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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVME SSD Review (256/512GB) – The NVMe Effect

The NVMe Effect. Our report today explores Samsung’s newest 950 Pro NVMe M.2 SSD. Release of this SSD will see the first retail entry of any storage medium the size of a gum stick and weighing less than 10 grams, yet capable of moving data at speeds of up to 2.5GB/s. This is unparalleled by today’s standards and is 4 times faster than SATA. To the typical consumer, this may mean simply transferring movies, music and photos without having to get a coffee while we wait, but to the media professional, it is pure gold.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 512 and 256GB SSDs

NVMe adds lower latency and higher IOPS to the mix, which means the job gets started much quicker, and more jobs can be completed in a much shorter period. This is efficiency. To translate this into a typical work day, it means that media professional can complete work sooner, allowing more free time, or he/she can get more work done and reap the benefits through monetary gain. In its simplest form, this is what the Samsung 950 Pro was envisioned to do.

A great article to help us understand latency, IOPS and throughput just a bit better is, “SSD Throughput, Latency and IOPS Explained” in our Learning To Run With Flash Series of beginners SSD articles.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 512 and 256GB SSDs In System

SPECIFICATIONS

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD will be available initially in capacities of 256 and 512GB, but a 1TB version will be introduced soon enough. It is an NVMe SSD, equipped with Samsung’s newest V-NAND, and the 256GB version is capable of 2.2GB/s read and 900MB/s write throughput, while the 512GB capacity jumps to 2.5GB/s read and 1.5GB/s write transfer speeds. Similarly, the 256GB version is capable of 270K IOPS read and 85K IOPS write while the 512GB version reaches 300K IOPS read and 110K IOPS write.

The Samsung 950 Pro also contains AES 256-Bit encryption and an upcoming firmware release will also support TCG Opal and eDrive in the near future. The 256GB version has a power draw of 5.1W avg/6.4W max, while the 512GB version uses 5.7W avg/7.1W max. Both drop down to 70mW idle and support DEVSLP by reducing power to 2.5mW. Lastly, the 950 Pro firmware has thermal throttling enabled should the drive heat to a point that could damage data or components.

PRICING, AVAILABILITY AND WARRANTY

The 950 Pro should be available shortly after release of this report and MSRP is listed at $199 (256GB) and $349 (512GB). Check Amazon Now! It will include a 5-year limited warranty and is capable of a minimum endurance of 200TBW (terabytes written) for the 256GB and 400TBW for the 512GB version. It will include Samsung’s own NVMe driver that is easily installed and optimizes performance of the device.

950 PRO COMPONENTS

The Samsung 950 Pro is being released in a M.2 form factor (as shown here), and only in the 2280 length (80mm). The components are situated on one side of the green PCB and it weighs less than 10 grams. This SSD is intended to provide as close to a ‘0 footprint’ as possible.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 256GB SSD PCB

The controller of the 950 Pro is Samsung’s 3-core ARM-based UBX design and it has previously been seen on the Samsung 256GB NVME SSD that we reviewed. It has a model number of S4LN05A01-8030 and Our SSD Quick Search on the right of this page enables a search of similar SSDs with the same components and reviews, along with links to Amazon for a price check.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 SSD Controller

Samsung has renamed their 3D V-NAND to V-NAND for simplicity and this SSD contains V-NAND. This is MLC (multi-level cell) 32-layer 128Gb memory and the 256 GB capacity contains two 128GB chips (K9UMGY6SCA), while the 512GB version has two 256GB chips (K9PKGY8S7A).

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 SSD Memory 2

There is also a module of 512MB Low Power (LP) DDR3 SDRAM cache memory on board. Considering the back of the SSD is void of components, creating a 1TB capacity presents no issues whatsoever.

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