Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD

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Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD

March 11, 2016 by Lawrence Lee

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB
M.2 2280 SSD
Street Price

For the past few years, the M.2 SSD form factor has seen increasing support from notebook and motherboard manufacturers. Like the mSATA models they replace, M.2 drives are considerably smaller than traditional 2.5-inch drives and they are connected via a PCI Express interface that allows them to surpass the bandwidth ceiling of SATA 6 Gbps, widely considered to be a bottleneck to high-end SSD performance. Given the ample number of PCI-E lanes provided by Intel's latest generation of CPUs, most Skylake LGA1151 motherboards support M.2 drives that can tap into four PCI Express 3.0 lanes rather than two, alleviating the restriction to an even greater degree.

Six months ago, we examined the Kingston HyperX Predator, an M.2 drive with a Marvell controller, 1GB of DDR3 cache, top-notch 19 nm Toggle-Mode NAND flash memory, and a PCI-E 2.0 x4 adapter card for users of older systems lacking M.2 support. It displayed encouraging synthetic performance and took the top spot in our real world performance metrics, but it was only slightly faster than the previous champ, the Samsung 850 Pro, an old fashioned 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gbps model.

One note about the Predator is that it lacks support for Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), a newer storage protocol standard developed specifically for PCI Express based drives. The ancient Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) standard is still widely used for SSDs today, despite the fact it was designed with mechanical hard drives in mind. The new standard takes better advantage of the nature of SSDs and their multiple internal memory channels, allowing for more/deeper command queues, improving support for multi-core processors, and lowering latency by more than half.

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB unboxed.

The new standard is supported by Samsung's latest flagship SSD, the 950 Pro, which comes in capacities of 256GB and 512GB, packed in an M.2 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor running on a PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface. It utilizes the same Samsung UBX controller that drives the SM951, a high-end M.2 drive offered only on the OEM market, sports V-NAND MLC chips made of transistors arranged both vertically and horizontally to increase density, and 512MB of DDR3 cache.

The 950 Pro.


Installed on our Asus Maximus VIII Gene test board.

To use the 950 Pro, an M.2 slot connected via four PCI-E lanes (or via PCI-E x4 adapter card) is required to see its full benefits. Additionally, in order to boot from it, the PC must support UEFI and have an NVMe-compatible BIOS. Thus far, official support on the desktop is primarily limited to Intel Z97/Z170/X99 boards and the latest AMD 990FX models. Windows 7 users also need to pre-install a driver, and while Windows 8 and 10 have a native NVMe driver, it's recommended to use Samsung's driver for optimal results. This is not an SSD for older machines.

Samsung 950 Pro: Specifications
(from the product data sheet)
Dimensions (LxWxH) Max 80.15 x Max 22.15 x Max 2.38 (mm)
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4 (up to 32Gb/s) NVMe 1.1
Form Factor M.2(2280)†
Controller Samsung UBX controller
NAND Flash Memory Samsung V-NAND
DRAM Cache Memory 512MB LPDDR3
Capacity 256GB 512GB
Sequential Read* Up to 2,200 MB/s Up to 2,5000 MB/s
Sequential Write* Up to 900 MB/s Up to 1,500 MB/s
4K Random Read (QD32 Thread 4) Up to 270K IOPS Up to 300K IOPS
4K Random Write (QD32 Thread 4) Up to 85K IOPS Up to 110K IOPS
4K Random Read (QD1 Thread 1) Up to 11K IOPS Up to 12K IOPS
4K Random Write (QD1 Thread 1) Up to 43K IOPS Up to 43K IOPS
TBW 200TB 400TB
Power Consumption** (active avg/max) 5.1W/6.4W
Power Consumption** (idle) 70mW
Power Consumption (DEVSLP, L1.2 mode) 2.5mW
Data Security
AES 256-bit for User Data Encryption
TCG Opal Family Spec and eDrive(IEEE1667) to be supported by FW update
Weight Max. 10g (512GB)
Reliability MTBF : 1.5 million hours
Supporting features TRIM(Required OS support), Garbage Collection, S.M.A.R.T
Temperature Operating Temp : 0°C to 70°C
(Measured by SMART Temperature. Proper airflow recommended)
Humidity 5% to 95%, non-condensing
Vibration Non-Operating: 20~2000Hz, 20G
Shock Non-Operating: 1500G , duration 0.5m sec, 3 axis
Warranty 5 years limited
* Sequential performance measurements based on Crystal Disk Mark 5.0.2 and Random performance measurements based on
Iometer 1.1.0. Performance may vary based on SSD’s firmware version, system hardware & configuration. Test system
configuration : Intel Core i5-6600K @ 3.5GHz, DDR3 1600MHz 8GB, OS – Windows10 x64, Mainboard: MSI (Skylake),
Model : Z170 KRAIT Gaming

**Power consumption measured with IOmeter 1.1.0 with Intel i7-4770K(Haswell, 3.5GHz), DDR3 8GB, ASRock Z87 Extreme9/ac,
APST on, OS- Windows7 Ultimate x64 SP1

†M.2 is a specification of form factor for ultra-thin PCs, The M.2 standard allows widths 12, 16, 22 and 30mm and lengths of 16, 26,
30, 38, 42, 60, 80 and 110 mm, Commercially M.2 is popular with width 22mm and legths 30, 42, 60 , 80 and 110m

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