Closer Look: Samsung SSD 950 PRO
Solid State Drive technology has been revolutionary, as it immediately delivers a very noticeable performance boost that surpasses upgrades to other system components. Samsung’s SSD 950 PRO is designed for the M.2 2280 form factor using Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), which means that performance enthusiasts with computers as small as ultra-slim notebooks all the way up to large desktop workstation PCs can benefit from the incredible speeds available across the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) 3.0 interface.
With the compact M.2 form factor now widely available on most devices and motherboards, users can take advantage of the SSD-optimized NVMe protocol implemented into Intel’s X99 and Skylake Z170 platforms to unleash incredible PCIe bandwidth and lower latency from Samsung 950 PRO. Portable systems will benefit from the added power savings, which translates into an increased battery life and potentially reduce operating costs.
Samsung Magician 4.8 software, which will debut with this launch, allows the Windows computer to further enhance performance by processing data on a system level using unallocated PC memory (DRAM) as a storage cache. Samsung Magician features a DRAM usage algorithm optimized for maximum memory available for RAPID mode. This algorithm utilizes up to 25% of system memory for RAPID mode, so a system with 16GB memory will use up to 4GB for Samsung RAPID storage cache.
Unlike SATA-based SSDs that use a metal enclosure to protect the sensitive electronics inside, M.2 SSDs lack the footprint to dress up the product with decals. There’s just enough room for product labels to be placed over the NAND, although with high-density components the entire backside of the PCB is completely bare (see above).
For those desktop computer systems without a native M.2 port, you’ll need an M.2-to-PCIe adapter for a 4x or better slot and a motherboard with NVMe support. The NVMe protocol improves upon random and sequential performance over 3rd-generation SATA 6 GB/s interfaces utilizing the now-legacy Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI).
Samsung SSD 950 PRO is available in 512GB and 256GB storage capacities, with the 512GB version delivering sequential read/write speeds of up to 2,500 MB/s and 1,500 MB/s. Using the well-known Samsung UBX controller, random read performance reaches 300,000 IOPS, with write speeds up to 110,000 IOPS. Samsung provides the 512GB SSD 950 PRO with a lengthy five-year product warranty, or 400 TBW (Total Bytes Written).
In the next few sections we’ll test benchmark performance with the Samsung SSD 950 PRO…