Where to buy your Samsung 960 EVO or PRO M.2 NVMe SSDs, featuring the latest ordering and availability info

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 30 2016 (updated on Jan 15 2017) in
  • Storage
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • There have been many reports of issues with these 960 drives! Please read:

    Original article appears below.


    This will likely be my last manual update of order status.
    As of Dec 20 2016:

    Order Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB

    • Amazon preorder 250GB In stock. Arrives before Christmas, 500GB In stock. Expected to arrive after Christmas 1TB In stock. Arrives before Christmas. Charged with shipped.
    • B&H preorder 250GB MORE COMING SOON Expected availability: 2-4 weeks, 500GB NEW ITEM - COMING SOON Expected availability: Not available, 1TB COMING SOON. Expected availability: Not available. Charged when ordered.
    • Newegg notify 250GB OUT OF STOCK, 500GB OUT OF STOCK, 1TB OUT OF STOCK. AUTO NOTIFY button only, no preorders. Charged when shipped.
    • Samsung can preorder 250GB, 500GB, or 1TB Product will ship after 12/25, charged when shipped.

    Order Samsung 960 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD in 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

    • Amazon preorder 1TB This item will be released on December 31, 2016., 2TB This item will be released on January 7, 2017., 512GB is available now.
    • B&H preorder 512GB NEW ITEM - COMING SOON
      Expected availability: Not available
      , 1TB MORE COMING SOON Expected availability: 3-5 weeks, 2TB NEW ITEM - COMING SOON Expected availability: Not available
    • Newegg preorder 1TB and 2TB Release Date: 1/2/2017., 500GB OUT OF STOCK.
    • Samsung preorder 1TB Product will ship week of Jan 1, 2017., 512GB and 2TB WHERE TO BUY button only. Charged when shipped.

    Dec 24 2016 Update

    Initial thermal testing video now available. Please don't forget to review the detailed description before commenting.

    Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2 NVMe - unboxing & FLIR thermal testing during VMware 6.5 Win 10 VM cloning

    Dec 23 2016 Update

    They're here! Turns out my corrected Amazon order shows up the very same day as the samsung.com order, not a bad problem to have. Might just go with equipping both Xeon D cluster nodes with these little beasts, we'll see. For actual (albeit unsupported) vSAN testing, will likely need to come up with a different plan, I have some ideas.

    812023472067149825

    Dec 20 2016 Update

    When I called in to Amazon support yesterday, they had mentioned that they are using overnight shipping on this new order, as I had specified during the original order, but they didn't yet have an ETA for me. Checking again today, it would seem Amazon did this right, getting me the correct 960 EVO pretty quickly, ETA Thursday Dec 22. Then again, the 1TB is showing back in stock now anyway for new orders as well.

    Dec-20-2016-TinkerTry-order-status

    Dec 19 2016 Update

    It never did arrive on Sunday, despite the "SUNDAY DELIVERY" stick on the easily opened lightly padded envelope. At noon eastern time on Monday Dec 19, the USPS mailman did arrive. I was a bit disappointed once I easily opened the envelope, seen below.

    810546633335304192
    It's here! Wait, charged for 1TB, sealed 960 EVO box is 500GB, exchange requested...

    I even recorded video of the unboxing, not sure I'll both publishing it though, given it's about the least exciting/most disappointing unboxing ever ;-)

    Oh well, such things happen. In well over a dozen years of Amazon orders, this is only my second mistake ever, and I'm sure they'll fix it easily, already printed off my UPS drop off label. Where I am on line for this 1TB drive now, well, who knows. Of course, I'm now kicking myself for canceling the B&H Order. Will keep my samsung.com order active, until I have the actual 960 EVO 1TB in hand.


    Dec 18 2016 Update

    Yesterday, a US customer (not an early blogger eval. recipient) reported receiving his 960 EVO and PRO from Amazon. My Amazon order status states my 1TB 960 EVO will arrive later today, Sunday, Dec 18 2016.

