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Samsung 960 EVO, 960 Pro NVMe SSDs: The Writing Is Literally On The Wall (Updated)

The Samsung SSD Global Summit kicks off tomorrow with a two hour presentation. Samsung hasn't released any details but the writing is on the wall--literally--for the 960 Pro and 960 EVO to debut. Below is a picture of the wall of our hotel:

Neither product's existence should come as a surprise to anyone. The 960 Pro is the retail version of the SM961 we tested here and here. The 960 EVO is the same for the OEM model we tested here. Both products are spectacular, but the retail models should increase performance, resolve any outstanding bugs, and give users access to Samsung's excellent software suite.

The image shows the 960 EVO 1TB and the 960 Pro 2TB. For Samsung to reach 2TB and still keep the M.2 2280 single-sided design it will need new 60-layer V-NAND, a product we don't expect until early 2017. This wouldn't be the first time Samsung has announced smaller capacity size models with a promise of a larger version in the future. Last year, the company put forth a 950 Pro 1TB NVMe SSD, but it never came to market. The new 960 line solves Samsung's capacity scaling issue, but we had to wait an additional eight months after the planned release.

Look for more news coming out of the SSD Global Summit in the next 24 hours. Something tells me the new 960 SSDs are not the only new products that will come out of Seoul this year.

Update, 9/20/2016:

After looking at the drive with fresh eyes this morning, we discovered a few features on the new 960 Pro 2TB. The drive has a Polaris controller, DRAM package, and four NAND flash packages. This arrangement allows Samsung to reach 2TB with existing 48-layer NAND, but the form factor may change to M.2 22110 (22mm wide, 110mm long). We've seen SSDs configured with four packages on one side in a 2280 (80mm long) before, but some of the components, like DRAM, on the other side of the printed circuit board. We don't see a place on the Pro 2TB drive for DRAM, but Samsung packaged the DRAM with the controller in the 750 EVO series. If that is how Samsung addressed the form factor problem with the 960 Pro 2TB, it would also account for the low 1-amp power rating at 3.3 volts.

The 960 EVO uses the same layout as the PM961 OEM SSD we tested a few days ago. On the retail drive, Samsung will enable TurboWrite, and users may gain access to Rapid Mode, a DRAM-based acceleration algorithm.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.