For over 70 years Samsung has continued to innovate and bring the world to a better place through technology. I especially love their breakthrough with storage technologies such as 3d NAND. They were the first to do this in the industry. The storage industry has become affordable in the SSD market but is trending towards NVMe as a replacement.This is faster and can reach GB/s rather than MB/s. It does this by bypassing the ACHI protocol and pushes the boundaries of what basic SSDs can’t. I will be looking at the 512GB 950 PRO variant of Samsung’s NVMe solution. Let’s see how fast this drive can go to really showcase its speeds, and why NVMe is the next standard.
The specifications are as follows:
Up to 2,500 MB/s
Up to 1,500 MB/s
Samsung V-NANDSamsung 512 MB Low Power DDR3
Random Read (4KB, QD32):Up to 300,000 IOPS (Thread 4)Random Read (4KB, QD1):Up to 12,000 IOPS (Thread 1) * Performance may vary based on system hardware & configuration
Random Write (4KB, QD32):Up to 110,000 IOPS (Thread 4) * Random Write (4KB, QD1):Up to 43,000 IOPS (Thread 1) * Performance may vary based on system hardware & configuration
Samsung UBX Controller
AES 256-bit for User Data EncryptionTCG Opal Family Spec and eDrive(IEEE1667) to be supported by FW update
Auto Garbage Collection Algorithm
1500G , duration 0.5m sec, 3 axis
32ºF – 158ºF
PCIe 3.0 x4 (up to 32Gb/s) NVMe 1.1
512 GB* *Actual usable capacity may be less (due to formatting, partitioning, operating system, applications or otherwise)
*Average: 5.7 W, Idle : 70MW * Actual power consumption may vary depending on system hardware & configuration
1.5 Million Hours Reliability (MTBF)
5 Year Limited Warranty or 400TBW Limited Warranty
Dimensions (W x D x H)
3.16″ x 0.09″ x 0.87″
Magician Software for SSD management
Samsung sent the 950 PRO in a standard shipping box, but was well packaged. The unit arrived with no damage.
The accessories include:
- V-NAND SSD manual
- 950 PRO NVMe SSD
The 950 PRO is a m.2 drive, and plugs into any m.2 slot if available on your motherboard. Installation is very simple, and consists of one screw after plugging the card into your m.2 slot. I appreciate the color scheme here, as most m.2 drives are green or basic. The black and red scheme is excellent. The innovative V-NAND technology in the 950 PRO increased endurance and prolongs the lifespan and wear of your drive over a 5-year period. The 950 also features dynamic thermal throttling protection which controls temperature of the device to reduce overheating.
The 950 PRO is up to 1.5 times more power efficient, and can maintain a superior level of performance over a longer period of time compared to SATA SSDs.
The 950 PRO is equipped with the enhanced bandwidth of NVMe. This is ideal for intensive workloads, Gaming, data analysis, and engineering. It outperforms SATA SSDs by over 4.5 times in sequential read and by over 2.5 times in sequential write. This delivers the speeds of 2500MB/s and 1500MB/s. The cutting edge V-NAND is based NVMe and supports PCI Express Gen 3. This provides higher bandwidth and lower latency than traditional SSDs.
At the drive level we find the controller, memory, and NAND packages. Samsung uses a 32-layer process, and 128Gb MLC V-NAND chips. Enthusiasts will enjoy the lack of TLC flash, and the 950 PRO also uses a UBX controller that was developed by Samsung.
Testing can differ slightly across system to system. I am going to test the 950 PRO using the Samsung Magician software provided, and AS SSD benchmark. I will be testing this NVMe drive vs the Toshiba RD400 NVMe drive. By doing this hopefully we can see any difference by controller choices, or by driver level variances.
The test bench used for testing is as follows:
- Motherboard- MSI Z97-Gaming 5
- CPU: Intel Core I7 4790K
- Network Card- netgear AC 1200 USB
- Cooler- Silverstone AR01
- Memory- Anarchy X 16GB DDR3 2800MHz
- Video Card: PNY GTX 960 4GB
- Storage- 950 PRO NVMe vs RD400 256GB NVMe
- Power Supply- CoolerMaster v700 series modular PSU
- OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
- Headphones- Sound Blaster X H7
I did not use this drive as a boot drive, but if you’re going to test this for a windows boot drive you have to make sure your bios supports NVMe booting. Check with your motherboard manufacturer, but as long as you have a UEFI bios with a modern build, you may have a good chance of using this as your primary boot device.
The Samsung Magician software is critical for monitoring your drives health. The utility offers all the data you need for testing, monitoring, and updating your drive. there are a few key important parts to this software and some of them are not applicable like performance optimization above Windows 8.1, and rapid mode for my NVMe drive.
Over Provisioning is important for performance and health of your drive. This is a 512GB sized drive so be careful on the percentage you use for Over Provisioning as it adds up quicker than on a smaller drive.
I guess this is the point of benchmarking and a great example. I configured the 950 PRO to exactly the same as the RD400. I tested both units in a similar m.2 slot configuration. The 950 PRO wins by a significant lead under the Magician software. Could this be because its Samsung’s own software ? We will test also using AS SSD to be sure.
The 950 PRO still wins with a higher score. The RD400 does hold its own and actually has better 4k writes, but overall the 950 PRO beats the RD400. Either of these units would be a significant performance increase over SATA 3.
The IOPS test truly shows the ability of the 950 PRO. The amount of operation you can perform a second compared to a normal SSD is just outstanding. I can see why NVMe is the way of the future compared to ACHI.
I wanted to test loading times for games, and also test the AS SSD copy benchmark for a performance overview of the 950 PRO.
I loaded Overwatch onto the 950 PRO and the loading times were cut in half compared to a standard SSD. It only took about 15 seconds to load Overwatch compared to 35 seconds on a AHCI SSD.
The 950 PRO is extremely fast. Price is also a major factor for NVMe drives. The higher you go the more expensive it gets. The performance is there for NVME, and if you’re an enthusiasts looking for the best look no further. However most people will look for affordability. SSDs are at an all time low, and still deliver outstanding performance per dollar. The best part of the 950 PRO is the Magician software and configuration settings it provides. You can get 4.5 times the performance over SATA SSDs with outstanding speeds. You can get the Samsung 950 PRO right now on Amazon for $320.00.