Samsung has released two brand new M.2 PCIe SSDs. A continuation of the PCIe 3.0 x4 series drives, the 960 PRO and 960 Evo also deploy the latest NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory) protocol for data transfer, making them fast — very fast indeed. Lets take a look at the latest beasts from Samsung.
The SSDs were preceded by the 950 Pro, and it took the company almost one year to come up with the new drives. However, both the Evo and the Pro appear to have been worth the wait. While the Evo offers 3.2GB/s and 1.9GB/s respectively, the 960 Pro is even more capable with a peak read speed of 3.5GB/s and a peak write speed of 2.1GB/s.
To put things in perspective, the 950, which is still widely regarded as one of the best pieces of hardware in its class, topped out at a mere 2.5GB/s and 1.5GB/s of read and write speeds respectively.
The Pro and the Evo deploy Samsung’s brand new Polaris controller. The Polaris is unique since it comes with a five-core chip rather than the three-core chip used in the 950 Pro. Interestingly, one of the five cores on the controller is dedicated solely to host communication — which as you can probably imagine, brings significant improvements to the overall performance — while the other four cores are used primarily for flash management.
The number of layers present on each NAND flash module on the Pro and the Evo has been brought down by stacking them vertically. This increases the capacity of the drives without even having to reduce the size of the fabrication process. This has been made possible courtesy Samsung’s latest 3D V-NAND tech, which is capable of pushing past the capacity limitations of traditional 2D NAND technology with its revolutionary vertical design.
Samsung V-NAND enables up to 100 layers of cells to be stacked with the potential to scale the density up to 1 Terabit. The 2D planar NAND density ceiling can only reach the minimum density of V-NAND.
Another major advantage of the V-NAND tech is the application of the innovative Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology which can prevent data corruption caused due cell-to-cell interference. In short, you get improved speed, power efficiency and endurance.
Coming to the main difference between the two drives, while the Pro uses MLC V-NAND, the Evo makes do with the cheaper and more tightly packed TLC V-NAND. So yes, if you are willing to pay any price for processing power, Pro is what you want to buy. However, if you want to balance out between processing power and your pockets, Evo may just be the best choice.
The SSDs are slated for an October release. While the Pro starts at $329 for the 512GB variant, you can also go all the way up to $1,299 for a 2TB version. Meanwhile, the Evo is a little less pricey and starts at $129 for a 250GB version. You can go all the way up to 1 TB by shelling out $479.
While the 960 Pro comes with a five-year warranty — or up to 1.2 PB written — depending on capacity, while the Evo comes with a relatively lesser, three-year warranty — or up to 400 TB written.