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

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time-consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as Xbox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 NVME VANTAGE TOTAL SCORE

Both versions of the Samsung 950 Pro did extremely well in PCMark Vantage testing and surpassed the 200, 000 point mark, something very few other SSDs have done.  Both had in excess of 5 out of 8 of the tests surpass 1GB/s data transfer speeds with the high speed on both tests being 1.7GB/s during Windows media Player testing.

256GB

Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB M2 PCMark Vantage

512GB

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512GB SSD PCMark Vantage Score 2

IOMETER

Iometer is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It is typical for our enterprise reviews, actually most enterprise reviews of any SSD review site, but we thought we might use it here just to see the highest we could reach.  This is not steady state testing.

512GB READ IOPS

IOMeter 4K Read 353K IOPS

512GB WRITE IOPS

IOMeter 4K Write 105K IOPS

We thought we might throw in these IOMeter results, solely for the fact that the 512GB version hit a high of 353,000 IOPS and this is well above listed specs.  Additional results for bandwidth and the 256GB version were unremarkable and displayed results similar to what we have seen in the several other completed benchmarks.

  • John Stevens

    curious if on the ASUS Z170 Deluxe if you use the M.2 port and the PCIe card that come with the board if you can raid 0 two 512 GB 950 Pros together and boot form that drive.

    • Nick Dedman

      From what I remember from the manual, yes you can.

      • Jim Vogts

        Les. How are you s e curing the M.2 to the motherboard.
        I see the screw but ASRock doesnt provide the holes for the screw.
        Are you customizing this yourself?
        I need the PCI e 1X slot so before I even try to secure this I just wanted to hear how you are doing this.

        Thanks

    • No I dont believe you can unless that board, like the ASRock Extreme 7+ Z170, has Intel RST built right into the BIOS to accomodate for that boot; I believe only ASRock has tackled this but might be wrong. That is what makes this board so special.

      • Edward Escamilla

        can you check and reply it should be able to the Asus deluxe boot? as it has NVME boot support

      • It has NVMe support for a drive in the M2 slot, not a RAID configuration. For the NVMe setup you are speaking of to be bootable, it needs to be tackled as a RAID boot at the UEFI level. I may be wrong but believe only ASRock has tackled this by including SRT in their UFI. I am using that right now.

      • Edward Escamilla

        how did you configure you bios on the Asrock deluxe to boot from this M2 slot ? Are you using WIN 10?
        Any lessons learned to get it to recognize ? Thank you for your time

      • There is no configuration necessary; simply plug it in and install your OS. It should be recognized immediately. Are you using this board? If so, read the manual to understand that one needs to match the right storage with the right slot. For instance, the first M1 slot is tied into the first 2 Intel SATA 3 slots (0/1) and both cannot be used simultaneously UNLESS you configure the M.2 to bypass that through the UEFI.

      • GBLE

        Would it run on a x99 deluxe 3.1???

      • Daniele Cosentino

        No way to make this work on x99 deluxe. Recognized one time after 5 reboots…installed with brackets, everything tried. Never seen in BIOS, seen twice in the OS, installed driver and at random disappears freezeng the system. Latest 1901 bios

        i m going to return this and buying a cheaper 850 pro

      • Why anyone still jumps at those boards amazes me. I have heard heartache after heartache with respect to that company and M2 SSDs. ASRock…plug and play…simple as that. Right now I am playing with and testing 3 NVMe drives as a boot device in the ASRock Extreme 7. You cannot do this with any other board in the world. Meanwhile, people frustrate themselves trying to get one drive working with ‘those boards’.

      • otto

        Hi i have right now a 950 pro windows 10 and a 951 ahci windows 8,1running on my x99 a asus board and it works great

      • Louis Kleiman

        Well, I am running one 950 Pro on my ASUS Z170 Deluxe right now under Windows 10. Performance is amazing, setup was easy — no need to touch anything in the UEFI for me. I’m about to add a second 950 Pro in RAID 0 and jump to ludicrous speed. I’ll post a follow up when it is done.

