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Samsung 960 PRO NVMe SSD Review

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AIDA64 Disk Benchmark

Many enthusiasts are familiar with the Finalwire AIDA64 benchmark suite, but very few are aware of the Disk Benchmark tool available inside the program. The AIDA64 Disk Benchmark performs linear read and write bandwidth tests on each drive, and can be configured to use file chunk sizes up to 1MB (which speeds up testing and minimizes jitter in the waveform). Because of the full sector-by-sector nature of linear testing, Benchmark Reviews endorses this method for testing SSD products, as detailed in our Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing article. One of the advantages SSDs have over traditional spinning-platter hard disks is much more consistent bandwidth: hard disk bandwidth drops off as the capacity draws linear read/write speed down into the inner-portion of the disk platter. AIDA64 Disk Benchmark does not require a partition to be present for testing, so all of our benchmarks are completed prior to drive formatting.

Linear disk benchmarks are superior bandwidth speed tools because they scan from the first physical sector to the last. A side affect of many linear write-performance test tools is that the data is erased as it writes to every sector on the drive. Normally this isn’t an issue, but it has been shown that partition table alignment will occasionally play a role in overall SSD performance (HDDs don’t suffer this problem).

512GB MZ-V6P512BW SSD Read Results

As shown above, average read performance was over 2.5 gigabytes per second, with one odd blip near 3GB/s.

AIDA64 linear write-to tests were next…

512GB Samsung 960 PRO SSD Write Results

Write performance was very even: often, with SSDs, you’ll see initial very high performance followed by a sudden, dramatic drop as the data written overflows an SLC cache or other buffer. Here, the drop from a maximum of 1.9GB/s to an average of about 1.8GB/s is pretty small.

Comparing the average linear read and write speeds of recently-tested SSDs, we see that the 960 PRO handily beats its 950 PRO forebear, but loses out to the 950 PRO RAID.

Linear tests are an important tool for comparing bandwidth speed between storage products, serve to highlight the consistent-bandwidth advantages of SSDs, which don’t suffer the performance drop-off that HDDs do as the test proceeds away from the fast outer edge of the disk.

In the next section we use PCMark Vantage to test real-world performance…


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4 comments

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  1. Costea

    Which brand of SSD do you trust most?
    Samsung. My 850 evo, is running with the speed of the ram, in rapid mode. That’s fast enaugh! 2900 mb/sec, seq.write , on a8-7600, chipset a88x, ram at 1800 mhz.

  2. EricW

    This was definitely an upgrade to the 256GB 950 Pro I had not all that much for the 950 Pro 512GB. Hopefully we eventually start to see price savings with the additional layers.

  3. D Daniels

    Confused. How is it that a 3 to 5 times “performance improvement” equates to imperceptible real world benefits. Won’t windows load faster? Won’t game zone load times be slashed?

    If not, is it xpoint we should be expecting to achieve these goals?

    1. David Ramsey

      Easy: because most of the data transfers you’ll make are quite small, in the kilobytes-to-hundreds of kilobytes range.

      Say you’ve got a 250-kilobyte block of data to read. With a SATA SSD that can do 550 megabytes per second, you can get that data in about 1/2200th of a second.

      Now with a spiffy new m.2 NVME SSD that can sustain 2.5 gigabytes per second, that data transfer take 1/10,000th of a second. Can you tell the difference, sitting in your chair?

      Of course, there will aways be use cases where the difference _is_ perceptible. But booting Windows or loading game zones isn’t just about raw data transfer rates; there’s a lot of computation going on.

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