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Samsung SSD 950 PRO Solid State Drive Review

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Samsung SSD 950 PRO Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes occurring after publication which might render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our rating specifically for the item tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Our first rating is performance, which compares how effective the Samsung SSD 950 PRO performs in benchmark operations against storage solutions. For reference, Samsung specifications suggest 2500 MB/s maximum reads and 1500 MB/s write speeds for this model. In our storage benchmark testing with 950 PRO, this M.2 solid state drive performed beyond the advertised maximum speeds and produced results 400% faster than the best SATA SSD’s previously tested. ATTO Disk Benchmark tests proved the 512GB Samsung SSD 950 PRO was good for delivering 2591 MB/s read speeds, and 1595 MB/s write speeds. CrystalDiskMark reported 2600 MB/s average sequential read speeds and 1547 MB/s writes using 32-queries working on 1-thread. Linear sequential testing with AIDA64 Disk Benchmark produced 2310 MB/s average read bandwidth, while continuous sequential writes averaged 1349 MB/s. AS-SSD Benchmark produced 1953 MB/s sequential reads, and 1444 MBps writes.

The 512GB Samsung SSD 950 PRO solid state drive features their 3-core UBX controller advertised to deliver up to 300,000 random 4KB read IOPS and 110,000 write IOPS. Using Iometer operational performance tests configured to a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O’s per each of four targets, our benchmarks produced 258,752 read IOPS and 94,110 write IOPS. These results give credibility to Samsung’s specifications for SSD 950 PRO. Obviously the PCIe bus plays a critical role in delivering impressive transfer speeds, but Samsung’s UBX controller last seen in the Enterprise-class SM953 SSD helps establish 950 PRO as a truly dominant consumer product.

Samsung-VNAND-SSD-950-PRO-M2-NVMe-Mockup

As to the question of whether Intel’s Z170 Skylake platform is a better choice over X99 Haswell computers, there are some subtle indicators to discuss. Z170 tests didn’t always generate the highest benchmark results, but typically performed to the same level as X99. The difference was so small, it would not be perceivable to even the most sensitive power user. Beyond the synthetic scores, we did see improved consistency from our Z170 tests. Taken together with the benefits of Intel’s Skylake architecture, Z170 is our favored choice of desktop platform.

950 PRO isn’t much to look at. Solid State Drives are typically low-visibility products; seen just long enough to install before they’re forgotten. With the introduction of the diminutive M.2 2280 form factor, now these highly-functional SSDs will become even less visible (and likely less fashionable). To Samsung’s credit, they’ve given the 950 PRO enough color to stand apart from the rest of the motherboard, but just barely. The only remaining visually appealing change they could possibly make is the addition of colorful anodized aluminum heat spreaders.

While construction is typically the strongest feature credited to the entire solid state product segment, M.2 SSDs don’t feature the same protective housing their SATA counterparts enjoy. Apart from the exposed components, Samsung does emphasizes quality with a generous product warranty. If there are ever any problems with Samsung SSD 950 PRO during the 5-year warranty period, end-users may visit Samsung Support or create a Service Request. As with other Samsung products such as 850 PRO, this warranty might later be increased to 10-years as yields improve.

As of October 2015, the Samsung SSD 950 PRO series launches in the following capacities and retail prices:

Description Capacity Model MSRP
950 Pro M.2 NVMe 256GB MZ-V5P256BW $199.99
512GB MZ-V5P512BW $349.99

The new Samsung SSD 950 PRO starts what will become a large movement towards the M.2 form factor, and will be the first of many more to support the soon-to-be standard NVMe protocol. More and more performance enthusiasts will undoubtedly leave SATA to move their primary storage to the PCIe bus, taking advantage of four times the bandwidth along with faster and more productive SSD controllers. The SSD 950 PRO is another pleasant surprise from Samsung, as they once again offer substantial improvements over previous offerings.

In conclusion, Samsung SSD 950 PRO delivers unparalleled performance for its price and ushers in a new generation of solid state drive products sure to become standard equipment on high-end computer systems and portable devices. While 950 PRO may not offer the industry’s least expensive price per gigabyte compared to other solid state storage devices, it’s still very much a value-driven product with very competitive pricing. Considering that no other SSD in this market segment can deliver sustained transfer speeds or operational performance anywhere near the same level, it’s nice to see prices are reasonable. Benchmark Reviews recognizes how well the Samsung SSD 950 PRO delivers top-end performance at a fair price, thus earning our Golden Tachometer Award.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Unbelievable 2591 MB/s reads and 1595 MB/s writes!
+ Produced 258,752 IOPS random reads and 94,110 writes!
+ 32-layer V-NAND Flash delivers 400TB written endurance
+ Native write acceleration – no compression used
+ Samsung 3-core UBX controller designed for NVMe protocol
+ 5-Year Samsung product warranty support
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

– NVMe is not widely available… yet.

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 9.00
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 8.25

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Which brand of SSD do you trust most?

NewEgg.com

 


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6 comments

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  1. Daniele Cosentino

    Hi. Why u used the adapter for the x99 deluxe and not the integrated M.2 Socket?
    I buught one of those but i couldn’t make it works on my x99 deluxe.

    It is not compatible with the M.2 X4 socket?

    1. Olin Coles

      Looking at their website, it doesn’t appear that the ASUS X99-DELUXE has an integrated M.2 socket. See for yourself: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/X99DELUXE/

      1. Eric Anderson

        The x99 Deluxe very much does have an integrated m.2 socket, and it even ships with a secondary extended pci-e x4 m.2 bracket.

        I’m having the same issue of it not being recognized in the BIOS, but the device seems to be recognized in Windows (running Windows 10).

        1. mangel

          Did you ever get the 950 pro to appear in your bios. I have the similar problem with the X99 Deluxe (1st edition).. Also nothing appears under NVME in the bios. Does boot into windows 10.

          The intel 750 series NVME does appear in both the boot section as well as the NVME section although the latter has no configurable settings.

  2. Chad

    Why does Crystalmark show such low 4K read speeds vs some of the other benchmarks? I have the 950 pro installed on a z170 Asus Hero VIII and I have that same issue. In fact, Samsung’s magician also reports about 208K with 4K IOPS read.

    1. David Ramsey

      That is an excellent question, and the only answer I have is “I dunno.”

      Hard disk drive performance is extremely repeatable: the platters have defined sectors, the drive may have a few megabytes of cache, but in general I can run various read and write tests all day long and see very little variance in the results.

      SSDs are something else entirely. They’re little “storage computers”, with multi-core processors, varying amounts of cache, and different strategies and internal protocols striving to balance performance with NAND durability. When I send a command to a hard disk, about all the controller does after a cache check is figure out which platter, track, and sector I want to deal with; when I send a command to an SSD, well, who knows what’s going on? It’s an evolving system and the various vendors don’t disclose the operational details for competitive reasons. Samsung doesn’t publish any details on the “UBX” controller they use on this drive, so all I can do is speculate.

      What this boils down to is:

      A. Running the same test multiple times can yield different results. Simple example: run a linear write test on a “clean” SSD, followed immediately by another run of the same test. The second iteration will show significantly reduced performance since the controller will have to erase each “sector” before writing to it the second time.

      B. Performance during a test can vary. Look at the AIDA64 linear read test on the Z170 and X99 platforms. Why are the results “smoother” on the X99? Again, who knows?

      Complicating the issue is the fact that this is our first NVMe SSD. Is this a factor? Will all NVMe SSDs show this relative to AHCI SSDs? Stay tuned! In the meantime all we can do is run the tests and report the results.

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