Samsung has launched its next-generation series of M.2 PCIe SSDs, to improve storage performance in new laptops, tablets and desktop computers. They boast some of the fastest transfer speeds achieved in commercial SSDs.
The range is led by the 960 PRO, available in configurations from 512GB up to 2TB. It is joined by the lower-cost 960 Evo, offered in storage capacities ranging from 250GB to 1TB. Both of the SSDs are based on PCIe 3.0 x4 technology and use the NVMe protocol to transfer data.
The drives use Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology to increase the data density of each NAND module. Samsung has added more layers of modules by stacking them vertically, allowing it to increase capacity without introducing a new fabrication process this year. This has enabled the new 2TB option on the 960 PRO.
Samsung claims the 960 PRO is the world’s fastest M.2 NVMe SSD. It has peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of 3,500MB/s and 2,100Mb/s respectively. Random read and write operations per second (IOPS) is rated at up to 440,000 and 360,000 respectively. The 960 EVO isn’t so fast but remains a very capable drive. Its peak sequential read and writes speeds are 3,200Mb/s and 1,900Mb/s respectively. Its random read speed is up to 380,000 IOPS and its random write speed up to 360,000 IOPS.
Samsung’s SSDs have gained a reputation in the industry for being some of the highest quality drives available. Samsung hopes to continue this with the introduction of the 960-series. Beyond targeting PC enthusiasts looking for the best performance available, Samsung also sees the range appealing to users looking for small but fast high-bandwidth storage solutions.
The 960 PRO and 960 Evo are ideal for use when very large amounts of data have to be transferred or loaded in a short amount of time. They could considerably reduce the time required to load 4K video for processing, perform analytics on big-data or load a game from storage. The drives come with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
“For more than 30 years, Samsung has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible to deliver innovative consumer memory experiences,” said Samsung Senior Vice President of Memory Branded Product Marketing Un-Soo Kim. “Our V-NAND technology for NVMe-based storage products is our most recent advancement in the NVMe era.”
NVMe is a new storage protocol built to succeed old standards such as SATA and IDE. SATA remains the dominant way of connecting storage devices to motherboards but cannot exceed transfer rates of 600MB/s. This is because its underlying technology, AHCI, is optimised for spinning hard disks rather than new solid state drives.
NVMe has been built from the ground up for SSDs. It connects to the motherboard over PCI lanes, enabling much greater performance than any previous standard. NVMe is responsible for the recent rise of extremely high performance SSDs, enabling gigabytes of data to be transferred in under a second.
Samsung’s 960 PRO and 960 Evo SSDs will go on sale worldwide starting in October. The 960 PRO will start at $329.99 for the 512GB version and the 960 Evo at $129.99 for a 250GB model. Both are likely to appear in high-end PCs next year.