I have a five-year-old Dell Latitude E6400 laptop, and I was thinking about changing the SATA hard drive (Hitachi HTS723216L9A362) with an SSD. I found two models that could suit my needs, the Samsung SSD 840 EVO basic and its pro version. Does it make sense to buy the pro version, since the SATA controller is kind of old?

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    Do you intend to use the SSD in a future laptop? If so how long will the current laptop stay in service? Balance that vs prices. – Hennes Nov 16 '14 at 16:42
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    I would like to keep using this laptop for at least one or two years. I use it mainly for developing with android studio on linux. Sometimes I use also windows :/ – Blackbelt Nov 16 '14 at 16:46
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    For what it is worth: I use a crucial M500 SSD in my Dell 6500 and it is great. Whenever the laptop dies (hopefully not soon) I will keep that disk and move it to my next system. As long as the Pro version is not that much more expensive go for it. If it is just buy a SSD (almost any SSD) and use that. The speed difference when going from HDD to SSD is orders of magnitude. And 100x faster or 120x faster is negligable. – Hennes Nov 16 '14 at 16:49
  • fair enough :). On amazon the difference between the two is around 40 euros. Could you provide an answer I'll accept it – Blackbelt Nov 16 '14 at 16:52

Ignoring the specific models in an answer since those will get outdated. But in generic terms it mostly depends on your budget and on future upgrades.

Any reasonable SSD is going to make a world of difference compard to a HDD.

Using a more expensive (and assumed faster) SSD only makes sense if:

  1. You absolutely need the extra speed (not the case in an old laptop).
  2. If money is not a problem.
  3. If you want to use the faster model in later builds.

The last option might be relevant with a 5 year old laptop, though there is no one-single-clear answer since everyone's needs and finances differ.


Does it make sense to buy the pro version, since the SATA controller is kind of old?

The SATA controller is really not a factor in choosing between the Samsung 840 (Basic) and the Samsung 840 Pro. As this article explains it, it boils down to the lifespan of the drive itself based on the type of NAND flash memory the drive uses which is basically TLC versus MLC and how much you want to spend to deal with that difference:

  • Samsung 840: 250GB of space using 21-nm DDR2 toggle TLC
  • Samsung 840 Pro: 256GB of space using 21-nm DDR2 toggle MLC

As explained in the FAQ on Speed Guide:

MLC (Multi Layer Cell) - average performance, consumer grade NAND ~ 10,000 program/erase cycles per cell

  • higher density (2 or more bits per cell)
  • lower endurance limit than SLC
  • lower cost (3 times lower than SLC)
  • good fit for consumer products. Not suggested for critical applications which require frequent updates of data

TLC (Three Layer Cell) - lower performance, lowest cost NAND ~ 3-5,000 program/erase cycles per cell

  • highest density (3 bits per cell)
  • lower endurance limit than MLC and SLC
  • best price point (30% lower than MLC)
  • somewhat slower read and write speed than MLC
  • good fit for lower-end consumer products. Not recommended for critical applications which require frequent updating of data

The next factor in the Samsung differentiation between basic and pro is lifespan as explained in this review which shows that Samsung 840 Pro (MLC) has an expected lifespan of 60 years while the basic Samsung 840 (TLC) has a lifespan of 20 years. Might not seem like a big difference, but it can be a deciding factor in the purchase price.

And past all of that the Samsung 840 Pro (MLC) offers 6GB more storage space thanks to the difference in DDR type:

  • Samsung 840: 250GB of storage space.
  • Samsung 840 Pro: 256GB of storage space.

If cost is not really a factor then I would go with the Samsung 840 Pro. Better performance and better lifespan clinches it for me.

  • If cost is not a factor, why is OP using a 5-year-old laptop? – ntoskrnl Nov 16 '14 at 18:34
  • @ntoskrnl You are presuming someone is using a 5-year-old laptop based solely on cost. But they could simply like the machine and use it as remote tool. For example, I am looking at buying a MacBook Air circa 2011 because the SSD drives can be changed in them. Yes, they cost less in 2014, but it also has functionality and flexibility I desire. – JakeGould Nov 16 '14 at 18:39
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    I am using a similar 5 y.o. laptop (a Dell E6500. Same as the 6400 from the OP with just a bigger screen). Those laptops are very nice and hard to replace. Just try to find a decent modern laptop with a 1920x1200 screen. So yeah. It is not all just about cost. – Hennes Nov 16 '14 at 18:48

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