The Samsung 950 EVO M.2 gets tested
Fashionably late we test the new M.2 super fast Samsung 950 PRO Series M.2 SSDs. Interesting stuff as these smaller form factors are now evolving from being "just as fast" as a regular SSD towards double, tripling, heck... even quadrupling that performance. It comes in a different package though, M.2. The M.2 interface is so much more capable as it can deal with way more bandwidth using PCI-Express lanes. As such, M.2 solutions are intended for enthusiast class motherboards. The 950 series M.2 SSDs are a stunning series of storage technology as they offer enthusiast class performance yet remain reasonable in pricing (€199,95 for the 256GB model).
These new M.2 units use the NVMe protocol and that means storage technology at hyper fast speeds while remaining competitive in pricing. Samsung will shock and awe you a little with these puppies as the 256GB model we test today is capable of up-to 2500 MB/s for reads and 900MB/sec (256GB model) or 1500 MB/sec (512GB) for writes. The Samsung 950 PRO SSD is Samsung’s first consumer-ready Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) M.2 form factor SSD with vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology (32 layers/128 Gb & stacked). Storage technology keeps advancing at the fast pace it does, the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply excellent as you can reach say 450 MB/s to 500 MB/sec on SATA3 which is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Next to that, over the past year, NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become much cheaper as well. Prices a year ago settled at just under 1 USD per GB. That was two to threefold two years ago. These days a good SSD can be found under 50 cents per GB. With parties like Samsung, Toshiba and Micro, the prices have now dropped by another 30%, you can spot SSDs for 30~40 cents per Gigabyte. NAND storage has gone mainstream and due to the lower prices, the volume sizes go up as well. Next to that the new trend is to be even faster. The Samsung 950 Pro series offers a little something of all these factors.
Samsung’s new 950 PRO M.2 product line is powered by the company’s new UBX controller. The unit follows a smaller M.2 2280 form factor so it will fit on most ATX motherboards capable of M.2 just fine. IOPS numbers are now reaching the 300K for read and 110K for writes marker (depends on volume size). At just one-tenth the weight of a traditional 2.5-inch SSD, the M.2 SSDs are ideal for users looking to upgrade their desktop or ultra-thin PCs with high-capacity, high-performance storage. You do need a modern motherboard with capable NVMe supported M.2 (PCIe x4 connected) interface though, please do check out your motherboard manufacturer for that. But ever since Z97/Z170 chipsets have been released, the mainstream to high-end class motherboards mostly all support it very well.
Yeah, have a peek, and then let's head onwards into this review.