    2016-12-18_8-06-41

    Monday, when samsung.com customer service is opened, I'll cancel that backorder. Since I checked out as guest, there is no way to cancel online.

    I canceled my B&H back order easily, online, much preferred over having to call somebody on a weekday.


    Dec 16 2016 Update

    B&H kindly sent an email at 6:04am today, letting me know my Dec 01 2016 order for my 1TB 960 EVO is still on back order, apologizing for the inconvenience, and giving me the option of canceling. Online order status still shows Estimated Delivery 1-2 Days.

    2016-12-16_10-29-22
    B&H Order Status Dec 16 2016.

    Amazon order status is currently conflicted.

    2016-12-16_10-31-19
    Today, Fri Dec 16 2016, my "Your Orders" view shows "Shipping today", so I then click on the Track Now button.
    2016-12-16_10-35-04
    Now I see it's expected to ship Monday Dec 19 for Tuesday Dec 20 arrival.

    Once I get tracking info from Amazon, I'll then cancel both the B&H and samsung.com orders. Given the reports I'm getting about the 960 PRO having drive recognition and/or BIOS issues with Supermicro Xeon D, there is definitely some TinkerTry'ing needed for this 1TB 960 EVO, for both Windows Server 2016 and VMware ESXi 6.5. Stay tuned.

    Updated above order link status pages, most notable change is that all Newegg sizes of 960 EVO are now showing OUT OF STOCK, and Samsung is now taking pre-orders for all verions and sizes, and B&H has moved from Dec 8 estimates for the PRO, to "Expected availability Not Available.""


    Dec 15 2016 Update

    For the Samsung 960 EVO, status changed.
    For the 1TB Samsung 960 PRO 1TB, Amazon now says the 512GB is available, the 1TB will be released on Dec 31 2016, and the 2TB on Jan 07 2017. Newegg still says Jan 02 2017 for 1TB and 2TB PRO sizes, and 512GB out of stock.


    Dec 13 2016 Update

    See Matt Bach's post at Puget Systems: Samsung 960 Pro vs 950 Pro Performance & Thermal Throttling:

    ... unless you have a piece of software that is capable of reading or writing hundreds of GB of data at 2-3.5 GB/s, you are very unlikely to ever encounter throttling. And even if you do, when the 960 Pro throttles it tends to still be faster than the 950 Pro at it's best, so you probably would not notice the drop in performance.

    Here's my latest samsung.com and B&H order status, no idea what the hold-ups are. Let's start with the TinkerTry commenter who left a very interesting and helpful comment below, followed by order status screenshots.

    3048755395comment
    Screenshot from the Disqus conversation below.
    Samsung-backorder-letter-to-Paul-Braren-Dec-12-2016
    Samsung's notification, received Dec 12 2016.
    bandh-order-status-Dec-01-2016
    B&H's online order status screenshot taken Dec 13 2016.

    Dec 09 2016 Update

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    Dec 01 2016 Update

    Availability of the 960 series is a mixed bag right now, with many sites improving their ship date estimates by 2 weeks. Yes, on Nov 30th, most ETAs said early January, and one day later, many estimates moved mid-December. I also just discovered that the elusive EVO 1TB can now be pre-ordered at B&H and Newegg, details below, so I placed my new 1TB 960 EVO at B&H order. Once I get ship notification, I'll cancel my other back-order at samsung.com, since they don't charge cards until shipment anyway. Article title that originally included "ETA 2017?" has now been updated accordingly.


    Nov 30 2016 Update

    My original order for a 960 EVO 1TB was made on samsung.com back on October 17th, the first day pre-orders began anywhere. It's still on backorder. This article is about what's happened since, contents subject to change throughout December. These are affiliate links, for these drives that work great in VMware (built in driver) and Hyper-V (download/install Samsung's NVMe driver). Recent Linux distros that I also tested with NVMe, like RHEL and SLES, provide excellent speeds as well, using native drivers.

