Report: 1TB Samsung SM961 NVMe SSD ships next week

Tom's Hardware is reporting that Samsung's follow-up to the SM951 first-generation NVMe SSD will be shipping to OEMs next week. This is the SM961 that we first heard about back in March, so the timing is right. The new drive features Samsung's new Polaris controller (no relation to a certain GPU), and it comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB NVMe models. The 1TB tier is a first for Samsung's NVMe drives.

  SM961 128GB SM961 256GB SM961 512GB SM961 1TB
Sequential read 3100 MB/s 3100 MB/s 3200 MB/s 3200 MB/s
Sequential write 700 MB/s 1400 MB/s 1700 MB/s 1800 MB/s
Random read 330,000 IOPS 330,000 IOPS 330,000 IOPS 450,000 IOPS
Random write 170,000 IOPS 280,000 IOPS 300,000 IOPS 320,000 IOPS
Pricing N/A $159 $280 $512

This information comes from a listing on Australian site RamCity, although the page has since been removed. To be clear, the pricing listed above is in US dollars. As we reported before,  the new controller is a five-core, 8-channel design. Tom's speculates that the chip is made on a new process node, and that it should suffer less throttling issues than previous-generation NVMe drives. The site also guesses that the SM961 uses third-generation V-NAND, which seems likely to us given the increased density.

Samsung's specified performance numbers for the drive are considerably higher than both the SM951 and the 950 Pro, but—assuming these numbers are legitimate—the real item of interest here is the pricing. At $0.50 per gigabyte, these drives are still pricey compared to SATA SSDs. Nevertheless, the price per gig is a decent step down from the 950 Pro, which still sells for $320 in its 512GB capacity at the time of this writing. In any case, more NVMe drives on the market is a good thing, and hopefully the competition among Samsung, Intel, and Toshiba will drive prices down soon.

Comments closed
    • Srsly_Bro
    • 3 years ago

    I imagine a suit coming against the makers of these drives advertising a speed only attainable for a few minutes, and not disclosing throttled speeds or when throttling occurs in normal usage such as file transfers.

    Down with these evil corporations!

      • iq100
      • 3 years ago

      The fact that the company invested significant dollars to design a protective, degraded speed, throttled mode speaks volumes.

      How visible to the user, via an on screen notification, do these companies display the FACT of “NOW OPERATING IN THROTTLED MODE”?

      Hopefully, the newer SM961 like designs, correct what I view as a design bug, which in the best of worlds would have been corrected rather than hidden.

      Clear music and sound help make for a better world!

    • Vhalidictes
    • 3 years ago

    Only twice the price of SATA drives! Not too shabby. This year might be the year for wholesale HDD replacement, not just system drives.

    • jts888
    • 3 years ago

    The 950 seems to have enterprise level performance for however many seconds it can go before thermal throttling kicks in, so my bigger wish is that Samsung actually builds comparable drives in the 2.5″/u.2 form factor.

    Something the size of a DIMM just isn’t meant to handle 20 or even 10 Watts of sustained power draw, but it’s clear that Samsung’s controllers can all but saturate their PCIe lanes if power/thermal constraints allowed.

      • Firestarter
      • 3 years ago

      so you’re saying we should put a big heatsink on it?

        • jts888
        • 3 years ago

        Pretty much.

        Benchmarks have been done with the 950 Pro in a PCIe card adapter with a heat sink and performing much better than when in a m.2 slot flush against the motherboard.

        u.2 drives are more heatsink than drive by volume, and it seems to allow vendors like Intel to sustain 20-25W loads without issue on their drives.

        • ColeLT1
        • 3 years ago

        It doesn’t take much of a heatsink, I use these:
        [url<][/url<] you can see it on a 950 512gb I installed, bottom right of pic: [url<][/url<]

          • Pitabred
          • 3 years ago

          For the extra buck, it may be worth going copper since it’s got about a higher thermal capacity and about a 50% higher thermal conductivity: [url<][/url<]

            • Flying Fox
            • 3 years ago

            Would copper be too heavy and rip/tip itself off assuming the motherboard is vertical in a tower case?

    • blahsaysblah
    • 3 years ago

    Will this be available with any kind of warranty? Or have to wait for SM960 Pro?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      The RamCity listing implied that warranty is up to the reseller.

        • blahsaysblah
        • 3 years ago

        [url=<]Anandtech[/url<] has some more information.

          • ImSpartacus
          • 3 years ago

          Thanks. Good to see some additional detail.

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