no exception. You simply request the data and your system knows exactly where it is. Opening the file, starting the program or playing your favourite track... all in a fraction of the time that you get with the HDD's.
* What do I think then..?
When I first started using the SSD's, which was a while ago when I fitted one into a different laptop, I was so impressed with the difference that they it made when it came to speed that I intended to replace all the HDD's with the SDD's. the only thing that stopped me was the price as, at the time, the cost of a small 64GB size SDD was more than the cost of a 500GB HDD. But now you can get a nice size 240GB SDD for about £100, which is a bargain in anyone's books.
So now I am in the process of replacing the old fashioned HDD's with these SDD's, and this Samsung one is as good as it should be, which is keeping my faith in the future of SSD's alive without a doubt.
Slotting it into my laptop was simple, taking seconds rather than minutes, plus the fact that as it has no moving parts it's less susceptible to the dreaded static that HDD don't seem to get on with that much at the best of time.
Then, once slotted in place, installing the OS and the other programs took next to no time at all as this drive really does add a great speed to computer life without any hassles at all.
So know I have this SSD in my PC and am using my old, but still working, HDD as an external memory unit, having plenty of space for a backup system in case of any troubles with the PC, although if my other SSD is anything to go by then it won't be the drive that gets messed up, it will be more my own fault for allowing a virus onto my system...
And the best thing about this is that the prices just seem to be coming down every time I look into buying another one.
Over all, this Samsung does exactly what it is designed to do. It makes using a PC a lot faster which in turn takes the stress out of doing what ever you're doing, be that on line or using those 'heavier' programs.
* And the price then..?
This 120GB version sells for about £60, or there abouts.
* Would I recommend this..?
Yes I would.
It may only be a 120GB drive but if you don't want to store all sorts of images, video and large files on it, preferring speed rather than space, then these SSD's are worth looking into.
But if you want more space then add another £40 or so and grab the 240GB version as it should be just as impressive as this one... (I should think so anyway)
You always think that newer technology is going to be faster, or better, so when I went out to the shops to get an SSD with a samsung 830 in mind, the had no 830's but they did have 840's. Great I thought, they're probably even better!
How foolish I was. Sometimes when they release a newer product it's because of cost cutting measures! and that is what the 840 is- the shop was closing, and I was in a hurry so I bought the drive (£90 from PC world) and after returning home I realised it was actually rather slow for an SSD. Read speeds are great at 530 MB/s, but write speeds are sluggish at just 130 MB/s. Way worse than the 520/320 i'd expected from the 830 series.
Maybe it was because I was a girl they didn't show me the 'pro' drives, thinking i'd only be spending my time looking through facebook and finding new things to knit, but upon returning to the store I found that samsung made 840 'pro' drives, with the 128gb model (slight capacity increase over the 120gb drive I just bought) having a 530/390 read/write speed and a slightly higher price at £109.
This was the drive I expected the 840 to be, I didn't know that they made 2 models, and it's not very clear from their packaging. So as a customer you have two choices, the more expensive and faster pro drives, or the still quick but cheaper standard drives- if you're just using your computer for light use then read speeds are more important than write (and 130 MB/s is still twice as quick as most HDD's) but as I do video editing I need quick write as well as quick read I swapped my drive for the pro version and I have been very happy with my decision- an extra £20 is nothing compared to the speed increase
The drives are very well built, and look great, made from brushed aluminium and with a chrome samsung logo with orange square on the front- it's a shame to put them in a computer when they look this good, and if you want to use it as an external hard drive you don't have to cover up that beautiful case! because SSD's are less susceptible to damage than HDD's you can just connect them to a computer via cables as the exterior case means you don't need another case to put it in- not as easy to use as a specific 2.5" case as you will of course have 2 cables coming out the back but saves you some trouble if you just want to quickly access the drive.
with a drive this fast (the pro version) you have to make sure your computer is fast enough to handle the speed- in my laptop there's only a sata 1.5 gb/s connection so it would run considerably slower than it does in my main computer which has a newer, faster sata 6gb/s connection- make sure your computer is fast enough or you won't get the speeds you expect.