Samsung’s 960 EVO SSD reviewed

NVMe may still have that new-tech smell to it, but the reality is that SSDs using that protocol have been on the market for a couple of years now. Sadly, those drives have remained out of reach for all but the deepest pockets. The new protocol purported to unlock all of the performance of highly parallel flash storage, and manufacturers weren’t bashful about making the cost of entry similar to that of an on-Broadway showing of Hamilton.

Samsung’s 950 Pro was perhaps the first NVMe drive sold at a merely steep price point rather than a ludicrous one. Its recent follow-up, the 960 Pro, pushes the performance boundary even higher, but it does little to make NVMe more accessible to the masses. Builders can rejoice now, though, because last week Samsung launched the 960 Pro’s little brother, the 960 EVO. In a radical departure from previous EVO drives, the latest drives are M.2 gumsticks with NVMe support. We’ve been graced with 250GB and 1TB samples to test for you, and a 500GB drive rounds out the lineup.

Samsung 960 EVO
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps) Price
Read Write Read Write
250GB 3200 1500 330k 300k $129
500GB 3200 1800 330k 330k $249
1TB 3200 1900 380k 360k $479

The 960 EVO shares much of the same underlying technology that powers the 960 Pro. As it did with its top-end 960 SSD, Samsung pairs 3D V-NAND and its Polaris controller. To make the EVO more affordable, that V-NAND uses a TLC configuration this time around rather than MLC, and that move lowers potential performance and endurance. To at least offset the speed loss, Samsung equips these EVO drives with TurboWrite, the company’s proprietary pseudo-SLC caching scheme. This time around, they’re calling it “Intelligent TurboWrite,” and the technology does indeed sound like it’s gotten a little smarter.

Previous iterations of TurboWrite used a fixed slice of storage—usually a meager handful of gigabytes—to act as a high-speed SLC buffer for incoming writes. This “Intelligent” revision uses a similar dedicated SLC portion, but also allows the drive to seize additional buffer space if it’s available. The 960 EVO 250GB has a fixed 4GB TurboWrite cache that can be supplemented with another 9GB of the drive’s capacity. The 1TB has a fixed 6GB cache, and it can commandeer a whopping 36GB more for use as a buffer. Savvy users already avoid filling their SSDs to capacity, so Samsung is shrewdly exploiting this habit to eke out even more performance than the TLC flash could attain on its own. In a worst-case scenario, a 960 EVO filled to the brim will still have its dedicated TurboWrite partition available to accelerate writes.

With their stickers peeled off, the 250GB and 1TB drives are difficult to tell apart. In each drive, the Polaris controller, DRAM cache, and two NAND packages all lie on a single side of the PCB. The EVO drives don’t use the “package-on-package” controller design Samsung previously used in the 960 Pro 2TB, so this time around we can actually see the Polaris chip. Both drives use Samsung’s latest 48-layer, 256Gb V-NAND packages, but the 250GB drive uses a specially-packaged version of that flash to maximize performance in spite of its lower capacity.

Samsung’s price sheet indicates that the 960 EVO 250GB will sell for $129, and the 1TB version will go for $479. If you’re willing to cough up that much dough, you get 256-bit AES hardware encryption and TCG Opal support for your trouble. Samsung warrants the drives for three years, par for the course with the EVO series. The company expects the 250GB drive to last 100 terabytes written, while the 1TB drive should take a 400-terabyte beating.

Now that we’ve met the 960 EVO, it’s time for some action. Samsung dazzled us with the 960 Pro, so we hope the 960 EVO produces a similar impression at a lower cost.

 

IOMeter — Sequential and random performance

IOMeter fuels much of our latest storage test suite, including our sequential and random I/O tests. These tests are run across the full capacity of the drive at two queue depths. The QD1 tests simulate a single thread, while the QD4 results emulate a more demanding desktop workload. For perspective, 87% of the requests in our old DriveBench 2.0 trace of real-world desktop activity have a queue depth of four or less. Clicking the buttons below the graphs switches between results charted at the different queue depths.

Our sequential tests use a relatively large 128KB block size.



The 960 EVO’s sequential read speeds are nothing short of phenomenal. Both capacities break 2000 MB/s at both queue depths, something that not even the 960 Pro achieved. Sequential writes are more of a mixed bag. The 1TB drive puts up a very strong performance at over 1000 MB/s, but the 250GB version only manages to squeeze out about 350 MB/s. That’s an acceptable speed, but unremarkable—there are older, cheaper SATA drives like the Arc 100 240GB and Vector 180 240GB that write good deal faster.