    2016-12-03_18-37-48-8us1dNeuv8c
    See Samsung's brief YouTube teaser.

    Backstory

    2016-11-30_21-44-43

    Back in 2015, I fell for the extreme performance of my first and only Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD, leaving my much slower 9265-8i RAID days behind me. See also World's fastest consumer SSD - Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe benchmark results.

    Given VMware's enterprise and performance focus, they traditionally favored decent RAID adapters with good queue depths, for improved performance over any SATA attached drive for your VMFS datastores. With the arrival of NVMe, this need for RAID controllers in the home lab all changed, as VMware explains very recently:

    NVMe devices are increasingly becoming the primary storage interface for flash-based storages due to its well-designed, low overhead storage protocol and its ability to support scalable IO on multi-core processors.

    Knowing I'd have a second cluster node someday, and being totally spoiled by the speeds, my wait for an affordable and performant second NVMe drive in 1TB capacity began. None existed affordably, only hints the 950 PRO might be made in a 1TB size someday. Turns out that will never happen, not in the 950 PRO series anyway. Samsung's summer 2016 announcement of the new 960 product line cleared up that long mystery, with 1TB and 2TB variants seemingly "coming soon."

    960-EVO-still-of-animated-image
    click to see Samsung's little 960 EVO animation

    VMware Support

    Warning
    These are consumer drives that will likely never join the NVMe based storage on the the vSAN HCL, with things missing, like enterprise prices, and big supercapacitors (for full power loss protection). This doesn't mean you can't try them with vSAN, I'm just talking about support here. That said, these consumer drives have pretty amazing TBW (Terabytes Written) ratings (which enterprise SSDs want, and vSAN needs), checking in at 400 TBW for the 1TB EVO and 1.2PB for the PRO!

    Worry not, either 960 will likely work very well for your normal VMFS datastore usage, given how spectacular the 950 PRO has been for my daily use and abuse. Last I checked, I've only used about 20% of the 400 TBW rating, after 13 months of 950 PRO ownership. Performance holds up with multiple VMs hitting one NVMe based datastore, where SATA3 SSDs and HDDs typically become quite slow.

    Some more NVMe perks:

    1. Since you're not booting from these, you can simplify things and skip searching for boot from nvme or reading my How to boot Windows 10 from NVMe based PCIe storage, featuring Samsung 950 PRO M.2 SSD in a Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T article.
    2. With ESXi 5.5 or later, the built-in NVMe driver means it just works, so just install, add datastore/format as VMFS, and you're set! If you're already on ESXi 6.5, pay attention and choose the new VMFS 6. Some upgraders may experience a temporary NVMe slowdown, see TinkerTry's Easy fix for Supermicro and other Xeon D systems experiencing SATA3/AHCI slowdown on ESXi 6.5.

    My original 960 EVO 1TB order status updates

    My Samsung 960 updates were kind of buried under this article:

    so I've also added those updates right below this new article. Figured the info might be helpful to folks interested in the next-generation of M.2 NVMe goodness, for their winter-time home-lab upgrades and/or rebuilds.

    Reviews

    Nov 15 2016 was apparently the day bloggers with early samples had their embargo lifted, giving us a plethora of technical articles and benchmark results that arrived that day, seen here, including:

    And finally, we have Allyn Malventano giving his clear assessment on PC Perspective 425:

    the one I was waiting on, because that's the one that I felt is the real game-changer here, as far as relatively low cost M.2 SSD that uses TLC flash with an SLC cache on it

    IsLABk7k
    PC Perspective Podcast 425 - 11/17/16

    And now, a journey back in time, updates from previous articles...


    Oct 26 2016 Update

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

    Amazon

    Newegg


    Oct 17 2016 Update

    2016-10-17_23-24-01
    Currently only available for pre-order at Samsung.
    samsung-960-specifications

    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 My Orders 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)

    Samsung-960-EVO-1TB-rotated

    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!


    See also at TinkerTry

    IMG_1849-FLIR-ONE-and-SuperServer.JPG
    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.