Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD Review (250GB/1TB)

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

SSD testing at TSSDR differs slightly, depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs. For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide. To see the best performance possible, the CPU C states have been disabled, C1E support has been disabled, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) has been disabled. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch. We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Sean Consumer Test Bench Core V51

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to those who jumped in specifically to help the cause. Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock for the motherboard and CPU and be quiet! for the PSU and cooling fans. Also, a big thank you to Thermaltake for the case and Kingston for the RAM. We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate of our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any single component. As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase through our links!

PC CHASSIS: Thermaltake Core V51
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K
CPU COOLER: Corsair H75
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet! Silent Wings 2
MEMORY: Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2400MHz
STORAGE: Samsung 850 Pro
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary 64-bit
IRST DRIVER: 14.8.0.1042

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software in use for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of Crystal Disk Info, TRIMcheck, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, PCMark Vantage, and PCMark 8. We prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER. 6.8.2

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

samsung-960-evo-250gb-cdi

In Crystal Disk Info we can see that the 960 EVO is supported. It boasts the latest NVMe 1.2 protocol and is operating under the PCIe 2.0 x4 transfer mode. It has read and write attributes, a working temperature sensor, and a power on and hours counter. There are also a few other interesting attributes, such as “Percentage Used” and “Media and Data Integrity Errors,” which could be useful in monitoring your drive. We can also see that today we are reviewing under firmware version 1B7QCXE7.

TRIMCHECK

We’ve covered TRIMcheck in the past. It is a great tool that easily lets us see if TRIM is actually functioning on a SSD volume in your system.

1TB Crucial MX300 RAID 0 trim

As can be seen in the screenshot above, TRIM is indeed working.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.05

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

250GB

samsung-960-evo-250gb-atto

1TBsamsung-960-evo-1tb-atto

In ATTO, both drives achieved their rated specs with ease. The 250GB model reached 3.2GB/s read and 1.6GB/s write while the 1TB model reached 3.3GB/s read and 1.9GB/s write. At the 16KB file size both drives seem to achieve their max bandwidth, while max read bandwidth is achieved at the 512KB file size.

10 comments

  1. This is a great review. Very detailed and well written, congrats! 🙂 Very “AnandTech” like, and that’s a compliment since I also love their geeky reviews.
    One question, if you don’t mind, since you surely have a lot of experience with SSDs:

    I own a Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard and a Intel 2500k CPU, overclocked to 4.4ghz. Yes, it’s 5 year old but to be honest I didn’t yet really feel the need to upgrade since the last 5 CPU generations were small performance upgrades, and this one still seems to be working great. I blame AMD for that of course, it’s the lack of competition that makes Intel not even try to revolutionize the market.
    Here’s the link for my motherboard specs: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V_PRO/specifications/

    I’ve been using a 120gb Vertex 3 Sata drive and it works great but the lack of space is annoying. Doom 2016 game, for instance, is 50gb alone so I had to put it on the HDD drive and the loading time takes forever.
    I know that my PCIe is only 1.0 x4 but I could buy a PCIe 3.0 x4 to M.2 adapter for cheap and it would be retro compatible, even if working at lower speeds. Is there a PCIe 2.0 x16 (graphic card length)with to M.2 adapter?
    Would I notice any real world difference if I upgrade from my Vertex 3 to a Samsung 960 Evo M.2 SSD with my current setup (with the adapter of course), or should I just buy a 500gb sata Samsung 850 Evo SSD?
    And I if go the 850 Evo way, will I notice any performance difference at all?
    Thanks 🙂

    Cheers

    Andre Mendes

  2. Hello,
    this is benchmark of a 960 evo m.2 256gb – why is so different (slow) about yours?

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6LqA7tts9LeOEpWbk1oeWRidm8/view?usp=sharing

    Thank you!
    C.

  3. This is like SSHD (HDD + 8GB of SSD Cache).
    960 EVO is like SSSLC (SSD + 13GB of SLC Cache)
    Write 20GB file on SSHD, it drops to 100 MB/s after 8GB.
    Write 20GB file on 960 EVO, it drops to 300 MB/s after 13GB, like any cheap SATA SSD.
    Just a drive to fool people in thinking they bought the greatest SSD of all time. You actually bought 13GB of fast storage + 237 GB of Kingston V300.
    Good job Samsung! You really know how to sell cheap products for hundreds of $$$.

    • Is it true for the read speed as well? I don’t think I’ll write more than 13 GB at once apart from when I am installing the OS. Can it read all 250 GB at 3300 MBps?

      • Read and write top performance will ever be reached very seldom and in very specific instances. I have yet to ever see any drive reach maximum performance during true transfer testing of files, although other tests have demonstrated this.

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