Random response times exhibit largely the same pattern. Read times are snappy, just a hair slower than the 960 Pro. Write latencies are blazingly fast for the 1TB, but far more pedestrian for the 250GB.

Thus far, the 960 EVO 1TB shows great promise. It can’t catch up to the 960 Pro 2TB’s sequential write speeds, but its read speeds are top-notch. The 960 EVO 250GB’s reads just as quickly, but its writes are a bit lackluster. But the good news is that across the board, both drives beat out the 850 EVO of the same capacity.

 

Sustained and scaling I/O rates

Our sustained IOMeter test hammers drives with 4KB random writes for 30 minutes straight. It uses a queue depth of 32, a setting that should result in higher speeds that saturate each drive’s overprovisioned area more quickly. This lengthy—and heavy—workload isn’t indicative of typical PC use, but it provides a sense of how the drives react when they’re pushed to the brink.

We’re reporting IOps rather than response times for these tests. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between SSDs.


From crest to trough, the 960 EVO 250GB’s plot doesn’t look all that different from the 850 EVO 250GB’s. Clearly IOMeter write tests are not the drive’s strong suit. The 1TB version, on the other hand, hits an insane peak that even the 960 Pro can’t match. Even after it’s used up all its caching tricks, the 960 EVO 1TB writes at incredible speed. To show the data in a slightly different light, we’ve graphed the peak random-write rate and the average, steady-state speed over the last minute of the test.

An insane peak indeed. The 960 EVO 1TB sets a new record for peak random write rate in our sustained test, beating even the datacenter-class DC P3700. The P3700 still holds the crown for steady-state performance, but the EVO 1TB snags second place. The 960 EVO 250GB again manages to beat the 850 EVO 250GB, but the margin is smaller than we might have expected.

Our final IOMeter test examines performance scaling across a broad range of queue depths. We ramp all the way up to a queue depth of 128. Don’t expect AHCI-based drives to scale past 32, though—that’s the maximum depth of their native command queues.

For this test, we use a database access pattern comprising 66% reads and 33% writes, all of which are random. The test runs after 30 minutes of continuous random writes that put the drives in a simulated used state. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the different drives. And note that the P3700 plot uses a much larger scale.


The 960 EVO 250GB simply isn’t fast enough in IOMeter to convert its NVMe capabilities into any sort of meaningful scaling. But the 960 1TB does not disappoint, ramping up smoothly to QD32 before starting to taper off. Let’s look at the Samsung lineup together to get a sense of where the 960 EVOs fall.


As in all the prior tests, the 250GB EVO improves upon its predecessor, but only by a small margin. The 1TB EVO’s performance is only contested by the 960 Pro, whose scaling curve is noticeably steeper. All those dollars have to buy you something, after all.

The 960 EVO 1TB passed all of our IOMeter tests with flying colors. The 960 EVO 250GB offered lightning-fast reads, but its writes proved only a little better than the 850 EVO 250GB’s. Perhaps real-world workloads will better showcase the drive’s capabilities.

 

TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers

RoboBench trades synthetic tests with random data for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we’ve also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it’s been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 459 21.4MB 9.58GB 0.8%
Work 84,652 48.0KB 3.87GB 59%

The media set is made up of large movie files, high-bitrate MP3s, and 18-megapixel RAW and JPG images. There are only a few hundred files in total, and the data set isn’t amenable to compression. The work set comprises loads of TR files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files associated with our old Mozilla compiling test and the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench’s write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let’s take a look at the media set first. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.



Now we’re cooking with gas! With IOMeter, the 250GB drive only really excelled in read tests, but its write capabilities finally come to life in RoboBench. These result prove that it really does belong in the elite NVMe club. Reads and writes break 1000 MB/s for both drives. The 1TB drive actually claims the RoboBench write record in both single- and eight-threaded tests. Even the speed-demon 960 Pro can’t keep up with the 960 EVO 1TB’s gargantuan TurboWrite SLC cache.

Next up, the work set.



The EVOs do well here, just not as startlingly well as in the media set. The work set has always been a great equalizer, and these drives handle it just a little better than the 850 EVOs did. The 960s manage to maintain a sizable gap in the read test, but the writes are only a tad faster.

