SATA solid state drives (SSD) have been dominating the market as perfect replacements for that old spinning drive we have had for years, allowing enthusiasts to boot their OS in a matter of seconds and get incredible performance boosts. What has been a growing practice to replace your main OS drive with, has been taking a new turn as SSD moves down a new path towards NVMe.
Taking advantage of the lightning speeds offered by PCIe, the new M.2 NVMe generation of SSD has trumped SATA SSD, offering speeds of up to 800% of what was already considered to be industry changing technology. The new Samsung 960 Pro drives promise speeds of up to 3500 MB/s read and 2100 MB/s write. That’s enough speed to turn the head of anyone who is the slightest bit knowledgeable on the topic. You can imagine the impression it gives those who are enthusiastic about their tech.
Some of the biggest draw backs have been price and capacity. SSDs are fast, run cool and spend less energy to operate. However you pay for it, as they run more expensive than a normal mechanical hard drive (HDD). Where you may be able to find a 2-3TB HDD for less than $100, a SATA SSD will run you around the same for about 500GB. Obviously, this happens with all new technology as it trickles into the market. Until it become the norm that replaces HDD, SSD will always be more.
Other than price, capacity has also been a challenge, as 500GB has been average to be considered your larger option. Until now at least. Thanks to Samsung’s 3D layering of NAND memory, they have options as high as 2TB with the new M.2 NVMe SSDs now, allowing you to effectively place almost any of your drives with, without worrying about a shortage of space.
Of course, we are brought back to the troubles of price, because once again, you’re going to pay for it. The 2TB model is currently running for $1299. That’s the price of a formidable laptop. So for now, they will more than likely be limited to enterprise buyers with big budget.
Having a 2TB model on the market is big though. This creates a major push in competition and gives light to what we are going to see in the next year or two in SSD. Especially as prices slowly begin to creep down (probably this time next year).
Thankfully, the models range back down to 512GB, which is going for around $325 currently (a little more affordable for consumers with big pockets at least).
Performance wise, the 960 Pro drives are an incredible wonder. They are like slapping a newly invented warp drive into the engine of your favorite sports car that you once-believed to be “fast”. We have been getting speeds anywhere from 2500 to 3200 MB/s on average (read) and 1700 to 2100 MB/s (write) during our tests. This was enough to run the tests over and over, because we couldn’t believe our eyes. You look at the packaging and think, sure, it claims it can go that fast but how many times does a drive truly live up to what’s printed on the box? Our expectations were schooled hard.
So, if you are that enthusiast with deep pockets and you want speed like no other (and you have a motherboard that supports M.2 PCIe cards), then this is a top option for you. Samsung’s 960 Pro drives take the cake and then come back for more.