Samsung Updates NVMe SSD Driver To Version 2.1

In our review of the Samsung 960 Pro and 960 EVO we discovered a couple of abnormalities with the NVMe 2.0 driver. One of the more critical issues revolved around the use in a notebook. Simply put, with the driver installed, the storage system drank power in large gulps. Over the last couple of days, Samsung has updated the NVMe driver to version 2.1.

We don't have a lot of information about the new 2.1 NVMe driver release. The revision date shows December 2016, but this didn't hit the web until after January 1. The supporting notes claim to fix two issues, one being excessive power consumption and the other a shutdown bug that we didn't experience during testing.

This chart comes from our Samsung 960 EVO review and shows two Samsung 960 series products with both the Microsoft and Samsung NVMe (2.0) drivers installed. With Samsung's driver, we experienced a 71-minute loss in system availability on battery power. This is a significant loss on a gaming notebook with just over 5 hours of on-battery time. The 960 EVO was hit nearly as hard, with the difference being slightly over an hour.

We reported our findings to Samsung and were told the company would look into the issue. It seems the fix is ready, well kind of. The world's largest SSD manufacturer seems to have a bandwidth issue. This isn't the first time we've been stopped from downloading software on before. I'll use my magical reviewer powers to gain access to NVMe 2.1, but you'll have to keep trying and hope for a dose of luck.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • eriko
    I run Win Ser 2016 on my X99 rig, so the Sammy driver package wouldn't install for me.

    It was 'fun' to say the least to unpack / extract the drivers (File version, but I got there in the end.

    Microsoft driver:


    read 16xx MB/s, write 15xx MB/s

    Random (IOPS):

    Read 183,xxx , write 151,xxx

    Now, with the Sammy driver:


    read 16xx MB/s, write 15xx MB/s (about the same, but a little bit more)

    Random (IOPS):

    Read 334,xxx , write 282,xxx

    I dont know if I can be bothered to do this again for v2.1.

    Just thought I'd share - anyone with 960 NVME needs to upgrade their driver, MS ain't gonna do that for you.
  • mikeynavy1976
    I have a Dell XPS 13 9350 with a Samsung PM951. Would these drivers work? Do you replace the drivers under Disk Drives or Storage Controllers?
  • Paul NZ
    19135455 said:
    I have a Dell XPS 13 9350 with a Samsung PM951. Would these drivers work? Do you replace the drivers under Disk Drives or Storage Controllers?

    Dont think so

  • Tanyac
    19134044 said:
    anyone with 960 NVME needs to upgrade their driver, MS ain't gonna do that for you.

    Since the fixes are for Windows 8.x and 10 only why would anyone running W7 need to upgrade?

  • engineer5261
    I have the same question. I seem to be okay with 960 EVO NVME on windows 7. Any need for me to upgrade?
  • nycalex
    been using a samsung 960 pro 500gb since november.

    i think my drive installed automatically when i installed windows 10 fresh.

    i'm guessing this is the microsoft drivers.

    it's benching 3200mb/s in crystal disk.

    So far ZERO issues.

    However, i am a bit dissapointed at NVME. in real life applications, it offers nothing over the samsung 850 evo ssd it's replacing.

    loading times in games? same, or maybe 1-2 seconds quicker, can't really tell.

    Windows startup? can't really tell difference

    i don't do any image editing nor content creation.

    at least i get to brag that i got the fastest consumer SSD in the world. LOL
  • CRamseyer
    The Windows NVMe driver is a catch all that is good enough to get the OS installed without crashing. The custom drivers from Samsung, OCZ/Toshiba and a few others enable advanced features, like better power management and lower latency.

    You should feel a performance increase with the custom driver just from the latency reduction alone. If you get an extra hour of battery life then you may notice that as well.

    To answer a previous question, the driver changes under storage controllers in device manager. I did find a set of OEM drivers dated Dec 2016 by searching Google for Samsung 2.1 NVMe Driver. There is a Dropbox folder with several drivers and the latest has support for SM961, PM961 and some of the 951 products. I've yet to install any of them but may later tonight to see if any are the new 2.1 driver.
  • mapesdhs
    Re luck with the Samsung download site, forget it, I tried for days with the 2.0 driver, the site was never available (how completely ridiculous). Thankfully I found someone who'd posted the archive on a forum so I was able to get a 950 Pro working on an X99 setup ok with Win7. Why is Samsung's site stuck in the era of modem speeds?

    I'd also like to know why the SM961 is so much cheaper than the 960 Pro, don't get that at all. I can understand some difference, but the current difference is just bizarre (eg. from Scan, 208 UKP for the 512GB SM961, 348 UKP for the 512GB 960 Pro).

  • mikewinddale
    "I have a Dell XPS 13 9350 with a Samsung PM951. Would these drivers work? Do you replace the drivers under Disk Drives or Storage Controllers?"

    As far as I can tell, Samsung has one NVMe driver for all its NVMe drives. By contrast, they have separate firmware for every drive.

    But check their website to be sure. The NVMe driver webpage should list which drives it supports. You can also go to the support/downloads page for your particular drive and see whether the new NVMe driver shows up there.

    And this driver is for storage controllers. And note that you've got two separate storage controllers: your SATA and your NVMe. Your SATA controller is probably Intel RST. The NVMe driver, once installed, will show up as a separate controller, even though there isn't a physical NVMe controller (the drive has its internal controller, but it connects to PCIe without a motherboard controller).
  • ssdpro
    Maybe there is a cash flow problem at Samsung from the exploding phones and washing machines. That download has been down for days saying download limit exceeded. If they are using server management that has a download limit, they are in real trouble.