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Samsung 960 Pro SSD is the world's fastest M.2 NVMe SSD

Katharine Byrne
21 Sep 2016
Samsung 960 PRO
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Samsung has officially announced its latest consumer friendly M.2 NVMe SSDs, the 960 Pro and 960 Evo

Samsung has announced the 960 Pro and 960 Evo SSD range at its Global SSD Summit in Seoul, South Korea. The successor to last year's 950 range, the 960 series are the world's fastest M.2 Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSDs, taking them way beyond the capabilities of SATA 3. The 960 PRO will also be the first M.2 NVMe SSD to be available in 2TB, making it the highest-capacity M.2 NVMe SSD currently available to consumers.

While SATA 3 is limited to a theoretical maximum throughput of 600MB/s, the 960 PRO uses PCI Express Gen.3 x4 lane interface and an all-new five-core Polaris controller (not to be confused with AMD's Polaris architecture) to deliver massive peak sequential read and write speeds of 3,500MB/sec and 2,100MB/sec respectively. It can also produce random read speeds of 440,000 Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and write speeds of 360,000 IOPS.

READ NEXT: Samsung 950 Pro review

That's a huge improvement over SATA 3 – up to five times, in fact – and it almost maxes out the theoretical maximum throughput of its third-generation PCIe interface, which is 4,000MB/sec. That also makes it 40% faster than last year's 950 Pro, which peaked at a read speed of 2,500MB/sec and a write speed of 1,500MB/sec.

The 960 Pro has also increased its random read speed by 10% and its write speed by 200% compared to the 950 Pro, which only had random speeds of 300,000 IOPS and 110,000 IOPS. That means the 960 series is primed and ready for 4K video rendering, large file transfers and speedy Windows bootups.  

Samsung says the 960 Pro is geared towards professionals and enthusiasts who want the very best and latest technology, while the 960 Evo is primarily aimed at general consumers who want to take the next step in their PC performance. 

The 960 Evo will also be the first SSD to use Samsung's new Intelligent TurboWrite technology, which can accelerate sequential read and write speeds to peaks of 3,200MB/sec and 1,900MB/sec respectively. The 960 Evo's random read speeds, meanwhile, can reach 380,000 IOPS and write speeds of 360,000 IOPS. That's an improvement of more than 200% compared to the 950 Pro.

Likewise, thanks to its M.2 interface – which measures just 20mm wide and 80mm long – the 960 series can happily slot into ultra-slim laptops and desktop PCs alike, giving it much more flexibility than its more traditional 2.5in SSD rivals. M.2 also uses less energy than 2.5in SATA SSDs, since it can draw power directly from the motherboard rather than needing its own power connector. The 960 range has a dedicated heat-spreading layer to help dissipate heat further, making sure you can still get those blistering read and write speeds without throttling. 


Samsung 960 PRO and EVO SSDs

Samsung's introducing its new Magician software with the 960 series, allowing users to have full control over their SSD settings and firmware updates. It still comes with the Performance Benchmark and Secure Erase features from the previous version of Magician, but comes with a new System Compatibility feature that helps diagnose any compatibility issues with your current system, as well as a Secure File Erase, which lets users select individual files to permanently delete them from your system. Finally, Magic Vault allows you to designate a certain section of the SSD as secure storage, making it invisible to the PC to make it harder for viruses to detect and contaminate.  

READ NEXT: See our top picks for best SSDs

The range also comes with Samsung's Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to manage performance levels and prevent overheating. According to Samsung, the 960 Pro can transfer up to two times more data than the 950 Pro before it throttles. 

Available worldwide from late October 2016, the 960 Pro will be available in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB versions, with prices starting at $329 for the 512GB model, $629 for the 1TB version and a whopping $1,299 for the 2TB version. UK prices are yet to be confirmed, but I'll update this article as soon as I have more information. The 960 Evo, meanwhile, will be available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities, starting at $130 for the 256GB version, $249 for the 512GB model and $479 for the 1TB version. 

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