Samsung 960 PRO NVMe SSD Review
By David Ramsey
Manufacturer: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Product Name: SSD 960 PRO M.2
Part Number: MZ-V6P512BW
Prices: 512GB: $330 (Amazon|Newegg), 1TB: $630 (Amazon|Newegg), 2TB: $1300 (Amazon|Newegg)
Full Disclosure: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. provided the product sample used in this article.
Samsung’s 950 PRO m.2 PCIE SSD set new benchmark records when we tested it here a few months back at Benchmark Reviews. The performance picture got even better we configured a RAID-0 array with two of these drives. Now they’ve introduced the new Samsung 960 PRO NVMe SSD, with upgraded NAND and a new controller, promising even more spectacular performance.
|Form Factor||m.2 2280|
|NAND||Samsung 48-layer V-NAND|
|Max. Read||Up to 3500MB/sec|
|Max. Write||Up to 2100MB/sec|
Solid State vs Hard Disk
Benchmark Reviews has championed SSDs over hard disks for many years, as we feel that even when prices were much higher than they are now, the superior performance was worth it. Now that SSD prices have come down dramatically, there’s little reason for any but the most basic computers to use a spinning hard disk as a primary drive.
However, we’re now in the middle of another transition: within the last 18 months or so, standard SATA SSDs have all run up against what used to be the performance province of only the higher-end drives: the bandwidth limitations of the SATA interface. This means that no matter how fast your SSD is, you’re never going to see more than about 550MB/s transfer rates unless you stripe multiple drives together in RAID-0.
Moving from SATA to PCI Express (PCIe) is the obvious solution, but it required different controllers, and many desktop systems, especially enthusiast systems, simply didn’t have the PCI-E lanes to spare. The introduction of Intel’s Skylake architecture added more PCI-E lanes, and the icing on the cake was the introduction of NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) to supplant the older IDE and AHCI protocols, which were designed for spinning hard disks and suffered from efficiency issues with fast SSDs.
The latest crop of PCI-E m.2 SSDs implementing the NVMe protocol promises vast increases in performance. Let’s see how this drive compares.