Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

 

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

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Review: Samsung 950 PRO NVMe M.2 512GB SSD

Reviewed by: Wendy Robertson

Provided by: Samsung

Firmware version: 1B0QBXX7

 

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Today I’m looking at the 512GB version of the Samsung 950
Pro M.2 NVMe SSD. In fact this article will feature the world’s first M.2 NVMe SSD
to use V-NAND, aimed at the consumer, utilising the new NVMe (Non Volatile
Memory Express) interface. NVMe SSDs are PCIe based and are
installed in a standard PCIe slot, M.2 socket, or via the brand new U.2
connector. PCIe SSDs are not new, and have been around for several years.
However, the PCIe SSDs of the past required a special controller which sat
between the SSD hardware and the PCIe system bus, to allow the SSD hardware and
the PCIe bus to perform the translation and communication between the two
interfaces. This was of course a very complex and time consuming task, which
inevitably led to increased latency.

NVMe is a native solution, with its own highly optimised
protocol, which features a very much reduced command set, much lower latency
when compared to AHCI, and is specifically optimised for Non Volatile Memory
(FLASH memory).

Samsung was kind enough to send me one of their brand new 950
Pro M.2 series NVMe SSDs for review. In this case the 512GB M.2 NVMe version.
There is also a 256GB version available, which I reviewed
a few weeks ago.

So let’s find out how this new SSD performs in our range of
tests.

Samsung company information

Samsung should need no introduction, but those of you who
would like to find out more about Samsung, can do so at their website.

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The Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512GB SSD

Packaging

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

Box front

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

Box rear

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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

Samsung 950 Pro M.2
NVMe 512GB SSD

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD utilises Samsung’s UBX NVMe
SSD controller, coupled with 512MB of LPDDR3 RAM as a cache. The NAND is
Samsung’s own 32 layer 3D V-NAND in an MLC configuration.

Getting the best performance from the Samsung 950 Pro will
require a native Hyper M.2 socket supporting PCIe gen3 x4. These are found in
most Z170 chipset, and X99 chipset motherboards.

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Alternatively, you may be able to mount the Samsung 950 Pro
M.2 NVMe SSD on a PCIe3 to M.2 adapter card, and then plug this combination
into an X16 PCIe3 socket on the motherboard. However, the adapter card will
need to support at least 4 PCIe3 lanes, and your motherboard needs to be
capable of booting from NVMe in order to use this combination as your boot
device.

DATA encryption and protection

The Samsung 950 Pro series is a self encryption based
solution, which is compliant with TCG-OPAL 2.0.

Drive maintenance features

For Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 users, and some
distributions of Linux, the Samsung 950 Pro SSD supports TRIM to keep the NAND
clean. The Samsung 950 Pro also has advanced garbage collection to clean the
NAND during drive idle periods.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

Samsung SSD Magician
4.8

The SSD Magician software allows the user to maintain the
SSD, and has the following features.

  • Disk drive: Brings up useful information about the
    SSD, including its health status and how much data has been written to the
    SSD.
  • System info: Allows the user to see system and
    drive properties.
  • Performance Benchmark: Performs a very basic
    benchmark on the SSD.
  • Performance optimization: Performs a manual TRIM of
    the SSD.
  • OS Optimization: Allows operating system features
    that can affect SSD performance, to be switched on or off (not supported
    on 950 Pro).
  • Firmware Update: Allows the Samsung 950 Pro
    firmware to be updated.
  • Secure Erase: Sends a Secure Erase command to the
    SSD, clearing all NAND and returning the SSD back to its default factory
    state.
  • Over Provisioning: Allows the user to set aside a
    given amount of NAND as a manual over provisioning area.
  • SSD authenticity test: Checks to make sure
    that the SSD is a genuine Samsung SSD.
  • Enable Rapid mode: Enables the ‘Rapid mode’ cache
    feature (is not supported on the 950 Pro).

Data migration software is also available as a download from
Samsung, which allows you to easily migrate your existing system installation
over to your new SSD.

Specifications.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

Does the SSD support TRIM?

To allow TRIM to function you first need an SSD that
supports the TRIM command. You then need a storage stack that will allow the
TRIM command to pass-through to the SSD, and this includes the driver.

Thankfully this is now very easy to check with some degree
of reliability, using a small utility written by Vladimir Panteleev called TRIMCheck.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD Review

According to TRIMCheck, TRIM is functioning correctly on the
Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD.

 

 

Let’s head to the next page where we take a look at our
testing methods and the review PC….

 

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