Samsung NVMe 960 Pro M.2 2TB Review
The Samsung NVMe 960 Pro M.2 SSD is so insanely, mind-blowingly fast that we're in danger of running out of superlatives. We've very quickly gone from being stunned by some great regular SSDs, to being blown away by NVMe ones, to this behemoth.
To some degree the 960 Pro is aimed at two different audiences. Those of us who are end users really just care about absolute bandwidth. The headline numbers. The ones that will be on the advertising and perhaps placed upon the box too. We see 3.4GB/s transfer rates and start working out which of our children we could sell, or how many organs we strictly need to stay alive. It doesn't matter whether you're just wanting your OS to be responsive, or whether you want something that will enable you to edit 4K video without grinding to a halt. On the flip side the technology that underpins the 960 Pro is going to be of interest to anyone with a more technical bent.
The Polaris controller is the heart of the NVMe 960 Pro and is the reason it is so capable. By upping the cores on the Polaris to five from the three that the UBX controller on the 950 Pro had the 960 has a much improved IOPS performance which keeps the drive working flat out regardless of how many requests are in the queue. Additionally dedicating one of those cores to the communication queue between the host and the controller, the 960 Pro doesn't slow down as the queue depth increases. You can try and saturate it, but you'll struggle to do so and even if you do it wont show any performance reduction when you do. Finally the new heat spreader has a much better thermal dissipation performance than even the 950 Pro had, which doubles the amount of data that the Samsung 960 Pro can transfer before the dynamic thermal guard kicks in when compared to its predecessor.
No matter how you slice it, the Samsung NVMe 960 Pro M.2 2TB has every single base covered. Enormous capacity. Blistering performance. Exception integrity, which is why it easily wins our OC3D Enthusiast award. Now if only the price wasn't quite so eye-watering....
Note : Today's review and benchmarks were performed using Samsung's NVMe driver rather than the one which comes equipped with Windows 10. The performance difference is astronomical and yet another string to the bow of this excellent product. If you do take the plunge and purchase the 960 Pro then we recommend in the strongest possible terms that you don't leave Windows to install its own driver but utilise the official Samsung one.