Samsung launches new SSDs up to 2TGB in capacity

Written by Leo Waldock


Samsung’s new 960 EVO and 960 PRO M.2 NVMe SSDs feature third generation 48-layer NAND technology for an increased boost in capacity and speed.

We hate to do this to you however it would be a real help if you would take a few minutes to read the Samsung Press release below.

Provided you have a working knowledge of SSD technology you only really need to know a couple of things to understand the main thrust about the Samsung 960 which launches now and will be available to buy in October.

The Samsung 950 used 2nd Gen 32-layer NAND and now the Samsung 960 has moved on to 3rd Gen 48-layer NAND. Stack the chips higher, increase the density, watch the capacity grow.

This is not, strictly speaking, the debut for Samsung’s 48-layer NAND technology as that honour goes to the 16TB (actual capacity 15.36TB) PM1633a SSD, however that would be churlish. Samsung 960 EVO and Pro are the first SSDs you might actually buy that use 48-layer V-NAND.

You will note there is no mention of the fabrication process of the NAND. We understand the process has gone up a step from 16nm to 21nm which is the opposite of what we have come to expect from the likes of Intel. The point is that Samsung gains greater density by stacking the chips, instead of shrinking the transistors. It is important to grasp we are moving along Samsung’s roadmap so 32-layer yesterday, 48-layer today and when the 4th Gen V-NAND launches that will be 64-layer.

The faster PRO model continues to use MLC NAND, just like the 950 PRO. The slower EVO model uses TLC NAND, just like the 950 EVO.

The 960 PRO has a 5 year limited warranty and the 960 EVO has a 3 year limited warranty.

960 PRO will be available in 512GB ($329), 1TB ($629) and 2TB ($1299) capacities.
960 EVO comes in 250GB ($129), 500GB ($249) and 1TB ($470) forms.

The other point to remember about Samsung is that it has total control of the design, fabrication and manufacture of its silicon. Not only does it make the NAND, it also designs its own controllers. 950 SSD used a 3-core controller called UBX and with 960 we see the 5-core Polaris controller that was used in OEM models SM951 and SM961. One core in the controller is dedicated to host management while the other four are used for flash management. It is unclear whether the cores have fixed functions such as read, write and erase or are more dynamic in their behaviour. Similarly there is no word on clock speeds for these cores.

The new 960 SSDs use an M.2 form factor and have a PCI Express Gen. 3 x4 interface and support NVMe. It is clear they will be blazingly fast, just like the 950 PRO and EVO, however Samsung is making some epic claims about speeds with write speeds around 2000MB/sec and reads at 3500MB/sec. Exact speeds depend on the capacity of the drive, which suggests the number of memory channels plays a part in the reckoning.

These figures are boosted by the use of Samsung Magician caching software where a chunk of NAND is switched to run in faster SLC mode. The PRO should be able to use these faster speeds consistently but EVO relies on a data buffer which is 13GB in the 250GB model, 22GB in the 500GB drive and 42GB in the big 1TB flagship drive.

Gamers and photographers will likely never notice the buffer as 13GB is approximately as large as the universe. On the other hand if you are shooting high bit rate video we’re not so sure. At present Atomos lists no Samsung drives as either ‘approved’ or ‘not approved’ which makes us wonder.

Power draw varies from drive to drive, depending on chip density, but seems to have increased from 7W with the 950 family to 9W max with the 960. Samsung tells us the label on the new drive has a copper backing to improve heat dissipation. Strange but true.

The Samsung 960 will be here soon and brings ever-higher capacities to the tiny M.2 form factor but unfortunately it comes at quite a price —starting at $329.99.

Press release

SEOUL, Korea – September 21, 2016 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a worldwide leader in advanced memory solutions for more than two decades, today unveiled the Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO, its newest solid state drives (SSDs). The V-NAND based, M.2 form factor SSDs were built on the company’s category-defining Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSD leadership. With powerful performance, endurance and capacity topped with all new and more robust Samsung Magician software package, Samsung continues to accelerate the NVMe era.

Packed with more technology and innovation than ever, the 960 PRO and 960 EVO are designed for users who seek smaller and faster storage solutions that deliver higher bandwidth and lower latency for processing massive amounts of data for everything from gaming and large file transfers to 4K video rendering, data analytics and more on their ultra-thin notebooks and PCs.

Both the 960 PRO and 960 EVO use the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen.3 x4 lane interface and are compliant with NVMe specifications to realize effective use of the high-speed PCIe bus and optimize both hardware and software configurations to take advantage of the NVMe SSD technology. The SSDs feature Samsung Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to manage performance during extreme workloads.

“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.”

The 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs redefine the personal computer performance, in part attributed to new controller which raises the bar of consumer SSD performance. The 960 PRO delivers peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of 3,500 MB/s and 2,100 MB/s, respectively, and random read and write IOPS of up to 440,000 and 360,000.1

On top of being the world’s fastest M.2 NVMe- SSD, the 960 PRO will also offer 2 Terabyte (TB) capacity, which is the highest capacity commercially available for M.2 NVMe SSDs, along with 512GB and 1TB versions.2 The 960 PRO’s high density was made possible by Samsung V-NAND technology and the uniquely restructured package design. As user capacity demand trends continue to rise, the high-density 960 PRO capacities are poised to conveniently meet the needs of personal data and information storage. The 960 PRO promises additional reliability and endurance with the five-year limited warranty and up to 1.2 Petabytes written (PBW), whichever occurs first, for the 2TB capacity.

“We were proud to erect the NVMe era last year with the introduction of our 950 PRO SSD. Now, with the introduction of the NVMe 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs, Samsung is once again taking the next step in the multi-Terabyte SSD technology and the storage revolution, providing users higher capacities and speeds than ever before within an NVMe PCIe drive to create new possibilities for consumers and business professionals,” Kim added.

The 960 EVO is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities3 and provide users with next-generation personal computing performance. The new Samsung Intelligent TurboWrite technology makes its debut in the 960 EVO and accelerates sequential read and write speeds, that reach peaks of 3,200 MB/s and 1,900 MB/s respectively.4,5 The 960 EVO’s random read speed reaches up to 380,000 IOPS and random write speed up to 360,000 IOPS.6 The 960 EVO comes with a three-year limited warranty and up to 400 Terabytes written (TBW), whichever occurs first, for the 1TB capacity version.

In addition to the industry leading performance, capacity and the reliable warranty-backed experience the 960 SSDs offer, Samsung is also introducing the all-new and fully rebuilt Magician software with a new user interface with which users can control various SSD settings including firmware updates.

The 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs will be available worldwide starting October 2016, with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices starting at $329.99 and $129.99 USD respectively. For more information, including warranty details7, please visit

1, 4, 6 Sequential performance measurements based on CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2/IOmeter 1.1.0 and random performance measurements based on IOmeter 1.1.0.Performance may vary based on the SSD`s firmware version, system hardware and configuration. Test system configuration: Intel® Core i7-6700K CPU@4.0 GHz, DDR3 1600MHz 8GB, OS-Window 10 Pro x64, Chipset-Gigabyte X99

2, 3 1GB=1,000,000,000 bytes by IDEMA. A certain portion of capacity may be used for system file and maintenance use, so the actual capacity may differ from what is indicated on the product label.

5 Sequential Write performance measurements are based on Intelligent TurboWrite technology. The sequential write performances after Intelligent TurboWrite region are 300 MB/s(250GB),600 MB/s(500GB) and 1200 MB/s(1TB).

Tags: Technology


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