Samsung Ready to Reassert SSD Leadership With Soon-to-be-released SM961, PM961, 960 PRO and EVO SSDs

Samsung has pretty much been the industry leader when it comes to SSDs for the last several years.  Micron and Intel have recently started producing their own SSDs featuring their own 3D NAND, which began to close the gap between themselves and Samsung as far as top-performing SSDs.  Samsung, ever the innovator, has moved to pull back ahead with its latest upcoming SSD offerings that feature their newest 48-layer V-NAND and an updated Polaris controller.

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The first two new models are the SM961 and PM961, which appear to be intended as OEM versions of the Samsung ‘PRO’ and ‘EVO’ retail product series.  The SM961 will utilize MLC flash, and the PM961 will utilize TLC flash (with SLC TurboWrite cache ?).  RamCity is reportedly already offering the SM961 for pre-order.  RamCity is listing capacity points of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB.  Pricing, which often changes quickly after official release, is showing to be a good bit below that of comparable capacity 950 PRO retail equivalents.

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The stated performance specifications are certainly impressive, and would represent a significant (25-50%) gain in almost all performance metrics thanks to the new 48-layer V-NAND and the newest Polaris controller.  Although the specs of OEM and retail versions of the same basic drive can differ, it would seem to make good business sense for any manufacturer such as Samsung to use the same basic drive to create OEM and retail versions that are basically identical, except for possible OEM-specific firmware versions, such as reducing write speeds a tad in order to prolong battery life in portable computing devices.

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Also reportedly in the upcoming product pipeline are 960 PRO and 960 EVO models.  While many awaited a 1TB version of the 950 PRO series, it would appear that Samsung has chosen to instead utilize the new 48-layer V-NAND to make a 1TB version as the 960 PRO.  A logical extension of this would be a 960 EVO, which would represent Samsung’s first retail M.2 PCIe 3.0 X 4 SSD utilizing TLC NAND.  One would expect a price point similar to that of the 850 EVO, yet with a significant performance boost via the faster PCIe interface.

Samsung logo clear backgroundIt took a while for SATA III 6Gb/s SSDs to get to the point of saturating the SATA interface performance-wise, and Samsung’s latest 48-layer V-NAND, combined with the improved Polaris controller and its ability to expand channel bandwidth, could create SSDs that begin to now saturate even the PCIe interface.  Samsung prides itself on being the industry leader, and they are certainly not resting on their laurels or previous wins and successes.  Watch for upcoming updates and reviews of these latest Samsung SSDs as review samples become available and they begin to hit the market.