Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD

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Test System Notes

For the past four years our storage test system consisted of a Intel Sandy Bridge processor paired with a P67 motherboard running Windows 7 and thus far the combination has worked fine for testing standard SATA 6 Gbps drives. We have now moved over to a Skylake platform for M.2 and NVMe support. We hope to use this system for several years, so the operating system has been updated to Windows 10 as Microsoft plans to drop full support for Windows 7/8 on Skylake PCs in July 2017, only offering the most critical security fixes thereafter.

Synthetic and power tests are run from a separate drive containing the operating system to take the overhead of Windows out of the equation. The boot drive is then imaged to the test drive for our real world benchmarks. In the case of the 950 Pro, we used Samsung's Magician software for cloning and then installed their NVMe driver which purportedly offers improved performance over the native Microsoft driver.

Power Consumption

Note: For SATA drives, the power consumption is measured directly by tapping into the SATA power connector. For M.2 drives, the power consumption is estimated by comparing the system power consumption with that of previously tested SATA drives.

On our test motherboard, the Samsung 950 Pro and the last M.2 drive we tested, the HyperX Predator, both consume substantially more power than traditional SATA SSDs. A typical 2.5-inch model sucks down 0.5~0.6 W at idle and about 1.6W when seeking. The 950 Pro's idle consumption is more than four times that while its seek consumption is almost twice as high. Its likely that notebooks have superior PCI-E power management such that battery life is not adversely affected.

Synthetic Performance

We start off with synthetic tests results. They don't tell the whole story of course, but it's a quick and dirty way of gauging relative performance, and of course, it's easily reproducible by our readers at home.

HD Tune

HD Tune's main sequential transfer benchmark shows superb, albeit varied, performance across the drive. The first half of the drive is noticeably faster, but even the minimum read/write speeds are higher than most drives' maximum read/write. The overall transfer rate is about double that of the best SATA 6 Gbps models. Access times are also insanely low at less than 0.03 ms. Transferring large amounts of data should be a breeze for the 950 Pro.


The drive's performance in CrystalDiskMark is the highest we've seen, coming close to 2000 MB/s in sequential 512K writes. Random performance with smaller block sizes is more relevant to real world performance and the 950 Pro excels in that department as well. All the 4K numbers are substantially higher than previously tested drives.

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