      • Rune Jeppesen

        How did it go? 🙂

      • Louis Kleiman

        It was slightly tricky to set up, but I’m running strong now. Sequential benchmark reads are 3GB/s+, and Sequential writes are the same at high queue depths and ~1.5GB/s at lower queue depths. I believe some of these speeds are capped by the PCI 4x interface.

      • Jim Vogts

        Les explain how you are securing the M.2,
        I see the screw but do not see a receptacle on any ASRock or Supermicro board I own.
        Just curious how you secure it on the PCB…

      • State of Affairs

        I believe some of Gigabyte’s Z170 boards have two M.2 slots onboard (e.g., GA-Z170X-UD3). From what I read in the manuals, these slots can be set up in RAID mode. But I need to double check.

      • ale squatter

        Can I use thi 950pro on MSI GE72 2QD?

        specifications from manual:
        2x SATA Gen 3 M.2 Slot
        1x SATA Gen 3 M.2 & PCIe 2.0 x2/ x4 Combo Slot

        spec from msi:
        2 x M.2 Socket 2 for B Key Type 2280
        1 x M.2 Socket 3 for M Key Type 2280

        thanks!

  • Cape Dave

    This thing is so awesome I am going to need to get a computer to put one in! I currently have an iMac so no way I am going to mess with that.

  • Ottoore

    Atto disk benchmark performance drop: throttling?

    • No… I considered this and it would occur elsewhere if that were the case, especially in PCMark 8 testing.

  • Steve

    Does Samsung supply Windows 7 drivers for this? I had a Intel 750 with the Intel drivers working ok in Windows 7 as my boot drive. Had to dump it though because it took Intel way to long to release a updated firmware to fix performance issues.

    • They only supply the NVMe driver as discussed and we cannot answer as to whether that is Win 7 compatible or not. Question is submitted though.

      • Steve Beck

        Thank you, look forward to hearing an update on comparability with win 7.

      • Steve

        I see name drivers that only install from a exe but I need stand alone driver to make it bootable with win 7. Don’t want to order one till its confirmed

  • venovus

    is it going to work well any laptop with this spec: M type, M.2 sata, 80mm?

    • No it will not. This is a NVMe SSD and not AHCI so getting it to work on older chipsets where NVMe is not integrated may be tricky. As well, because NVMe is so new, things can get a little tricky from one situation to another.

      To clarify, this is not a plug and play upgrade for older systems that may have used M2 AHCI SSDs.

  • Nils Sabelström

    Les, would it be possible for you to check if bootable raid 0 would actually work with the gigabyte boards GA-Z170X-UD3 or UD5? As State of Affairs said they say that you can raid them at uefi level, and it would seem like it’s possible, but I don’t think it says whether they will be bootable..

    Do you have a contact person at gigabyte that you could ask?

    I am seriously considering getting a skylake build for the sole purpose of raid0 2x 950 PROs (before I was considering trying to custom firmware the ahci sm951s into NVMe), but it’s has a bit of a hefty price tag, and I’d want to be sure it would work.

    I’d prefer not to add another 150usd to get the asrock board.. which is the difference here in Japan.

    • Contacted Giga and awaiting return.

      • Nils Sabelström

        Huge thanks!

  • Aris

    Is it worth an upgrade from 512gb XP941 to 512gb 950 PRO on a X99 system?

    • That depends what your usage pattern is. If you are a typical PC user, not a chance but if you are a media professional who needs that extra speed…well then.

  • AquaVixen

    Am I misunderstanding this or are you not using the Raid-0 M.2 function of the new Z170 platform for this test? You’re only testing single-drive performance for some reason? I’m confused. Why not test “the ultimate configuration” so we can really see what this can do?

  • John Curtis

    anyone know by chance if this is the SDD dell is using in the new precision 5000 series – the 5510 – http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=xctop551015us&model_id=precision-m5510-workstation&c=us&l=en&s=bsd&cs=04 I cant seem to get a direct answer from the sales chat so just wondering if anyone else maybe knew?

