Samsung's SSDs have always been fast. We were big fans of the 840 Pro, and its mainstream Evo variant — it was the first SSD to crack through the 1TB storage barrier. Then the 850 Pro and Evo came around, and we thought things couldn't get too much better. As it turns out, they couldn't — not unless Samsung tried out a new form factor and high-speed data connector.
The Samsung 950 Pro SSD is the first mainstream solid-state drive from the company to use the M.2 standard — it's an all-in-one power-and-data connector that lives directly on the motherboards of mid-range to high-end desktop PCs and laptops. M.2 is directly connected to a computer's PCI-Express 3.0 lanes, and that means a massive speed increase over the now-dated SATA standard.
The 950 Pro combines the new Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface with Samsung's own developments in 3D V-NAND flash memory — which it debuted around the same time last year. Prices are pegged at $US199 for the 256GB variant and $US349 for the 512GB model; at the moment, no word on any smaller or larger capacities in the pipeline.
Thanks to the new tech, Samsung promises blistering transfer speeds of 2500MBps read and 1500MBps write from the 950 Pro — that's five times faster than last year's top of the line 850 Pro SATA SSD. The M.2 standard allows for different lengths of drive, and the 950 Pro is a 80mm-long 2280 form factor. The only downside? Your laptop or desktop PC has to support M.2 for you to be able to install and use the 950 Pro.
Here's what Samsung Australia's Todd Lynton, director of enterprise and small business, has to say about the 950 Pro SSD:
"Samsung is globally recognised as a leader in the innovation of solid state drive (SSD) technology. Last year, we launched the world’s first SSD 3D V-NAND technology to overcome limitations of traditional 2D SSD formats. We also launched Samsung’s first Portable SSD product with the PSSD T1.
"Both of these products represent amazing innovations that drove significant excitement in the market and have allowed Samsung to grow in Australia. "We’re excited to extend our development in the category with the introduction of the 950 PRO which integrates Samsung’s latest memory technologies. I look forward to providing more information around pricing and availability closer to the local launch."
With international pricing pegged around the $200 to $400 range, expect local prices in Australian computer stores to sit around the $300 to $600 mark. That's a good deal cheaper than other high-end M.2 SSDs, including Samsung's own popular SM951, a workstation- and server-focused drive that boasts 2150MBps/1500MBps performance. We'll have more info including a full review of the Samsung 950 Pro coming soon.