Samsung is squeezing more performance and capacity out of its NVMe Solid State Drive (SSD) technology with a new workstation-focused M.2 form factor SSD, the Samsung 960 PRO.
With peak sequential read / write transfer speeds of 3,500 MB/s and 2,100 MB/s respectively the Samsung 960 PRO is significantly faster than the Samsung 950 PRO it replaces (2,500MB/s read, 1,500MB/s write). Random read / write performance is also up (440,000 IOPS and 360,000 IOPS compared to the Samsung 950 PRO’s 300,000 IOPS and 110,000 IOPS).
For designers and engineers this performance increase could have a big impact in I/O intensive workflows such as simulation (read our workstations for simulation article) and certain design visualization tasks.
Importantly, the Samsung 960 PRO will also offer a 2TB capacity, which is four times that of its predecessor, the Samsung 950 PRO. 512GB and 1TB versions will also be available.
The increased capacity should be particularly relevant to those working with huge engineering datasets and owners of new generation lightweight mobile workstations which rely solely on M.2 form factor drives (and don’t support 2.5-inch HDDs).
However, while the Samsung 960 PRO goes shoulder to shoulder with 2.5-inch HDDs on capacity, having large volumes of incredibly fast storage still comes at a premium.
The 2TB model comes in at $1,299, while the 1TB model and 512GB model will set you back $629 and $329 respectively.
The Samsung 960 PRO also promises additional reliability and endurance with a five-year limited warranty and up to 1.2 petabytes written (PBW), whichever occurs first, for the 2TB model.
Samsung has also released a more entry-level NVMe SSD, the 960 EVO, available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities. With peak sequential read / write speeds of 3,200 MB/s and 1,900 MB/s and random read / write speeds of 380,000 IOPS and 360,000 IOPS respectively, performance is only slightly below that of the 960 PRO.
However, the 960 EVO only comes with a three-year limited warranty and up to 400 terabytes written (TBW), whichever occurs first, for the 1TB capacity version.
Pricing is as follows: 250GB ($129), 500GB ($249), 1TB ($470).
Many of the new generation desktop and mobile workstations support NVMe SSDs natively. However, designers and engineers can still get the benefit of fast NVMe storage in a desktop workstation by buying a low cost PCIe-add in card, which hosts a single NVMe SSD.