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Samsung V-NAND SSD 950 Pro Review

By William Murphy on June 11, 2016 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Samsung V-NAND SSD 950 Pro Review

SSDs are no longer the future of storage when it comes to consumer computing. They’re the present. The leader in SSD technology is unabashedly Samsung, who for several years have dominated the market and consumer word of mouth with the SATA based 850 Pro. The problem is that SATA has its limitations in speed, and to solve that problem, Samsung has recently released the V-NAND 950 Pro SSD… a solid state drive that uses the PCE Express 3.0 x4 connection with the NVMe protocol. In short? Its speeds are about five times what was possible with the 850 Pro.

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That sort of performance does come with a price increase though, as the 950 Pro runs at an MSRP of $349.99, compared to the 850’s current price point of around $150. But there was a time when the latter cost as much as the 950: it’s the way of the market. The new hotness is more expensive, but if you want the performance it’s a price worth paying.

Simply, the 950 Pro is Samsung’s bid at changing the retail market. As more and more Mother Boards at multiple PCI Express 3.0 x4 connections, there’s little doubt that this is the way things are going. You don’t need a mess of SATA cables, and the actual size of the 950 is even tinier than the 2.5” 850. It’s about the size of a laptop’s RAM, so imagine how many you could cram into a machine with the ports to support it. Samsung is quickly and efficiently closing the door on HDDs with their tech and the 950 Pro is another step towards that.

The Sequential Read and Write of the trusty 850 Pro is a respectable 550/520 MB/s, which itself is nothing to scoff at. But the 950 Pro ups that ante to 2,500 and 1,500 MB/s, at 300K IOPS Random Read and 110K IOPS Random Write. The V-NAND 32-layer 128Gbit MLC is an improvement over the 86GBit used in the 850 Pro, as well. The 950 Pro even comes with a standard 5 Year Warranty, and an endurance of 400TB compared to the 300TB of the 850.

There’s little doubt that the 950 Pro is a huge step beyond what the 850 is capable of, but is the general consumer market ready to pay a higher price now that the 850 Pro is finally coming down to a reasonable cost? That’s a bet that Samsung is willing to make, as it keeps increasing the size of the 850 (a 4TB model just came out, and a 2TB runs around $900) and expects the higher cost of those to drive interest towards the 950 and its smaller form factor and increased performance.

I’ve been running games that re known to have really long load times on my 950 review copy: from ESO to DOOM, Black Desert to The Division. I installed them both on my existing 850 and the new 950 Pro, and timed each of them from the moment I clicked “play” or “enter” on character select to the moment it actually loaded into the game.  It’s not super scientific, but it’s a good indicator of increased speeds.

I cannot begin to tell you how much of a noticeable decrease in load times across all programs I see with the 950. It’s just that fast. Whether or not it’s worth the extra cost is entirely up to you. At 512GB for $350, if you’re looking for something that’ll hold a fair amount of games and make you the first person loading into an instance or just in general a SSD that makes you waste less time and play more then it’s hard to beat the 950 Pro. While this one was given to us to review by Samsung, I already know that the next time I need an upgrade or a new build, I’ll be filling the thing with 2-4 950s (and hopefully by then they’re a little cheaper). Definitely recommended.

Editor’s Note: Our Samsung 950 Pro was provided by Samsung’s PR for review on MMORPG.com. The MSRP is $349.99 and can be bought from Amazon, Newegg, and more. 

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.