The 960 EVO 1TB looks more and more exceptional each time we put it to the test. The 250GB drive fares much better with RoboBench’s write tests than it does with IOMeter’s, but the two versions of the drive are clearly in separate performance classes. Next, we’ll boot Windows off these drives to see how they fare as primary storage.

 

Boot times

Until now, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives.

We’ll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

The 960 EVOs are among the faster drives to boot that we’ve tested, but so are the 850 EVOs. All that new hotness doesn’t translate to a faster arrival at the Windows desktop.

Load times

Next, we’ll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523MB image file in the GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

As usual, the drives land willy-nilly in the productivity load test rankings. Let’s see if games turn up anything interesting.

Nope, nothing interesting. 960 EVOs work just fine as game library drives, but so do 850 EVOs. Or Trion 150s. Or Intel X25s. Get my drift?

That wraps up our test suite. Click next to read about our test methods, or skip straight ahead to the conclusion.

 

Test notes and methods

Here are the essential details for all the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Adata Premier SP550 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm SK Hynix TLC
Adata Ultimate SU800 512GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Adata XPG SX930 240GB SATA 6Gbps JMicron JMF670H 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial BX200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm Micron TLC
Crucial MX200 500GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS9189 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial MX300 750GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS1074 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Intel X25-M G2 160GB SATA 3Gbps Intel PC29AS21BA0 34-nm Intel MLC
Intel 335 Series 240GB SATA 6Gbps SandForce SF-2281 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 730 Series 480GB SATA 6Gbps Intel PC29AS21CA0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel DC P3700 800GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Mushkin Reactor 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
OCZ Arc 100 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Trion 100 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 A19-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Trion 150 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Vector 180 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Vector 180 960GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe Gen2 x2 Marvell 88SS9183 19-nm Toshiba MLC
Samsung 850 EV0 250GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MGX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 EV0 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 Pro 500GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung UBX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 960 EVO 250GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 Pro 2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung SM951 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung S4LN058A01X01 16-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung XP941 256GB PCIe Gen2 x4 Samsung S4LN053X01 19-nm Samsung MLC
Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC358790XBG 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Transcend SSD370 256GB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC
Transcend SSD370 1TB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC

All the SATA SSDs were connected to the motherboard’s Z97 chipset. The M6e was connected to the Z97 via the motherboard’s M.2 slot, which is how we’d expect most folks to run that drive. Since the XP941, 950 Pro, RD400, and 960 Pro require more lanes, they were connected to the CPU via a PCIe adapter card. The 750 Series and DC P3700 were hooked up to the CPU via the same full-sized PCIe slot.

We used the following system for testing:

Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Motherboard Asus Z97-Pro
Firmware 2601
Platform hub Intel Z97
Platform drivers Chipset: 10.0.0.13

RST: 13.2.4.1000

Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Adata XPG V3 DDR3 at 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 11-11-11-28-1T
Audio Realtek ALC1150 with 6.0.1.7344 drivers
System drive Corsair Force LS 240GB with S8FM07.9 firmware
Storage Crucial BX100 500GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial BX200 480GB with MU01.4 firmware

Crucial MX200 500GB with MU01 firmware

Intel 335 Series 240GB with 335u firmware

Intel 730 Series 480GB with L2010400 firmware

Intel 750 Series 1.2GB with 8EV10171 firmware

Intel DC P3700 800GB with 8DV10043 firmware

Intel X25-M G2 160GB with 8820 firmware

Plextor M6e 256GB with 1.04 firmware

OCZ Trion 100 480GB with 11.2 firmware

OCZ Trion 150 480GB with 12.2 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 240GB with 1.0 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 960GB with 1.0 firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 Pro 500GB with EMXM01B6Q firmware

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB with 1B0QBXX7 firmware

Samsung XP941 256GB with UXM6501Q firmware

Transcend SSD370 256GB with O0918B firmware

Transcend SSD370 1TB with O0919A firmware

Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Case Fractal Design Define R5
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards, to Intel for the CPUs, to Adata for the memory, to Fractal Design for the cases, and to Corsair for the system drives and PSUs. And thanks to the drive makers for supplying the rest of the SSDs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.

