Samsung SM951 M.2 PCIe SSD Review (512GB)

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.0 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. Performance is virtually identical, regardless of data sample so we have included only that using random data samples.

Samsung SM951 512GB CDM

Similar to the results we got with the Intel 750, Crystal Disk Mark shows a bit lower sequential speeds. Read maxes out at 1,760MB/s and writes reach 1,586MB/s. 4K QD1 read and write speeds are similar to other high-end SATA SSDs reaching 50MB/s read and 163MB/s write.

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.7

The toughest benchmark available for solid state drives is AS SSD as it relies solely on incompressible data samples when testing performance. For the most part, AS SSD tests can be considered the ‘worst case scenario’ in obtaining data transfer speeds and many enthusiasts like AS SSD for their needs. Transfer speeds are displayed on the left with IOPS results on the right.

Samsung SM951 512GB AS SSD Samsung SM951 512GB AS SSD IOPS

While not the highest score ever achieved by a single SSD, the Samsung SM951 reached an impressive overall score of 2007. Both read and write speeds follow Crystal Disk Mark as they are a bit lower than ATTO’s results. Reads max out at 1,965MB/s and writes hit 1,508MB/s. In terms of IOPS we can see it is able to hit well over the 90K rating to 175K for read and85K write!

This AS SSD Copy Bench test is a true to life evaluation of performance as AS SSD creates three files (ISO/Program/Game), and simply moves them from one part of the SSD to another, recording their top speed and total transfer time. The best speed of 1,502MB/s was achieved via the ISO test which shows full performance saturation on the write side of the transfer, which is very nice to see.

Samsung SM951 512GB AS SSD Copy

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL

Anvil’s Storage Utilities (ASU) are the most complete test bed available for the solid state drive today. The benchmark displays test results for, not only throughput but also, IOPS and Disk Access Times. Not only does it have a preset SSD benchmark, but also, it has included such things as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are very simple to understand and use in our benchmark testing.

Samsung SM951 512GB Anvil

While providing us another look at performance, Anvil Storage Utilities shows overall, they are similar to that of our other tests. An overall score of 9,487 was achieved, which simply triumphs that of the previous XP941’s score. Let’s move on to Iometer and see what we get.

IOMETER

Iometer is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It was originally developed by the Intel Corporation, however, they discontinued work on the program. In 2003 it was re-launched by an international group of individuals who are now continuously improving, porting and extend the product that is now widely used within the industry. This is a very powerful benchmarking tool and we are just now starting to integrate it into our consumer reviews. At this point in time we are going to be running a 4KB random workload at QD32 for 30 seconds and show the average to measure performance.

Samsung SM951 512GB Iometer QD1 + QD32 30 SecondsHere we can see that the SM951 was able to maintain a high of 180K IOPS for read and for about 23 seconds maintain just over 100K IOPS for write. However, once the test continues you can see that it hits steady state write performance fairly quickly.

Samsung SM951 512GB Iometer 10 Min QD32

After about 30 seconds the write IOPS performance drops to around 10K IOPS and holds steady throughout the 10 minutes of testing. So, as long as you aren’t doing much high QD writes to the SSD, you should be set when it comes to performance. 180K read IOPS at QD32 is very nice, but so is the 12K QD1 IOPS performance. Let’s move on to some real world application benchmarks and see how it performs.

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skeptomenosellinCamilo UribeArturLes@TheSSDReviewMuthukumar Natarajan Recent comment authors
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Mike
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Mike

How does Samsung consistently end up on top of all other ssds? You have all these major players, Intel , Crucial , Toshiba , SanDisk. Every now and then someone gives them a challenge, but they seem to always end up back on top. Is it there controller, nand, firmware, controller/nand, what?
And if you raid 0 two sata SanDisk extreme pros can you get
the same consistency bandwidth as one of these m2 drives?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Samsung is a marketing Goliath. Because they are the largest tech company in the world (selling 4 cell phones and 2 TVs every second of the day), they have the resources to sink into their products. People buy Samsung SSDs just for the name because they recognize that name and trust it. Don’t get me wrong; the other companies are giants in their own right and, given the right marketing tactics, could compete with Samsung. They just aren’t there yet…or maybe they just haven’t made that right step. Want an example? Intel is the worlds top CPU. Could they not… Read more »

Mike
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Mike

Thanks that was a very good explanation. But what about the second question? If you raid 0 two sata SanDisk extreme pros can you get
the same consistency bandwidth as one of these m2 drives? The SanDisk had half bandwidth 200-250, so times 2 400-450 could it compete. I only ask because I have a old motherboard with no more pcie slots.

Les@TheSSDReview
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No the SanDisk RAID would not come close. Even with 100% incompressible data, this drive transfers data at speeds of 1.9GB/s read, 1.5GB/s write and 175K IOPS. This SSD is a blessing for those working in 4K media where a minimum of 1.4GB/s is necessary. I always speak of the importance of understanding ones need however and, with that, matching the right SSD with the task at hand. Does the typical PC user need this or will they ever understand its abilities? Absolutely not…but it is still sweet though isn’t it?

