Samsung has brought to market a new generation of M.2 SSD solutions. The new 960 Evo and Pro families offer a variety of capacity configurations, as well as multiple price points for different budgets. Regardless as to which you go for, you will be paying quite the number of pennies to take advantage of this new storage technology.
Not only does the 960 Pro catalogue of SSDs offer ultra-fast peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of 3,500 MB/s and 2,100 MB/s, respectively, there's also the option for a massive 2TB of storage. The units have gone on sale now and you'll be able to pick one up for your PC build, but how do the units fare in benchmarks?
Tom's Hardware found the new 960 Pro (they tested the 2TB) to perform strongly across the board, alongside the predecessor 950 series, though Samsung was beaten by competing products in some tests. That said, the high price point certainly puts the new storage PCBs out of reach for most consumers.
"That leaves the Samsung 960 Pro with little appeal for enthusiasts and power users. Samsung has delivered a product with so much advanced technology and performance over competing products that it has become a professional series, and it has the price to match. Users shouldn't buy the 960 Pro for gaming, although the large 2TB capacity would hold all (or a good portion) of your Steam library. If you get paid for running professional applications with Adobe, Sony Vegas, or other heavy workloads, then the 960 Pro's price becomes much less of an issue.
For most users, the forthcoming 960 EVO will be a better product. It should deliver the same real-world application performance for consumer workloads, and the pricing will be significantly better. Samsung announced both the 960 Pro and EVO at the same event, but the 960 Pro is in our hands, and the 960 EVO is currently just a paper launch."
Storage Reviews came to a similar conclusion, noting how Samsung's 3rd-gen V-NAND technology and Polaris controller help to take its storage performance to the next level.
"The Samsung 960 Pro is certainly an impressive drive and significant step up from its predecessor, the 950 Pro. Leveraging PCIe Gen. 3.0 via the NVMe 1.2 protocol, the company's 3rd generation of V-NAND and a new Polaris controller, the Samsung 960 Pro offers fantastic performance and enhanced reliability. It also features long-term dependable performance due to minimized performance degradation, doubling that of the 950 PRO. As a result, users will be able to use the drive for heavy daily workloads for a good amount of time."
While the price is high and performance is stunning, Ars Tehcnica did bring up the issue with Samsung reducing the warranty attached to the 960 series. Instead of 10 years, you'll be covered for just 5.
"The Samsung 960 Pro is exceptionally fast. On raw performance it is by the fastest consumer SSD you can buy. If you simply must have the absolute best inside your PC, and you're into benchmarking bragging rights, then there's little reason not to take the plunge. Prices are high, but not unreasonable for the colossal speed and capacities you get. The significantly reduced warranty is a shame, but five years is still comparable with other drives on the market. And let's face it: if you're considering buying one of these drives now, you'll probably be quite happy to look at upgrading again in another five years."
The only downside to the new 960 Pro M.2 storage from Samsung is the price. It's new tech and will certainly cost a bomb, but this unfortunately will put these new cards out of reach for most consumers. For the 512GB option, you're looking at $329.99, or $629.99 for 1TB. If you really want to spend some cash, there's even an insane 2TB variant for $1299. For those on a tighter budget, the 960 Evo is at least slightly more affordable, starting at $129.99.
You'll be able to check out the listings for 960 Pro 512GB and 1TB variants below:
So what do you make of Samsung's new M.2 storage options and will you be picking one up? Sound off in the comments!