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Samsung 950 Pro Review

Samsung 950 Pro Review

During the second half of 2015 Samsung released their latest SSD, the 950 Pro. For a number of generations their drives were SATA based, by the time we hit the 850 Series mSATA and M.2 had started to appear in their product catalog but the 950 was the first drive to significantly exceed the limitations of those other connector types. Just last week we noticed we hadn’t reviewed the 950, so today we fix that issue, finding out just how fast M.2 can go when mixed with Samsung’s V-NAND. Welcome to our Samsung 950 Pro Review.

Samsung 950 Pro Review – Packaging and Software

Samsung-950-Pro-Review-box

The 950 Pro arrives in compact box with the SSD encased in plastic inside. There are no software discs, instead we head over to the Samsung website where we can download a few things. The first is a Samsung driver, optimised for NVM Express on this drive which replaces the standard Windows driver. The second is a data migration tool, normally for moving our OS to the drive however booting from a NVMe drive such as this is not supported by some motherboards (check with your manufacturer) and finally we have SSD Magician. This tool lets us monitor and maintain our Samsung SSD, including the ability to update firmware, erase the drive and check on items such as link speed.

magbase

Samsung 950 Pro Review – The SSD

Samsung-950-Pro-Review-ssdSamsung-950-Pro-Review-256gb

Samsung go with a black PCB on the 950 Pro and on this, the 256GB model, they install components on one side of the 2280 form factor device. A an information sticker is applied on top of the components, all Samsung branded. As we mentioned earlier in the article this is a NVM Express device (1.1 spec with PCIe being 4x) and our controller is the Samsung UBX. We’ve seen Samsung use V-NAND on a few devices now, essentially it stacks cells on top of each other, increasing density and performance. 512mb of LPDDR3 is also present and two models are available, 256gb and 512gb.

Samsung list performance as up to 2500mb/s read, 1500mb/s write with the 256GB being 2200/900mb/s. IOPS peak at 300k read, 100k write (512GB) with the 256GB model hitting 270/85k.  Samsung employ thermal monitoring and the drive supports all of the standard features we would expect including AES 256bit, TRIM and garbage collection.

MTBF is rated at 1.5million hours and TBW is 200TB for the 256Gb model, 400TB on the 512GB. Power use peaks at 7w and idle is 70mW with DEVSLP mode 2.5mW.

950p

Samsung 950 Pro Review – Performance

Key Test Specifications: Intel Core i7-5960X, ASRock X99 OC Formula, 4x4GB DDR4, Windows 8.1 64Bit. (mSATA testing via riser card, all drives use the highest capacity model available to us.)

Atto:

samsung-950-pro-review-atto

Crystal Disk Mark:

samsung-950-pro-review-crystal

Uncompressed HD Video:

samsung-950-pro-review-blackmagic1

Real World File Copy Tests:

samsung-950-pro-review-copy

Game Load:

samsung-950-pro-review-load

Samsung 950 Pro Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality of the 950 Pro we have no issues. In fact we’ve every confidence that the 950 Pro will be a very durable drive. Our experience with Samsung drives of previous generations is that they are rock solid, in fact we have only known one to die, one of their early generation drives sold under another manufacturers brand. V-NAND is now proven technology, having been in the market on the last generation product and  of course the other components such as the LPDDR3 cache makes use of more proven tech. We also like that Samsung have gone with a black PCB, fitting in on the style front with high end motherboards which this drive is likely to be used with.

The warranty too is good, 5-years, and we are big fans of the SSD Magician tool that Samsung provide for the drive. Firmware updates are quick and easy, just a few clicks and a reboot. Secure erase essentially the same and we get plenty of info on the drive as well as the option to run through optimisations.

As far as performance goes, the worst thing we could say about the drive is that it doesn’t quite match the performance of the significantly more expensive Intel 750 series (1.2TB). So when thats the worst we can say then things are great overall. Peak performance achieved the rated spec and more. There were no issues with sustained performance in large data read/write operations and real world tests such as large file copies finished significantly faster than SATA models and earlier generation M.2 devices.

Performance Award

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Samsung 950 Pro SSD
Author Rating
5

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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