  • We run virtually all our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run a second time to verify the results of the first test and additional times only if necessary. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure the CPU’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the frequency at 3.5GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1920×1080 at 60Hz. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

 

Conclusions

The 960 EVOs put up great numbers across most of our test suite, so we have high expectations for their final standings. The 1TB drive especially threatens to shake up the top end of the overall performance chart. To compare each drive, we take the geometric mean of a basket of results from our test suite. Only drives that have been through the entire current test suite on our current rig are represented.

 

The 960 EVO 1TB clambers all the way to the summit, landing just a step below the 960 Pro 2TB. The drive turned in an outstanding performance, even eclipsing its more expensive older brother in several of the tests. It’s no surprise that it landed so high. The 960 EVO 250GB doesn’t reach such nosebleed-inducing heights, but it still shows a sizeable performance increase over its 850 EVO predecessor. Samsung succeeded in giving the 960 EVO 250GB an NVMe-facilitated performance bump over the 850 EVO, but really hit it out of the park with its 1TB drive. Performance-wise, the RD400, 950 Pro, and 750 Series fall in between the two versions of the 960 EVO, so their prices may need some adjusting to remain competitive.

So the 960 EVOs’ performance is certainly up to snuff, but what about the bang-for-buck? Our scatter plots will give us the answer. Use the buttons to switch between views of all drives, only SATA drives, or only PCIe drives. The most compelling position in these plots is toward the upper left corner, where the price per gigabyte is low and performance is high. Prices for the 960 EVOs and 960 Pro 2TB are based on Samsung’s price sheets, since they aren’t actually for sale yet.


The 960 EVO 1TB is in a great spot, perhaps even the sweet spot. It represents a huge savings over the 960 Pro while reaching almost the same level of performance. The 960 EVO 250GB isn’t quite as enticing, but it delivers near-950 Pro 512GB performance for less money. That’s still a pretty amazing leap for the solid-state storage market.

This tectonic shift in the price-to-performance arena leaves Samsung’s own 950 Pro and Intel’s 750 Series drives looking outclassed. Toshiba isn’t standing still, though. Its OCZ RD400 512GB MLC drive has recently gotten some price cuts that let it hang with Samsung’s latest. Despite debuting at near-950 Pro prices, the RD400 512GB is down to $269 on Newegg or even less on Amazon for the version with an included PCIe adapter. Competition is a great thing.

Samsung 960 EVO 1TB

November 2016

In summary, we like the 960 EVO 250GB, but we like like the 960 EVO 1TB. We previously gave the 960 Pro 2TB our Editor’s Choice award, but the 960 EVO 1TB deserves it even more. 48 cents per gigabyte is substantially more than many are used to paying for storage these days, but we think the performance increase over SATA drives finally justifies the expense for the well-heeled. It’s more affordable than the 63 cents per gigabyte that the 960 Pro demands while delivering close to the same performance.

Intelligent TurboWrite, copper-film heat dissipation, third-generation V-NAND, and NVMe combine to give the 960 EVO 1TB a huge performance edge over almost any other drive on the market. It’s part of the formation of a new intermediate tier that the market has sorely needed in its transition to NVMe. The only real reason anyone should go for the 960 Pro over the EVO is for its five-year warranty and increased endurance. For sheer performance per dollar, the 960 EVO 1TB is the new king.

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 3 years ago

    Hey der Funk, and the other guys interested…!

    Got a nice surprise yesterday–I routinely checked on a new version of Magician–and it told me once again that I was using the latest version of the software…but as I usually do I followed the link to the Samsung site–usually I would expect to see the version number 4.9.7 prominently featured. The day that I made my initial post in this thread the Samsung site was still showing 4.9.7 as the latest version.

    This time, however, there was no version number listed–and the download was smaller than the 4.9.7 version of the software–so I figured I had nothing lose by downloading it–and Lo and Behold–at long last it was Magician 5.0…! Best part? It’s got a new interface *and* it works as it should under the latest builds of Win10x64…! Yes, finally the Magician software properly initializes the driver under WIn10x64, secure-boot On!

    Better late than never from Samsung! Thought you might like to know! Merry Christmas…;) AHCI bus and SATA bus now recognized by the Magician software.

    • boidsonly
    • 3 years ago

    Samsung has the bad habit of not providing release dates for their drives. I wish folks would quit reviewing products that have no release date. Maybe it would break Samsung of that habit?

      • bandannaman
      • 3 years ago

      If you search for “960 pro” on Newegg, it returns both the Pro and the EVO models and includes release dates.

