Anandtech - Samsung Announces 960 PRO And 960 EVO M.2 PCIe SSDs (Updated)

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 21 2016 (updated on Oct 26 2016) in
  • Storage
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • Josh @jcefidel, about your tweet, pictured at right, I'm honored!

    Loaner status (not Loner status ;-)


    Unfortunately, despite my attempts to reach Samsung PR, and my visits to their booth at VMworld 2015 and VMworld 2016, I have failed to secure any test samples. In a perfect world, I'd be comparing the EVO and PRO, then returning the loaners, then buy my own as a more informed buyer, having tested both first-hand. Instead, I'll need to save up and shoot for buying the 1TB or 2TB version of the PRO or EVO, as soon as I'm able. I'll most certainly make good use of this promising little device with bigger capacity, using it as my insanely fast VMware ESXi 6.0U2 (or later) VMFS datastore in my own home lab, despite it not having VSAN compatibility for such consumer devices. It's early days for VSAN, which has some serious licensing and cost constraints to do right, and isn't so easy even for NVMe drives that are supposed to be compatible.

    Here's the informative new AnandTech article you may want to check out:


    FYI, as Josh noticed, I moved from @TinkerTry to @paulbraren the safe way, without losing anything.


    Polaris controller is said to run cooler

    If you haven't seen this article I wrote about the 960 PRO/EVO series, you'll find videos in there too, with mention of cooler temps:


    The potential temperature issues that affected some when benchmarking their otherwise-beloved 950 PRO NVMe M.2 SSDs were never a big deal for me. It was as simple as cranking the SYS-5028D-TN4T Bundle's system fan to max before any heavy benchmarking. I did try many alternative fans, but none cooled as well as the stock fans, and the mini-tower chassis is already the low-noise-champion, seen near the bottom of the comparison table.

    You know I'll be also using my FLIR One thermal imaging camera again to determine whether things stay cooler when using these in the M.2 slot on the SYS-5028D-TN4T motherboard, and whether cooling solutions like the rather pricey Angelbird Wings PX1 PCIe x4 M.2 Adapter are helpful for folks looking to stand a second one up in their half height/half length PCI 3.0 x 4 slots.

    Click the image for a closer look! Think of the possibilities, such as inserting the cable through a small opening in the closed case, to get some great thermal imagery while doing some stress tests. Now we're talking! That's a Xeon D-1541 system, in the Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T, with the Samsung 950 PRO visible on the motherboard, and on the iPhone 6 Plus screen.

    Sep 22 2016 Update

    • Samsung’s insanely fast new SSDs won’t work in your MacBook
      Sep 21 2016 by Chris Smith at BGR

      The 960 Pro is the world’s fastest, according to Samsung, and will come in a 2TB version, which will be the highest capacity commercially available for M.2 NVMe SSDs. 512GB and 1TB versions will also be available to buyers, with prices starting at $329.99. The 960 Evo, meanwhile, will ship in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB options, with the cheapest model priced at $129.99.

    Oct 17 2016 Update

    Currently only available for pre-order at Samsung.

    News broke that the Samsung 960 PRO and EVO are now available for pre-order, but the only source seems to be directly on Samsung's site for now. If you appreciate this article, consider using one of these affiliate shopping links when placing your pre-order, full disclosure details below-right:

    Samsung 960 EVO 1TB ( $479.99)
    Samsung 960 EVO 500GB ( $249.99)
    Samsung 960 EVO 250GB ( $129.99)

    Samsung 960 PRO 2TB ($1299.99)
    Samsung 960 PRO 1TB ( $629.99)
    Samsung 960 PRO 500GB ( $329.99)

    Let's try a different sort order, in ascending cost order.

    Samsung 960 EVO 250GB ( $129.99)
    Samsung 960 EVO 500GB ( $249.99)
    Samsung 960 PRO 500GB ( $329.99)
    Samsung 960 EVO 1TB ( $479.99)
    Samsung 960 PRO 1TB ( $629.99)
    Samsung 960 PRO 2TB ($1299.99)


    Which one am I getting? At the loss of about 10% overall performance, I'm going with the biggest size in the EVO line, the 1TB Samsung 960 EVO. Why? It features a humongous 42GB of SLC cache, unlike the lower sizes, explained here. That means an entire VM that I clone can fit in its write cache, which should make for some pretty spectacular performance when deploying VMs from templates. This is a common thing when I'm tinkering in my home lab, enjoying my platinum tier of VMware VMFS datastore. Oh, and it's saving me $150 over the same-size 1TB PRO, and I just cannot justify or afford that 2TB PRO.

    Good to know that Samsung has added a copper layer to the 960 drive labels, to help spread the heat across a larger surface area. This should further reduce the likelihood of that 30% speed degradation that I noticed ONLY when I abused the drive with synthetic benchmarks with the chassis fan set to default noise profile/speeds. This thermal sticker is explained and pictured at PC Perspective here.

    Unlike Intel NVMe drives, it's a nice bonus that Samsung NVMe storage tends to not need any special driver VIB, just the baked-into-ESXi NVMe driver. Sure am looking forward to trying this drive out, hopefully soon!

    Oct 26 2016 Update


    Orders for 512GB and 1TB sizes of Samsung 960 PRO are now being taken at:



    Over on the PC Perspective Podcast, they just discussed this drive actually, check it out here:

    See also at TinkerTry

    Search for all Samsung 950 articles, or choose from the selection below:

    See also

    Samsung 960 EVO, 960 Pro NVMe SSDs: The Writing Is Literally On The Wall [Updated]