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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD:Hold Onto Your Hats!


Silicon, integrated circuits have been advancing at an incredible pace of the last few decades. CPUs, RAM, GPUs and every other solid state technology has benefited from these advances, but secondary storage devices such as hard drives have not had anything comparable in their development. Although the controller chipsets and busses have improved along with everything else, there is a limitation to how dense you can make the magnetic bits on a drive platter, limits to how fast those platters can spin and limits to how quickly your read/write head can get where it needs to go. When flash memory came to market it wasn’t yet a threat to the highly reliable (in comparison) mechanical drives and certainly not when it came to price per megabyte figures.

In other words, mechanical drives had a massive head-start in the market, but solid state memory such as flash was running a much faster race. Today the only place mechanical hard drives still have an edge is price-per-megabyte. Solid state drives are now at least as reliable, more power efficient, much faster and available in large capacities. Indeed, earlier this year Samsung revealed a 16TB 2.5” SSD, for the low, low price of (an estimated) $7000.

If money's no object, then solid state drives are your only choice, and when it comes to Samsung’s premium Pro series of drives you better have deep pockets. The new Samsung 950 Pro SSD with V-NAND, NVMe and M.2 interface will cost you a cool $350 for the 512GB version.

For that money though, you’ll get one of the fastest storage devices available today. The stated sequential read speeds of the drive are an eye-watering 2500MB/s and write speeds are equally impressive at 1500MB/s.

These speeds have been achieved using the same 3D V-NAND chips employed in the 850 Pro that came before. The other part of the puzzle is the specialized non-volatile memory host controller (NVMe) that is designed from the ground up to work with low-latency flash memory.

The drive uses very little power, ranging from 1.7W at idle to 7W in burst mode. Half a gigabyte of DRAM and AES encryption support round out the features of the drive.

Samsung will warranty the 950 Pro for 200 terabytes worth of written data, so it’s not quite the right fit for data centre or write-heavy server use, but for high end workstation applications you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice at this price.