        • SsP45
        • 3 years ago

        Says “Coming Soon” on every single 960 PRO or EVO to me.

          • bandannaman
          • 3 years ago

          Mine says “Release Date: 01/02/2017” for the 1TB and 2TB Pros, and “Release Date: 12/13/2016” for the three EVOs.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    My own conclusion is: PCIe SSDs are still generally more expensive than their SATA counterparts. They’re also generally a bit faster. I think anyone who is planning to buy an SSD will want to know that.

    • dikowexeyu
    • 3 years ago

    Wow. Thanks Samsung. Just tanks.

    • willmore
    • 3 years ago

    As impressive as the performance of these drives is, I think I can feel pretty happy with the 850 EVO 256GB that I have in my SATA-only laptop.

    Maybe when the Xpoint drives come out I will start to feel like I’m missing out on something.

    Good review, Tony, thanks.

    • crystall
    • 3 years ago

    I was wondering if I’m the only one being still uninterested in PCIe-based SSDs – at least for desktop/workstation uses. My daily workload includes grep’ing through a large codebase (as in multiple GiBs in size, hundreds of thousands of source files) dozens of times every day. I do this either on Intel 320 or on a 730 and both drives are plenty fast for this task. Is some extra speed really enough to drop a common connection (SATA) that can be plugged everywhere and easily moved to external enclosures if need be?

    I can see why the form-factor is well suited to a laptop where space is scarce; but I really wouldn’t give up the non-performance advantage of a SATA drive just for the sake of speed.

    • WaltC
    • 3 years ago

    I’m still getting this error in Windows’ event viewer system log…Win10x64, build 14971…I’ve had this error in every build of Win10x64, and in every version of the Magician Samsung software (for my SIII 256GB 850 EVO):

    “The MagicianSataModeReader service failed to start due to the following error: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source.”

    *Note that there is no “service” by this name in Services.

    What’s happening is that when secure boot is on in a Win10 UEFI system then the component reads as an incorrect signature and won’t load. The result is when I run the Magician software (4.9.7–and all previous versions of Magician) the Magician interface says that my Sata III bus is disconnected and that my AHCI controller is not running in AHCI mode. Thankfully, though, what Magician is telling me there is false–my Sata III bus is running just fine and my system is running in AHCI mode properly because *cough* my EVO 850 SSD *would not boot otherwise* and would just sit there–useless! Not to mention all of my other hard drives, too!…;)

    Workaround: simply boot with secure boot turned off and the Magician drivers initialize and load fine and the Magician software correctly ID’s my bus and mode. I leave secure boot on.

    But as these things go this is not a severe problem but really a very simple and purely cosmetic problem–I don’t even need Magician installed to use the drive, actually. But that’s not the point, really. The point for me is that after almost two years and more than a full year since the official launch of Win10–Samsung still has not *fixed* this simple driver initialization bug in its Magician software! A search on the Internet reveals quite a sizable number of people affected by this bug at present–but still no fix from Samsung!

    With hardware devices of all kinds the software interface for the control of those devices is equally as important as the device itself, of course–bad driver/controller software can ruin even the best piece of hardware. So I don’t know if I’ll be buying NVMe hardware from Samsung next year when I move to NVMe, because I’m not impressed by the fact that the problem I mentioned here–although it’s purely a cosmetic problem–has yet to be fixed by Samsung even after all of this time. It’s just sloppy if nothing else.

    Thought I’d mention this to see if anyone @ tech_report has come across a fix for this…? Thanks!…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      There won’t be a fix until Samsung deals with it. From what I’ve read, it seems Secure Boot requires WHQL signing, and if the drivers haven’t passed WHQL tests MS won’t sign.

      edit: yep, that does seem to be the case:

      [url<]https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/drivers/install/kernel-mode-code-signing-policy--windows-vista-and-later-[/url<]

        • WaltC
        • 3 years ago

        Thanks for the reply…I figured as such…;) Ah, well…such is tech, eh?

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Great to see this performance come down to mainstream pricing.

    All I can hope is that some competition (especially at QD1) starts to appear at the same price. I’m not in the market to replace my Intel 730 yet, but by the time I do I’d like there to be a non-Samsung drive that’s equivalent or close in terms of performance/$.

    My Samsung boycott hasn’t been hard for the last three years but if other companies don’t keep up it’s going to get a whole lot harder!

