Right now, the Samsung SSD 850 Evo is top-of-the-charts when it comes to popular solid-state-drive (SSD) storage on the market. Arriving back around this time in 2014, it rated so high because it delivered fantastic performance with serviceable features, all without being expensive. With up to 2TB of storage space, the SSD 850 Evo gave the right combination of everything, ideal for any consumer.
So it’s the holiday season of 2016 and here comes a much faster upgrade for the 850 Evo. Samsung’s 960 Evo (yes, it’s different from the 960 Pro), just announced this week, is actually of a different PCI Express standard, the M.2 design, rather than the traditional 2.5-inch SATA III interface we were so acclimated to. Once reserved for video cards, M.2s, which utilize the Non-volatile memory express, or NVMe, came out as being capable of a much higher bandwidth (via a faster PCIe express bus) with its interface, allowing up to 4 gigabytes per second (a.k.a. 4000 megabytes per second). Just to clarify and compare the upgrade, modern SATA III interfaces limit drives to 6 gigabits per second (or peaking out at 750 megabytes per second, but when adding in computer overhead, it’s more around 550 megabytes per second). So, yep, that’s an upgrade alright.
The increase in performance couldn’t be clearer, these things are also tiny, with the 960 Evo measuring in at just 2.38mm thick, perfect for ultrathin laptops. The new SSD comes in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacity options; 512MB, and 1GB LPDDR3 DRAM Cache memory options. This is actually the cheaper SSD Samsung is releasing this year, as the 960 Pro is also on the table, with a starting capacity of 512GB, up to 1TB, and, for the first time, with NVMe, 2TB drive options. That is a ton, but that’s why it’s in a whole different class (starting at $329 for the 512GB). This is also the fastest consumer NVMe drive on the market, officially.
What this all shows, is that we’re moving towards a time where we do not need mechanical hard disks. Has that become apparent? I mean, for goodness sakes, we’re fitting up to 2TB onto something smaller than the size of a credit card. But although the 960 Evo from Samsung is a tad slower than “the fastest on the market”, we’re glad it is here as an affordable option. It shares some good features other Samsung drives of the like have, like 3D VNAND flash memory, TurboWrite, for using small amounts of high-performing SLC flash memory to buffer. Finally, it includes a new five-core controller, where four of those cores manage the NAND performance, and the other optimizes the computer and controller communication, as well as hardware encryption support, as most previous Samsung storage devices possess. Prices range from $129, to $249, and $479, respective on the capacity option you go for.
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