July 25th, 2013 by Josh Shaman
Samsung Magician 4.2 and Data Migration 2 Overview
Along with the release of the Samsung 840 Evo SSDs, the company is also updating its software suite which includes Data Migration software and more significantly, Samsung Magician 4.2. While Data Migration is designed as a simple solution for users who need to upgrade from their existing drive to their new Samsung SSD, the Magician software is a management suite for optimizing, tuning, and keeping tabs on the health of the SSD. Essentially, Samsung's goal is to make the upgrade process as simple a transition as possible so that a novice or even a first-time upgrader can easily accomplish the task.
Samsung Data Migration 2
Samsung's Data Migration 2 (SDM) is an extremely simple tool for transferring over all of your existing files and programs from your current HDD or SSD to a new Samsung drive. The process took us only about 20 seconds to set up. First, the SDM software scans the system for connected drives, and will show only the important partitions to the user. SDM then automatically adds the first partition, which generally contains a user's OS. Users can easily select other partitions by clicking on the graphics as necessary. SDM will also automatically adjust partition size, though users may adjust this according to their needs.
From there, SDM is ready to go. Once running, Samsung says it will take generally less than one hour to complete. In our case, SDM only took five minutes to complete as we cloned just under 40GB in a single partition - that yields a transfer rate of approximately 130MB/s. The process really was completely painless, and no doubt exists that a first-time upgrader could easily accomplish their task.
There is one new feature that Samsung has added in v.2 of SDM which is custom cloning. We didn't need to utilize this functionality, but some users may have an existing drive with a larger capacity than their new Samsung drive (ex. the user has a 1TB HDD and is cloning to a Samsung 840 Evo 500GB). In this case, the software helps the user identify and exclude files that they don't need.
Samsung Magician 4.2
Samsung Magician was updated about four months ago to v.4.0 which focused on a significant design revamp. The entire GUI was redesigned, and some new functionality was added. The software enables users to do simple tasks such as updating firmware, but it also provides more advanced features including the ability to set specific profiles according to which type of user you are. Users can select Maximum Performance, Maximum Capacity or Maximum Reliability. They can even create their own profile which can be adjusted as shown in the image below.
Magician also enables users to SecureErase their drive (which wipes the SSD in under a minute) and to over-provision to a recommended or user-selected percentage. Users can also benchmark their SSD or other devices such as a flash memory drive.
Perhaps the most interesting feature in Samsung Magician 4.2 is brand new, and it's called RAPID mode. RAPID mode utilizes up to 1GB of system DRAM as a cache for frequently-accessed data ("hot" data) to increase performance. RAPID mode is specifically designed for the Samsung 840 Evo SSD, though we were told the Samsung 840 Pro SSD will later gain support as well. Obviously, the implementation of DRAM as cache should have a fairly dramatic impact on results.
We evaluated performance using a 500MB sample in Crystal Disk Mark. Before we enabled RAPID, the Samsung 840 Evo 250GB achieved sequential rates at 510MB/s for read activity and 475MB/s for write activity. After enabling RAPID, the 840 Evo 250GB posted 483MB/s read and a massive 4x improvement to 2,035MB/s for writes. Next, we performed 4k testing. Before we enabled RAPID, the Samsung 840 Evo 250GB achieved 33MB/s for read activity and 78MB/s for write activity. After enabling RAPID, the 840 Evo 250GB posted 33MB/s read and 140MB/s write. Summing up that information, enabling RAPID mode produced little influence on read activity performance, but it created a substantial difference by driving write activity rates upward.