      • chrcoluk
      • 3 years ago

      which is as I said some degree 🙂
      They applying the minimal necessary to avoid bricked drives which is still better than what we had on first generation drives. The manufacturers will always deliberately make a gap between high end enterprise parts and consumer.
      Is this journaling protection good enough? I will say yes when you talking about consistency with what the target market is used to, e.g. intel fake raid controllers do not have a battery backup to preserve data on power cuts.
      Of course improvements are always good, but I dont think we will see proper power protection in consumer parts until something better then that is on enterprise parts.

    • smilingcrow
    • 3 years ago

    The irony is that for most consumer workloads you still get a bigger gain between Intel CPU generations, which people moan about, than you do between this and a SATA SSD about 4 or 5 generations old.
    Yet people still get excited about these drives.

      • flip-mode
      • 3 years ago

      Hmm… These drives look to double the performance of my $250 256 GB Samsung SSD 830, which is something like 4 years old I guess. Intel has not doubled the performance of its CPUs in the last 4 years, not even close – am I right?

      But it is interesting to see all the comments of “SATA SSDs are good enough” from a crowd that usually jumps to upgrade when there’s a 20% – 50% performance boost on the table.

      Anyway, I’m not in any rush to upgrade the 830 in my desktop, but it will have to happen some day and it is nice to see that when the time comes a new drive will bring some substantial performance gains for all my web surfing activities. Hah.

        • f0d
        • 3 years ago

        those big boosts you mention are only on benchmarks which does not affect the real world improvements

        there would not be a 20-50% improvement to load times from a ssd from 5 years ago to the newest nvme speedy drives

        also these drives would not be half the load time of your 830, im guessing your 830 would still be looking good in the load times chart

        edit: heck i just noticed the x25m-g2 is on the load times chart and thats still looking good and its a drive from about 7 years ago (2009era)

          • limitedaccess
          • 3 years ago

          Would be interesting if some site actually also did an examination of the impact of differing CPUs, Video Cards or even memory on load times.

          Those marginal Intel CPU gains could result in better gains in just load times than updating your SSD.

      • Froz
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, this is so weird. From the conclusion in this review you could say this SSD is at least 2 times faster than some low-end, cheap SSDs from the last years. But when you check the real-world numbers, the difference is pretty much only for moving files around. Which, while obviously important in some specific scenarios, is not going to matter to most people.

      Also, shockingly this SSD is much slower in the Shadow of Mordor loading test. And this is also the test where the differences are actually big enough to notice in real life (fastest 47 s, slowest 56 s, 15% difference). I’m guessing there must be some error affecting this. I was a little surprised that author commented it with “nothing interesting”, as that was the only interesting graph on that page :p.

      I wonder if perhaps wrong games are tested. I remember that for example in World of Tanks, it was always very obvious who in the match has SSD and who doesn’t, as the load times were that hugely different. I wonder if the differences between SSDs would also be more visible there. Here the Tomb Rider clearly shows that the game is not waiting for data, the bottleneck must be at some other place, I don’t see any point to keep testing new SSDs in this game, the difference between the best and the worst disks could easily be a random fluctuation (it’s less then 2%).

        • limitedaccess
        • 3 years ago

        SSDs have several orders of magnitude (as in 10x, 100x, etc.) better random read performance at low QD and latency than HDDs. This the primary reason for the very large real world performance difference between them and why even early SSDs which did not have large sequential advantages still were much faster in real usage.

        Improved SSDs have not brought anywhere near those levels of gains. Even then the real improvements have only been in sequential and high QD performance that show in the benchmarks but not necessarily for common usage.

      • dikowexeyu
      • 3 years ago

      A new CPU from Intel is roughly the same as a decade old one, and is not cheaper.

      This drive trashes an entire state of the art decade old server.

      aaand, if a SSD doesn’t looks faster, is because the crappy state of the art intel CPU is the bottleneck.

        • Krogoth
        • 3 years ago

        Actually, there has been a significant improvement in CPU performance on Intel since Conroe when compared to current Skylake chips. At stock, the Skylake chips are over twice as fast as their Conroe counterparts.

        The Skylake chip consume less power at load and idle then the aforementioned Conroe chips.

        The bridge widens when you move onto the multi-socket and multi-core world. The upcoming Skylake-EP/EX chips completely annihilate their Clovertown and Kentsfield predecessors at power efficiency and raw performance.

