Samsung Launches 950 Pro SSD With NVMe And 3D V-NAND

The new 950 Pro will hit retail shelves October 15, but only in 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. Both sizes use the m.2 2280 form factor and will plug directly into motherboards that support the NVMe protocol (mainly Z97 and Z170 chipsets from Intel). Notebook compatibility will be spotty at first, as many existing notebooks that support m.2 PCIe don't ship with NVMe-friendly firmware. Form factor is also an issue for notebook upgrades, as some systems from Lenovo, Dell and HP only support PCIe m.2 drives in smaller form factors, such as 2240 and 2260.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Product950 Pro 256 GB950 Pro 512 GB
Part NumberMZ-V5P256BWMZ-V5P512BW
ControllerSamsung UBXSamsung UBX
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.1NVMe 1.1
Form Factorm.2 2280m.2 2280
FlashSamsung 128 Gb die V-NANDSamsung 128 Gb die V-NAND
Density256 GB512 GB
DRAMSamsung 512 MB LPDDR3Samsung 512 MB LPDDR3
EncryptionAES 256-bitAES 256-bit
Sequential Read2,200 MB/s2,500 MB/s
Sequential Write900 MB/s1,500 MB/s
Random Read270,000 IOPS300,000 IOPS
Random Write85,000 IOPS110,000 IOPS
Power Consumption (Idle)1.7 Watts Maximum1.7 Watts Maximum
Power Consumption (Average)5.1 Watts5.7 Watts
Power Consumption (Burst)6.4 Watts7 Watts
Endurance200 TB400 TB

The 950 Pro uses the same UBX controller that Samsung also used in the SM951-NVMe SSD. However, the new 950 Pro has several advantages over the OEM model that we can see. For one, the drive will ship from more retailers, so availability will not be a problem. The 950 Pro also uses Samsung's latest 3D V-NAND technology for increased endurance and performance, along with official support from Samsung's Magician SSD toolbox software.

Although the 950 Pro delivers impressive specifications and will probably sell like hotcakes, we're disappointed in the capacity sizes offered. Samsung is coming off the release of two 2 TB-capacity products from the 850 Pro and 850 Evo product line, so it doesn't make a lot of sense for Samsung to leave a 1 TB 950 Pro model off the table at launch. Samsung did state that a 1 TB model will launch next year, and we should expect a 4 TB model to follow in 2016. Both the 1 TB and 4 TB products will rely on Samsung's new 48-layer V-NAND, which will enter products in Q4 2015.

The 950 Pro also comes in limited form factors that can hurt sales. We know of several notebooks that support only m.2 in smaller form factors like 2240 and 2260, while the 950 Pro ships in only 2280. We suspect Samsung will address the form factor issues later as support for the NVMe protocol grows through the PC ecosystem.

The Samsung 950 Pro delivers the kind of performance that previously used to be measured in rack spaces, but in a form factor that is about the same size as a stick of gum. The 512 GB model with up to 2,500 MB/s sequential read and 1,500 MB/s sequential write speeds is a step above impressive. The smaller 256 GB model with 2,200 MB/s sequential read and 900 MB/s sequential write isn't far behind, because the high performance numbers will come from high queue depths. Client workloads come from the low queue depth range. We suspect both capacity sizes will deliver equal or nearly equal performance under typical client workloads.

Review units are coming back from South Korea in a few days.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • atheus
    This is the part that I'm waiting for to go ahead with my Sky Lake build this Fall, although I am also very sad to see there isn't a 1TB model available until 2016. I'd really like to know how the performance of the 1TB drive would go before building on 512GB.

    That said, if 48-layer V-NAND won't be in the picture for these until 2016, what products will be using it in Q4 2015?
  • CRamseyer
    Production starts in Q4 so I suspect Samsung will launch the 1TB model at CES. That will give the company a few months buffer to sort out any issues that may pop up in production.
  • epileptic
    Both the 1TB and 4TB products will reply rely on Samsung's new 48-layer V-NAND which will enter products in Q4 2015.
  • megiv
    What are the read/write access times ?
  • CRamseyer
    I'll have to test them to find that out. The 4K random QD1 read is 11,000 IOPS for the 256GB and 12,000 IOPS for the 512GB. This is claimed performance and not actual measurements that I've ran.
  • neiljwd
    So I see it's due to be released October 15th. Does that mean I can get it then, as a consumer?

    Will it be shipped to many distributors or will it be like, really rare for months?
  • NahuelSkywalker
    what about "response time" cause that was the problem with the latest iterations, they couldn't match the 0.2 that the ssd hold, the system it's gonna feel slow without that...
  • thundervore
    Hmm, I don't think someone at Samsung looked at Z97/Z120 motherboards before they designed this M.2 SSD.

    Take a good look at all the Z97 and Z120 motherboards out there. Most of, if not all of have the M.2 connector on the right side of the motherboard. Meaning, when you plug this beautiful black PCB SSD in, your fabulous branding and logo will be upside down!

    Lets see if some one at marketing does their job and realize they have to spin the metal plate 180 degrees before these hit the shelves or it will be the Gigabyte GTX 780TI GHz Edition all over again.....SHM
  • eodeo
    Who is this SSD for? 250gb 850evo is ~100$. This one is 2x in price. Is the speed gain noticeable to the average end user?

    I'm using a 250gb 840 evo at the moment. Would I notice the speed upgrade?
  • tachi1247
    Who is this SSD for? 250gb 850evo is ~100$. This one is 2x in price. Is the speed gain noticeable to the average end user?

    I'm using a 250gb 840 evo at the moment. Would I notice the speed upgrade?

    It's for people who need the fastest SSD out there. There are a lot of people that bought the 840 Pro and 850 Pro instead of their cheaper EVO counterparts so those people will now buy this one for one reason or another.

    Whether or not there will be a noticeable performance gain is another question. This model is significantly faster than either of the SATA options of the 850 so I would guess that you will notice the speed difference in the right scenarios. The difference will certainly be larger than what is seen between an 850 pro and an 850 evo.

    Whether or not you would see the speed difference depends on your usage. If you're gaming then probably not. At least not enough to justify the upgrade cost.