Samsung saw the writing on the wall for hard disks when in late 2011 it sold its hard disk manufacturing division to Seagate. More importantly, it tied up cross-licensing NAND flash supply agreements with Seagate for its solid state drives (SSD) and Hybrid drives.
At Samsung’s SSD Summit in Seoul, the company is not just releasing new SSD products but positioning itself as the leader in SSD. Samsung’s chip making expertise – processors, memory, 3D V-NAND and more is a core part of its huge business. Samsung’s control of its supply chain makes it a very agile company – compared to say, Apple that does not make any of the components used in its products.
Back to the announcements – the 960 PRO is for prosumer and high-end use and the 960 EVO is for broader consumer use in notebooks, tablets, and desktop PCs. “For more than 30 years, Samsung has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible to deliver innovative consumer memory experiences.” said Un-Soo Kim, senior vice-president of Branded Product Marketing, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our V-NAND technology for NVMe-based storage products is our most recent advancement in the NVMe era.”
First, let’s define a few terms.
M.2 form factor refers to the “next generation” of internally mounted “cards” and provides PCI 3.0 Express (Gen 3 x 4 lane), Serial ATA (SATA), and USB 3.0 interface supports. Importantly it also supports NVMe (non-volatile memory express). Although it is the form factor most widely used by SSD cards, it can be used for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, WWAN, and WiGig cards.
Readers may be more familiar with the older SATA or ATA hard disk interfaces that M.2 replaces. M.2 sockets are becoming more common on PC motherboards, and almost all modern tablets and notebooks now use it. If you are interested, read more at Wikipedia.
The 960 PRO comes in 512GB and 1/2TB capacity. It delivers peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of 3500 MB/s and 2100 MB/s, respectively, and random read and write IOPS of up to 440,000 and 360,000 respectively.
This redefines personal computer performance, in part attributed to new Samsung’s new Polaris controller which raises the bar of consumer SSD performance. It has additional reliability and endurance with a five-year limited warranty or up to 1.2 petabytes written (PBW), whichever comes first, for the 2TB capacity.
The 960 EVO will come in 250/512GB and 1TB and reach random read speed reaches up to 380,000 IOPS and random write speed up to 360,000 IOPS. It has a three-year limited warranty or up to 400 terabytes written (TBW), whichever occurs first, for the 1TB capacity version.
Simply put, these are the world’s fastest M.2 NVMe- SSD.
The 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs will be available worldwide from October 2016, with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices starting at US$329.99 and US$129.99 respectively. More information is here.
Australian pricing will be released soon.
The writer is attending Samsung's SSD Summit as a guest of the company.