Diego Valenzuela Ossa
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Diego Valenzuela Ossa

today samsung evo 850 is technically the best deal for price and quality. and probably going for this SM951 card next year. my choice to buy the model I had wasn’t actually based on the brand name

Whydoyoucloseyoureyes
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Whydoyoucloseyoureyes

not a single review site has tested boot times with this disk. not one!!!

Les@TheSSDReview
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Boot times differ for the most part by seconds and cannot be measured accurately as each system is different. The importance of boot times is seen between the hard drive and the SSD. To compare SSD boot times is a defeating task as the boot time, for the most part, is based on disk access times for which most SSDs are a fraction of a ms different.

Whydoyoucloseyoureyes
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Whydoyoucloseyoureyes

thank you for the feedback! but there are cases where boot time tested on a specific motherboard can reveal quite a difference, for instance the intel 750 ssd has the slowest boot time of any high end ssd, while the sm951 supposedly has the absolute fastest of all consumer ssds. like several seconds difference actually.

http://techreport.com/review/28050/intel-750-series-solid-state-drive-reviewed/5

Les@TheSSDReview
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I understand your point and appreciate the work that my friends at TechReport do. I have had every one of those SSDs in use in one system or another in one point in time or another and I have never experienced a 30 second boot. In fact, my system optimization is always the same and my start times are typically 15-20 seconds when fully optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide. There are VAST differences in boards and, as such, a significant start time difference will be experienced between newer NVME compatible boards and those of just yesterday that relied on… Read more »

Steve W
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Steve W

It would be interesting to understand a bit more about this variability in boot time. Dust off the ol’ SAS program and collect a large amount of data and get real nerdy with it!

Sean Webster
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I did, I booted off this SSD in about 7-8 seconds as stated under the bootability section in the review on the first page. The Intel 750 booted similarly as other SSDs as well when I had it.

Whydoyoucloseyoureyes
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Whydoyoucloseyoureyes

i had the 750, it booted real slow, like stupid slow compared to my old 120gb corsair. i have the 850 pro now and its insane compared to the 750.

Also i could not install hackintosh on my 750 which sucks , but hackintosh does have sm951 support 🙂

I also have the asrock extreme6 so i can buy the sm951 and use it if i needed, but tbh the 850 pro in daily usage is just as fast. and the sm951 has throttling issues. try placing a fan over it and see if performance increase?

Mikac
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Mikac

booted in 10 sec (i5+DDR 1600 Mhz+sm951 AHCI)

xyvyx
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xyvyx

I posted my 2nd boot on Youtube the day I received the drive… sorry the video quality on my phone sucks, but you can see how long it takes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFyBqKCXkc

If you want to see even faster Samsung drives in a 4-way mirror (2 column, 2 copy in Storage Spaces), look at my last post here… fastest SSD config I’ve ever seen:

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ad5fe5bc-715d-418d-92a4-3bdb94eb7948/pcie-ssd-storage-spaces-huge-read-performance-drop

Eric
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Eric

Hi Les,

Thanks for the review.

If you’re interested, there’s a newer version of AS-SSD (v1.8.5608.42992).

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thanks! WE are looking at that right now and deciding when we want to move it in to our reports.

allesichmacheichmacheesfurmich
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allesichmacheichmacheesfurmich

What is the issue with this thing that potentially bricks it with a secure erase?

mugenmundo
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mugenmundo

I would like to upgrade my Vaio pro 13 pcie SSD samsung xp941 to the new sm951 would this be compatible?

Les@TheSSDReview
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The AHCI version would be yes.

Muthukumar Natarajan
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Muthukumar Natarajan

Is this tested? Especially, does the SONY VAIO Pro 13 boot from SM951 (512GB)? Could you please point to anywhere wherein someone has it actually tested and the result available?
I know, technically it should work, but don’t want to take a chance while I buy.
Many Thanks!

Les@TheSSDReview
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Of course it will work but I would go for the newest 950 pro now.

Muthukumar Natarajan
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Muthukumar Natarajan

Sorry, I too know that technically it should work, but I was more looking for actual experience, especially regarding whether it Boots.

Also, regarding the 950 Pro, I know it is based on NVMe, whereas the SONY VAIO Pro supports only AHCI as far as I know. So when you recommend 950 Pro for SONY VAIO Pro, how is it going to work?:
1. By itself? (I wonder how) _OR_
2. Any BIOS Update available for SONY VAIO Pro for NVMe support? _OR_
3. Is 950 Pro by any chance backward compatible with AHCI (again, Bootable?)

Thanks!

Les@TheSSDReview
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Woops my apologies; 950 pro will not work and the SM951 (AHCI version) will.

Artur
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Artur

SM951 will not work in Pro13 people don’t waste your time and money like me. XP941 is best you can get for Pro 13 tried both in my Pro 13 other people having same problem with SM951 won’t work as bootable partition!

Artur
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Artur

SM951 AHCI I mean

Camilo Uribe
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Camilo Uribe

Why the SM951 AHCI not works in the vaio pro13 ? thanks.