  • Badelhas

    Great article, cheers!
    Do you believe its worth it to upgrade to the 256Gb version when coming from, say, a vertex 3 sata SSD? Will we see real world gains ?

    • Your real world gains will be determined by your need for speed. If you simply surf the web, email and compile a doc every now and then, you will see no gain whatsoever. On the other hand, if you are a graphics professional or even one who works in manipulating media….you will see worlds of difference.

      • Badelhas

        Thanks for your input.
        I am mostly a gamer so now “manipulating media” whatsoever. But regarding things like: opening 40 Chrome Tabs at once, booting speeds, loading game speeds… stuff like that. Do you believe it’s worth it or did the big jump in performance for me came when I upgraded from a HDD to a SSD?

        Cheers

    • Jim Vogts

      I process media and coming from regular SATA III SSDs see a marked improvement.
      Make sure to contact motherboard manufacturer and asmk for screws to attach the M.2.
      ASRock does this when you buy thier Extreme series.
      Nobody else I am aware of does this.

  • Scott Inwood

    I just built a new desktop with, Gigabyte H170-HD3 and Samsung V-NAND SSD 950 Pro M.2 NVM Express 512GB, loaded Windows 10 Pro, Latest Bios,drivers, loaded Samusung NVMe driver from website. Problem is from Power on to Windows login screen take about 55 seconds, first 10 seconds is POST. any suggestions. It seems fast once booted

    • What driver are you using? Samsung’s is here:

      http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/downloads/software/Samsung_NVMExpress_Driver_rev11.zip

      There is still no reason to start like that, however.

      • Scott Inwood

        Les, Yep that’s the one i am using, it was slow before i even loaded the driver, dri. I have built heaps of computers with normal Samsung 256Gb Pro SSD and the login screen is ready within a blink after POST. Is there any Bios setting i need to change for M.2 to work properly.?

      • I am wondering if something went wrong with the installation…not the drive.

      • Scott Inwood

        Les, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. It’s now fixed, here what i think was wrong… I installed another standard 256GB SSD and all boots fast, so i reinstalled on M.2 drive and all is now working. When i originally installed i had a second 2TB SATA hard drive attached, it was picked up as drive 0 and M.2 drive as drive 1, so with the new install i disconnected the 2TB drive until install complete. The other thing i noticed on new install was a partition called EFI System which was not on original install. So for anyone else out there, install windows with only one drive first then add secondary drives.
        Thanks for you help.

      • Excellent!!! Great to see things work!

  • Ahmad Alsaleem

    I just got the 256G. It shows 109G left after installing windows 8.1 64-bit. All folder sizes total (in C:) 11.5G!! I installed driver but same. Is it device defect? (BTW, it is very hot) MOBO is Supermicro X10SDV.

    • Is it a fresh install or upgrade? If it is not fresh, you have such things as a previous version and install files backed up which would cause such. It still seems a tad excessive though. As for heat… an M2 is noticed as hotter when in use as there is no protective casing on it like a typical notebook SSD. How is the performance?

      • Ahmad Alsaleem

        it is a fresh install. I removed all partitions when re-installed. The performance is good. With ATTO, it reached 2150MB/s on reads.
        The install files wouldn’t reach 100G, would they? Windows is already consuming 11.5G.

  • David Bubb

    I am looking for an enclosure for this drive (to usb) so I can copy my 256 drive to it. All enclosures I find are B key or B+M key. Can’t find a M key which this connector is. Are there any out there that I just can’t find? If so, point me in the right direction please! TY!

    • Mitch

      there would be no point in buying a an expensive drive like this and then sticking it in a usb enclosure. The USB interface would limit the speeds lower than even the sata m.2 drives can handle. look at the Samsung 850 series of m.2 drives. They are much cheaper and will also be limited by the USB interface but only slightly.

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