    • barich
    • 3 years ago

    It’s interesting to me how little real-world performance difference there is between a drive as old as the X25-M G2 and the new NVMe hotness in things like OS and application load times.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      Once you move to an SSD from an HDD, storage read/write speed isn’t really where the bottleneck is in those processes anymore, so as a result improving hardware performance even further doesn’t result in a net benefit.

    • DarkUltra
    • 3 years ago

    Does this drive have capacitors to help write out anything in flight if the power goes out:

    [url<]https://youtu.be/nwCzcFvmbX0[/url<] skip to 2:00 Would this prevent something like this: [url<]https://youtu.be/-Qddrz1o9AQ[/url<]

      • chrcoluk
      • 3 years ago

      I expect all drives have some degree of power cut protection now days, just the manufacturers dont want to advertise it to avoid killing enterprise sales.

      A easy way to tell is the fact we get hardly any complaints of bricked drives anymore vs years ago.

      • weaktoss
      • 3 years ago

      No capacitors in these drives. Samsung uses journaling to preserve the integrity of the mapping table in the event of power loss (which should prevent the drive from getting bricked), but you’re out of luck in terms of actual data that might be in the DRAM cache at the time.

      Samsung only puts real hardware power loss protection in its enterprise offerings.

    • f0d
    • 3 years ago

    we have reached a point where the speed of the ssd just doesnt matter anymore, almost everything has the same load time roughly

    sure there might be niche cases where it would matter but for 99% of people just a cheap sata ssd will be just as good as the fastest nvme there is

    now we just need to make them bigger and cheaper – i want my $100 4tb ssd

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      I’m with you, I’d like to see a cheaper $/GB set of SSDs hit the market. But unfortunately it’s probably still more practical/cheaper for them to compete on speed over capacity.

      I do like the idea of the very fast NVMe boot/OS drive though. The max transfer rates are great and all, but the the larger queue depth (and hence IOPs) available on NVMe makes for smoother heavy multi-tasking in my experience and just further relieves the storage system bottleneck. I definitely want one in my next build, but I also really like the very large SATA SSDs for mass storage. That setup isn’t far off from what I have going now with a pair of SATA SSDs. As for sizes, the 512GB boot drive is pretty reasonably sized, but the 1TB storage SSD could be bigger. 2TB would be pretty good, but a 4TB like you mention would be fairly future proof, just won’t be wallet friendly any time soon.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      It depends entirely on your I/O workload.

      SATA SSD media is good enough for the overwhelming majority of single-user workloads out there. The load times for most applications are typically held by CPU (clockspeed/IPC).

      PCIe SSD media makes sense if you are doing something far more than gaming/browsing for cat pictures. They are spiritual successors to the high RPM SCSI HDDs of yesteryear.

        • albundy
        • 3 years ago

        thanks for the SCSI mention. brought a tear to my eye. good times with SCA-2!

      • HERETIC
      • 3 years ago

      Mostly agree,but there is still a bunch of drives that sit just above the lemons that
      should be avoided-Examples-BX200-Trion 100-OCZ TL100-Any ramless TLC.

      Some drives have been made as cheap as possible so OEM’s can write SSD inside
      on their blurb,and they won’t give you that wonderful responsiveness your looking for.

      Spending a few dollars more and stepping up off that bottom rung will generally get you
      a good SSD…………………………….

    • limitedaccess
    • 3 years ago

    Curious if there is a possible explanation for the Shadows of Mordor results?

      • Neutronbeam
      • 3 years ago

      Too many orcs; duh.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      Shadows of Mordor loads up far more assets to memory than other games in the comparison. That is where extra bandwidth of PCIe SSD media comes into play but the difference is much smaller than the difference between SATA SSD media versus HDD.

        • slushpuppy007
        • 3 years ago

        The 960 EVO takes longer to load Shadow of Mordor than the 850 EVO.

        • limitedaccess
        • 3 years ago

        I’m not referring to the longer load times but the difference between the various tests. This is also the only game tests where the differences are large enough to really warrant discussion.

        The 250GB 850 EVO takes around 6s (or 15% less time) to load than either 960 EVO or even the 1TB 850 EVO.

        The only thing I can come up with is that there is some deficiency with the new Polaris Controller and MEX vs MGX controller (1 TB EVOs use the MEX, smaller the MGX) in regards to this work load?

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