Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, world-leading producer of advanced memory devices, is announcing that it has begun mass production of the industry’s first NVMe PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) in the M.2 form factor for PCs and workstations. Samsung is also announcing that they are the industry’s first to begin shipping NVMe SSDs to OEMs for use in their PCs. Samsung’s new SM951-NVMe SSD attains the industry’s most advanced performance benchmark figures, as well as featuring amazingly low power consumption in standby mode, and has the most compact dimensions of any NVMe SSD.
Samsung had been producing an AHCI-based PCIe 3.0 version of the SM951 since early this year, and is now adding an NVMe version to further enhance their strong SSD lineup. This comes on the heels of the industry-first 2.5” NVMe SSDs for server usage in 2013. The new NVMe-based SM951 SSD is able to attain sequential read speeds of (up to) 2260MB/s, which is nearly 4X faster than a typical SATA-based M.2 SSD, which usually offers sequential read speeds of (up to) around 540MB/s. Sequential write speeds are stated as (up to) 1600MB/s, which again is 3X the performance of the SATA-based M.2 offerings, which clock in at (up to) around 500MB/s.
According to Jeeho Baek, Senior Vice President of Memory Marketing for Samsung, “Our new NVMe SSD will allow for faster, ultra-slim notebook PCs with extended battery use, while accelerating the adoption of NVMe SSDs within the consumer marketplace. Samsung will continue to stay a critical step ahead of others in the industry in introducing a diversity of next-generation SSDs, that contribute to enhanced user experience through rapid popularization of ultra-fast, highly energy-efficient, compact SSDs.”
For random read operations, the SM951-NVMe is able to attain (up to) 300,000 IOPS, which is more than 2X the (up to) 130,000 IOPS of AHCI-based equivalents, and more than 3X faster than the (up to) 97,000 IOPS of SATA-based SSDs. The SM951-NVMe is able to attain these amazing performance numbers by utilizing 4 X 8Gb/s PCIe lanes (PCIe Gen 3.0 X 4) of simultaneous data movement. This enables a data transfer rate of up to 32Gb/s, and maximum throughput of up to 4GB/s. This is a significant improvement over SATA-based M.2 SSDs and their 600MB/s theoretical maximum speeds.
Samsung’s new SM951-NVMe meets all M.2 form factor requirements: even when equipping chips on both sides of the PCB, the drive is still only 3.73mm thick, which is comparable to two nickels stacked on top of each other. At less than 7 grams of weight, these drives are lighter than those same two nickels, and only 1/10 the weight of a standard 2.5” SSD. The SM951-NVMe will be offered in capacity points of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.
The SM951-NVMe has also adopted the L1.2 low-power standby mode, which features all high-speed circuits being turned off while a PC is in sleep mode or hibernation. This L1.2 level of standby operation (as defined by PCI-SIG, the PCIe standards authority), helps the SM951-NVMe drastically reduce its power consumption to less than 2mW. This is a nearly 97% decrease as compared to the 50mW using the L1 state, which is currently the most widely-used low-power mode.
Looking to both the near-term and long-term future, Samsung intends to incorporate their next-generation 3D V-NAND technology into its NVMe SSD offerings, which will result in even higher capacities and even higher performance. Samsung also fully intends to maintain a fast-to-market pace of advanced SSDs to acknowledge increasing customer demand. This will help Samsung to continue its leadership in premium SSDs, and aggressive innovation will help continue to expand the mainstream SSD market segment.