Samsung's 950 Pro SSD marries V-NAND and NVMe for ludicrously fast speeds

In October, Samsung will roll out V-NAND flash M.2 sticks with 256GB and 512GB capacities.

Samsung gets a lot of love for its solid-state drives, which pack super-fast storage into small packages thanks to the company’s V-NAND technology—but its new drives crank things to 11. On Tuesday, Samsung announced 950 Pro M.2 SSDs that marry V-NAND density with blazing fast NVMe speeds delivered over a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface.

Translation: It's really small, and really fast.

The new SSD-on-a-stick features 32-layer V-NAND and will come in 256GB and 512GB options priced at $200 and $350 respectively. The Pro 950 will be available in October, but you might want to wait a few months before opening your wallet.

In early 2016, Samsung plans to introduce a jaw-dropping 1TB Pro 950 that will use the company’s recently announced 48-layer V-NAND, according to PC Perspective. Basically, more V-NAND layers means denser storage capacity, which is why Samsung will be able to pack more storage into such a small package.

The 950 Pro features the Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) protocol, which Samsung says will translate into improved performance for laptops and workstations, as well as better battery life for clamshells. If you want a slightly longer explanation of NVMe, check-out our recent performance showdown between M.2 drives on the market today.

samsung 950 pro SSD

We haven’t got our hands on the 950 Pro yet, so we can’t say for sure what kind of speeds you can expect from this drive. On paper, Samsung says the 512GB version will offer roaring sequential read speeds of up to 2.5GB/sec with write speeds maxing out at 1.5/GBs.

The company didn’t offer details on speeds for the 256GB version, but if they're near equal to the 512GB version, both drives should offer speed boosts over the fastest SSDs you can buy today.

In our aforementioned M.2 showdown (link above), we scored the 256GB version of Samsung’s SM951 M.2 SSD with NVMe at sequential read speeds of roughly 1.8GB/s and write speeds around 1.2GB/s. This drive has a number of key features that match the Pro 950, including NVMe and PCIe 3.0 with four lanes, but lacks the Pro 950’s V-NAND, going with traditional planar technology instead.

The impact on you at home: A company’s speed claims almost never live up to the hype in real world tests, so it remains to be seen if the Pro 950 truly hits a 700 MB/s improvement in read speeds over the SM951. Nevertheless, the Pro 950 should still offer a nice bump compared to what you can get today. Both 950 Pro drives come with a 5-year limited warranty that expires after 200 terabytes written for the 256GB version and 400 TBW for the 512GB model.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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