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

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

It wasn’t so long ago that Samsung introduced the XP941 to oem and enterprise needs and didn’t feel it viable to market it as a retail item.  From our perspective there was a definite calling for that SSD but it definitely remained within the ideal of being a very niche item.  Sales would be for a very small market, comparatively speaking, and expected sales are definitely a determining factor as to whether hardware will reach store shelves or not.  Only recently, Samsung followed up with AHCI and NVMe versions of their SM951 M.2 SSD, the SM951 having the very same controller that we see in the 950 Pro.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 SSDE Both Sides

As we look at market trends today, introducing the 950 Pro M.2 SSD still appears to be for a very niche client, and definitely goes against Samsung’s previous marketing practices, but perhaps they see something we aren’t seeing.  Perhaps their ideal of the 950 Pro is that M.2 and NVMe will be a game changer of which they are front and center to supply that.  One thing is very evident; Samsung can keep prices of the newest most premium technology low because of their newest V-NAND memory which propels capacity skyward while pricing gets lower.  Add to this that Samsung’s V-NAND (at least for the time being) is proprietary to their own use.

Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M2 512GB SSD In System

Our report of the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD today introduces us to the ability to transfer data at amazing speeds (2.5GB/s) with pretty much a 0 footprint, as it takes up very little space.  Remember us saying that it is the size of a stick of gum and under 10 grams?  Add to this the fact that it can get as high as 353,000 IOPS as well.  So…having been in the field for some time and seeing some truly hot SSDs running that same performance, we have to ask… Where is the heat?  This is the beauty of NVMe in that it builds a new engine with fewer parts.  It is the NVMe Effect. Click on the picture to learn more…

Samsung NVMe Effect

Is this SSD worth the jump?  The 950 Pro does not come with a PCIe adapter so getting this SSD is limited to those with newer systems, or those willing to make the build.   It is an amazing SSD that will benefit those in the media space without limit.  It will definitely effect change to occur just a bit faster in the industry.  It will include the higher 1TB capacity before long, comes it at a very low price, has extreme SSD performance with little heat, and also has a 5-year warranty.  How can you go wrong?  Editor’s Choice!

Watch for our RAID report to be published soon enough with 2 and maybe even 3 Samsung NVMe M.2 SSDs!

Check on Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD Availability at Amazon!

Editors Choice-SSD copy Opt

Review Overview

Samsung 950 Pro Build
Throughput Speeds (2.5GB/s)
IOPS (300,000 IOPS)
Warranty (5 Year)
Availability and Pricing

NVMe Speed, IOPS and 5 Year Warranty

The Samsung 950 Pro provides great performance with a 5 year warranty, all the while maintaining a very small footprint. Pricing is good and this SSD is an ideal upgrade for the media professional

User Rating: 3.3 ( 13 votes)

51 comments

  1. 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Would it run on a x99 deluxe 3.1???

      • 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’.

      • 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

      • 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.

      • How did it go? 🙂

      • 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.

      • 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…

      • 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.

      • 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Atto disk benchmark performance drop: throttling?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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?

  9. anyone know by chance if this is the SDD dell is using in the new precision 5000 series – the 5510 – https://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?

  10. 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.

      • 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

    • 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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?

      • 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.

  13. 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!

    • 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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