Samsung 830 (128gb) in a 2011 Mac Mini Notes

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by archangel37, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. archangel37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #1
    Some quick notes for those who are thinking of grabbing a Samsung 830 (128gb) for their Mac Mini.

    Some background: I'm "upgrading" from an OWC Electra SSD 120gb. I say upgrading, because with the installed firmware (320), I was getting random lockups with Windows 7 that are likely traced to the crappy pre-332 Sandforce firmware. As this Mini was the brain for our restaurant's Point of Sale system, this was getting frustrating. I wanted something more reliable, even if I took a performance hit for it. After all, Apple uses Samsung and Toshiba SSDs. Can't be because of cost alone!

    Installation: As many have already noted, the 830 is a thin drive. I didn't use the notebook space it came with when I installed it. Because of this, two of the screws that go into the drive itself didn't fit. I'm sure had I removed the drive and put in the spacer, it would have been fine. The antenna grate closes fine with the two side screws, however. But this is something to note.

    Usage: Some SuperDuper/Windows Restore magic, plus a hour or so later, and the 830 was up and running. Upon rebooting into Windows 7, I downloaded the Magician SSD software that Samsung provides to update the firmware and give other pertinent information about the drive. It almost automatically notified me that a newer firmware was waiting, downloaded, and I then installed it. One reboot later, the firmware checks out the same as you can download on the Samsung downloads page. Firmware update a success. A STARK contrast to the firmware updating I attempted and failed to do with my Electras and the OWC Windows/"mac" software.

    It is also worth noting that the Windows Experience score for my disk subsection went from 7.1 to 7.5, for what it's worth. So at least Windows thinks this drive is faster than the Electra.

    I am usually a big fan and advocate of OWC and their SSD line. But Sandforce simply has too many reliability issues such that any increase in speeds, to me, isn't worth the loss in productivity/reliability. I'll reserve judgement completely until a few months time, where I can find out if this mini is more stable with the 830 than the Electra, but so far, so good.
     
  2. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A406 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I have two Samsung 830s and six Sandforce 2200 series drives (1 OWC and 5 OCZ). I've had no issues with any of these drives. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G did not require a firmware update, but I updated the OCZ drives to 2.15 and they are fast and stable. I prefer the Sandforce drive for their write durability over the Samsung 830s. See Anandtech articles comparing heavy write performance. Also, with AHCI enabled under bootcamp I'm getting perfect 7.9 scores on the OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and over 500MB/s read/write in ATTO.
     
  3. archangel37 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #3
    I think it's pretty universally understood that the fastest Sandforce SSDs outperform the 830 in several tests, but pure speed is never my main concern.

    I don't know when you bought your Extreme, but if it was post October 2011, then it should be at 332 or better. But the Sandforce firmware BSOD firmware problems are very well known. And out of the all the ssds I have (1 Mercury 3G, 5 Electra 6Gs, 1 Phoenix, and now 1 Samsung 830), 2 of the 5 Electra drives have suffered BSOD/lockups. None of the other drives have. Maybe the Extreme 6G drives are less prone to these issues, but from my opinion, the Electras are hard to recommend.

     
  4. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #4
    Have you tried some of the tips in the OCZ Technology Forums? I have AHCI enable and use the Microsoft AHCI driver. It was very stable and fast enough for me. The Intel storage drivers tend to be faster, but it seems people have stability issues. Apparently, the enterprise Intel storage drivers are super stable. There was a link some where in the OCZ forum for these drivers. Typically, these BSODs are found on pre-2011 Macs. The 2011 Macs have a good track record, especially with the latest firmwares. The 2011 Mac mini has also been very welcoming to all varieties of SSDs and memory. I'm chugging along with 4 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS in one 2011 Mac mini (courtesy of LaCie Thunderbolt Little Big Disk) and the other has 1 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and 2 256GB Samsung 830s (also courtesy of LaCie Thunderbolt Little Big Disk).
     
  5. archangel37 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #5
    Well, far as I can tell, the lockups have more to do with the Sandforce firmware bug (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4973/...re-bug-causing-bsod-issue-fix-available-today) than any AHCI issues. And Tom's Hardware noted (as did Anandtech) that these crashes were more prevalent on Sandy Bridge machines (like the mini) than other machines. The Mini itself is great, and two of the updated firmware Electras also run fine. The problem is I can't update the firmware on the malfunctioning Electras because they don't work on my mini (two of them!). OWC's solution was to just send them in and no word on why it didn't work. Or I could just buy a new one and send in the old one for a 15% restocking fee. Because their drive can't be updated with their approved software under their conditions. Nice.
     

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