Final thoughts and the conclusion
A modern operating system such as Windows 10 rarely does one
thing at time; it processes hundreds of threads at once. Just take a look at
the processes and services that are running in task manager for an idea of how
much is going on, even with the PC idling at the desktop. When you start
running applications on top of this, the workload increases in line with the number
and type of applications you are running. It’s also fair to say that many of
these processes are already loaded into system RAM, but many are also loaded into
and unloaded from RAM to the system drive as and when they are required.
If we look at the 4 basic requirements for a really fast
SSD, they are as follows.
- Small file threaded performance needs to be high.
- Small random file performance needs to be high.
- Sequential read and write speeds need to be high.
- Fast access times.
The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD has all of these attributes
in abundance, and feels extremely snappy in use as a system drive.
I have only had the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD for a
few weeks, so it’s not possible to comment on the drive’s long term reliability.
However, during the testing period, this SSD has been 100% stable and has
caused no issues whatsoever.
The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSDs are as “plug n play” as it
gets, providing you are running Windows 8.1 or later, and you have a
motherboard which supports ‘boot from NVMe’. If you don’t have a motherboard
which supports ‘boot from NVMe’ then you may need to find a workaround to allow
you to boot the operating system from the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD. If you
can’t find a workaround to boot the drive, then you can still use the Samsung 950
Pro M.2 NVMe SSD as perhaps a scratch disk for something like Photoshop.
To get the best performance from the Samsung 950 Pro M.2
NVMe SSD, you will require either the Intel SkyLake Z170 platform, or an Intel
X99 chipset motherboard. In each case, the motherboard will need to be equipped
with a Hyper M.2 socket PCIe3 x4 (32Gbps).
Let us summarise the most important positive and negative
- Silky smooth operation as system drives.
- Outstanding sequential reading and writing performance,
even at very low queue depths.
- Outstanding 4K random writing performance, at low queue
- Outstanding 4k random reading performance at very low and
very high queue depths.
- TRIM support under Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.
- Completely silent operation.
- Fast operating system start-up and shutdown times.
- Extremely fast in ‘real world scenarios’.
- Very low power consumption considering the amount of grunt
the drive has.
- Nothing worth mentioning.
To sum up, this is what I would
As operating system drive, the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD is
pretty hard to fault. Performance is outstanding and this SSD proved to be very
stable during the testing period. Make no mistake; the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe
SSD has a performance profile ideally suited to typical consumer workloads.
If we are looking at ‘true’ consumer based workloads, then I
think it would be fair to say that the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD is
the fastest consumer SSD currently available. NVMe takes SSD performance to the
next level, with ultra low latency, and obscenely fast transfer speeds, yet it
manages to do all this at a truly affordable price tag, and the Samsung 950 Pro
M.2 NVMe 512GB is also extremely power efficient.
Price and availability
The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD should be available
now, with a typical retail price of £169.99 for the 256GB version, and £319.99
for the 512GB version. Both prices including VAT.
The parting sentence is:
“If you really must have the fastest consumer grade SSD
currently available at an affordable price, then the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe 512GB
SSD is the one to have”.
The editor rating is based on the following key factors.
- Stability (is the device stable?)
- Supplied accessories (what is included in the package)
EFD Software for
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