Having been in the market for an SSD for some time, after seeing a drastic increase in the CAD/CG workload my PC, the Samsung 830 came calling. The Samsung 830 SSD is the successor to the older 470 series, and this version offers SATA 6Gbps connectivity, as well as improved read and write speeds. It is an attempt for Samsung to gain a foothold in the increasingly fragmented SSD consumer market, with the likes of Intel, Crucial, OCZ and Corsair offering attractive alternatives, but Sandforce is a point of contention.
The key factor for the Samsung 830 is the fact that everything is built in-house -- no third-party drivers, ropey controllers, and so on. Combined with an attractive warranty and customer service, there is no contest.
There has been a fairly intense price war over the Samsung 830, with Amazon and a host of other e-tailers repeatedly slashing the price of the Samsung 830 in recent times. Thus, after seeing the 256GB Notebook accessory kit version on Amazon come down to £146 (cheaper than even the basic models), a mere 57p per GB, my mind had been made up pretty quick.
In the fairly svelte package, you receive a SATA to USB cable, Norton Ghost, a Samsung driver CD, and the usual plethora of manuals and warranty cards. The SSD itself is quite attractive, with a faux aluminum brushed finish, and the Samsung logo planted neatly in the middle. In anticipation of installing the SSD, it was important to back up data, and other important files beforehand onto an external hard drive.
To get the best out of any SSD, a complete reinstallation of Windows is always the best method, and this ensures that Windows detects the component as an SSD and turns off any unneeded features. After splitting the drive into two partitions; C: Windows, and E: Programs, installing Windows itself was very quick, and after a couple of hours of installing my crucial CAD and 3D rendering programs, the computer was setup at a basic stage. It was then I could restore my data onto my secondary Samsung 500GB harddrive.
At this point, you would get the usual "it is so quick!!" comment, and this is true. The obligatory comment about the Windows boot-up time takes only around 15 seconds from pressing the button to an idle cursor on the desktop. You really notice the difference when it comes to loading programs such as 3dsMax, Vectorworks and a lot more. The general performance of my PC was very good beforehand, but an SSD has taken it to another level, even for gaming.
The Samsung SSD Magician that comes with the package is very useful -- the program can turn off unneeded Windows features, run performance benchmarks, and offer regular cleaning of temp files that can decrease performance. After nearly two weeks of use, I have seen no degradation in performance -- the SSD read speed comes in at 518MB/s, while the write speed comes in at 386MB/s, not too far off from the manufacturer's estimations.
The Windows Experience Index scores the SSD at the maximum 7.9, and my PC overall is at 7.8.
Whether you are looking for an SSD for an increase in productivity, or for a general increase in performance, you can't go wrong with the Samsung 830 SSD.
Turn off Prefetch, disable Hibernation, keep Superfetch on and move the Pagefile to another harddrive, and you are good to go. In fact, I am tempted to buy another to use as a scratch drive.
Just to be clear -- you can buy any version of the Samsung 830 -- laptop, desktop, basic -- all that is different are the accessories. Therefore, just go for the cheapest option for your gigabyte range.
(PC Specs: Intel Core i7 2600K 4.5Ghz, 16GB RAM, 256GB Samsung SSD, 500GB Samsung HDD, Radeon HD 6950 2GB)