Samsung SM951 PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD In Mass Production

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., has recently announced that it has begun mass producing a high-performance, low-powered PCIe M.2 SSD, the SM951. The OEM drive is targeted for ultra-slim notebook PCs and workstations. It is compatible with both PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 2.0 interfaces. On PCIe 2.0 sequential reads can get up to 1,600MB/s and up to 1,350MB/s for writes, around 3x faster than current SATA based drives. When connected via PCIe 3.0 speeds can reach up to 2,150MB/s for read and 1,550MB/s for write. Random 4K read and write speeds can reach up to 130,000 and 85,000 IOPS respectively.

Samsung SM951-1

“We are helping to accelerate growth of the ultra-slim notebook PC market with the introduction of this energy-efficient, high-speed PCIe SSD,” said Jeeho Baek, Senior Vice President of Memory Marketing at Samsung Electronics. He added that, “We will continue to introduce next-generation high-density SSDs with improved performance and increased differentiation, as we further strengthen our business competitiveness in global SSD market.”

When utilizing a PCIe 3.0 interface, the drive achieves substantially higher energy efficiency, requiring only about 450MB/s per watt for sequential reading and 250MB/s per watt for sequential writing, which translates into a more than 50 percent of improvement in performance per watt over that of the XP941 SSD.

Samsung SM951-2

The SM951 is also the first SSD to adopt the L1.2 low power standby mode, which allows all high-speed circuits to be turned off when a PC is on sleeping or in hibernation. By utilizing the L1.2 level of standby operation, power consumption is drastically reduced – to under 2mW, about a 97 percent decrease from the 50mW consumed using a L1 state.

The SM951 and other Samsung PCIe SSDs will be using 10-nanometer class MLC NAND flash. Samsung will have the SM951 available in different SKU’s for those who need the AHCI interfaces and another for those who need NVMe support. Samsung’s SM951 comes in the 2280 M.2 form factor which is only about one seventh the size of a 2.5 inch SSD and weighs approximately six grams.  The SM951 lineup consists of capacities ranging from 128GB to 512GB.

10 comments

  1. Any info on when you might get your hands on one of these for a review?

  2. Been waiting a long time for a proper m2 ssd to slot in to an ultra m2 slot with pcie 3.0 x4 interface. It’s a shame it using 2d planar nand tho. Looks like we will be waiting another generation for 1TB, possibly 2TB, m2 ssd’s with 3d vertical nand. I think 1TB is the minimum needed to comfortably ditch mechanical HDD totally.

    Samsung has stated that they have already produced 2TB SSD’s using their current 3d nand tech. I’ll be happy if we can have 20-25 cents per GB 4TB drives so like 800-1000 for 4TB SSD in the next 4-5 years. 3d nand has such huge potential for growth. Since it uses a 40nm process samsung has stated that even 4 bit mlc cells are possible with endurance equal to 10nm class mlc still. I’m too lazy to do the math but the 850 pro uses 32 layer 2 bit per cell. S0 by simply doubling the layers to 64 layers and doubling the bits per cell you have a 4TB SSD already with the exact same amount of dies as a 1TB SSD. Assuming the addition of more layers isn’t terribly more expensive as samsung masters the process we should have 4TB drives close to the price of current 1TB drives.

    Samsung could also try using a 30nm process as a way to cut costs and get more dies on a wafer and 30nm class still has good endurance. They can build more layers per die, add more bits per cell, use a process shrink to shrink the size of dies without losing any density, fit more smaller dies onto a 2.5″ ssd if they utilize a process shrink.

    If Samsung can aggressively pursue all of those paths to increased ssd size and lower cost per GB than there is no reason that sanely priced 10TB ssd’s with advanced controllers and increased channels for insane speeds should be available and affordable to consumers in the next decade. Can’t wait for the day when SSD’s are the most common mainstream storage and mechanical HDD’s become these 40TB niche devices only used in enterprise and NAS.

  3. Hi, Les. I’m a professional stock and options trader. I want to buy an SSD, or two SSDs configuration for my new 8 monitor workstation: Core i-7 5960X, ASUS X99 E-WS, 2 GeForce GTX 980s Video Cards, etc. I was looking to buy Samsung 850 PRO(s), but now I’m thinking about PCIe SSDs.
    Will PCIe make any substantial difference to me? I’m not playing games, trading only. I’ve heard that for trading the random speeds are what maters, not the sequential speeds, and they are pretty much the same on SATA III and PCIe. If PCIe will still make a difference, would you recommend SAMSUNG XP941? Thanks.

    • That board has the PCIe 3.0×4 so your best bet IMHO would be the Samsung XP941 right now. We haven’t got word whatsoever on the timing of any retail release for this product. If you want to give me a day or two, I will check as there is a great deal of interest however.

    • Trading? Most of that setup is insane overkill for that. What a waste of money…

      • The hedge funds buying up FPGAs and SLC SSDs beg to differ. If your goal is to be able to click “buy” to place your odd lot orders, then yes, it’s overkill. If you’re running real-time, continuously-optimizing models with big kid money, then fast is never fast enough.

    • Hi Karen,

      I work as a high frequency portfolio manager at a small fund. I realize that your post is now a few months old, but a few points:

      -For backtesting and analytics, it absolutely pays to have a fast SSD. When I built my workstation a year and a half go, I went with one of the less expensive PCIe options (a 300gb OCZ Z-Drive R4, which was $2300). Now, you have plenty of cheaper PCIe options, and even some NVMe drives like the Intel 750 trickling out. Any of these will make a major difference if you’re dealing with bulk data or running a local database server.
      -Reliability is obviously key. I have tried running workstations with gaming cards, and it’s all well and good until the game-optimized driver that updates itself every few days (to be on the bleeding edge of performance) crashes during the trading day. This is not rare- gamers have different needs, and often the latest drivers will cause issues, which is fine for them. Get a much more reliable, stable, cheap, cool-running NVS card, like the NVS510 or older NVS450. I had 1 of each in my 8 monitor workstation, and they were just fantastic. They are not for gaming, but they’re exactly what you and I need.
      -On the CPU- I am a big, big fan of even a single-CPU Xeon E5 build. You can support a lot more RAM, which is again huge for backtesting and simulations. If you need more power, or might down the road, you can always get a dual CPU motherboard and add a second CPU later on.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Also, when approximately do you think this new SM951 will become available in the stores? Thank you.

  5. SM951 Mid March

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