Samsung's SM961 PCIe SSD hits 1TB mark, ships out next week

Jos

Posts: 3,073   +97

Samsung's follow-up to the excellent SM951 NVMe SSD is set to arrive next week. The new SM961 will be an OEM product meant to ship primarily inside high end systems, but as with its SM951 and XP941 predecessors there will be distributors selling the drive as well, and now specs and pricing details for the upcoming lineup are popping up online.

The SM961 will ship in four capacity sizes: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB -- this is Samsung’s first NVMe M.2 SSD to hit the 1TB mark. The drives feature Samsung's new Polaris controller which should bring some performance improvements and help minimize heat output. The SM961 is also expected to use third-gen 48-layer V-NAND to achieve larger storage capacities in the same tiny package, but this hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung, and AnandTech reports the newer memory hasn't made its way to existing product lines.

Both 128GB and 256GB models have sequential read speeds of 3,100MBps, while the larger 512GB and 1TB versions go up to 3,200MBps. Sequential write speeds top out at 1,800MBps in the largest drive, dropping to 1,700MBps for the 512GB version, 1,400 MBps for the 256GB drive and 700Mbps for the 128GB.

In terms of pricing, a now-removed listing on Australian site RamCity had the 256GB version is priced at $159, the 512GB version at $280 and the 1TB drive priced at $512. Those prices on par with the best deals currently available for the SM951, and undercut retail NVMe M.2 drives like the the Samsung 950 Pro and Toshiba OCZ RD400 by $15 to $40 or more.

There’s no pricing information for the smaller 128GB variant so it’s likely we won’t see this drive used outside of the OEM and system integrator market.

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Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,070   +656
There's no pricing information for the smaller 128GB variant
Nobody really needs this kind of performance with such a tiny capacity. It is a waste of a valuable M.2 socket. It's like buying the new GTX 1080 with 1GB of RAM.
Can you RAID them? Haha

Anyway I'm really a bit bummed my mobo has only a x2 slot! The 1TB drive would be awesome. I have absolutely no idea if it would make a meaningful difference in things I do day to day over a SATA 3.0 SSD but would love to work that out the hard way :D
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,386   +2,921
There's no pricing information for the smaller 128GB variant
Nobody really needs this kind of performance with such a tiny capacity. It is a waste of a valuable M.2 socket. It's like buying the new GTX 1080 with 1GB of RAM.
Can you RAID them? Haha

Anyway I'm really a bit bummed my mobo has only a x2 slot! The 1TB drive would be awesome. I have absolutely no idea if it would make a meaningful difference in things I do day to day over a SATA 3.0 SSD but would love to work that out the hard way :D
well it's good that you can use PCI-e devices in any slot larger than they're rated for. I'd stick it in one of the 8X slots I'm not using(if I didn't already have available X4 slots)
 
R

Raoul Duke

I have the Samsung 950 Pro 512 GB. It does get warm, but I have never noticed it throttle, but then my side case fan blows on it. It is mounted pretty flat on the mobo though so not a lot of space under it to circulate air.
Its performance has been somewhat different than my expectations. I thought the speed would be the awesome factor, maybe it is, but in a different way, I'm guessing the speed combined with the low latency means the drive is never 'busy' with lots of stuff going on. Often in Task Manager you notice a drive is busy, this drive is never busy. So some things run fast that I didn't expect while some things that I thought would run fast are not really a whole lot better than with the SATA Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB I used to run.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,009   +1,343
I have the Samsung 950 Pro 512 GB. It does get warm, but I have never noticed it throttle, but then my side case fan blows on it. It is mounted pretty flat on the mobo though so not a lot of space under it to circulate air.
Its performance has been somewhat different than my expectations. I thought the speed would be the awesome factor, maybe it is, but in a different way, I'm guessing the speed combined with the low latency means the drive is never 'busy' with lots of stuff going on. Often in Task Manager you notice a drive is busy, this drive is never busy. So some things run fast that I didn't expect while some things that I thought would run fast are not really a whole lot better than with the SATA Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB I used to run.
The Case fan blowing air does make a difference and it has to be very heavy sustained workload for the throttling to start. Doesn't happen with normal workloads.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,070   +656
well it's good that you can use PCI-e devices in any slot larger than they're rated for. I'd stick it in one of the 8X slots I'm not using(if I didn't already have available X4 slots)
It's an m.2 slot you need. I don't think there are x8 slots yet? Only seen x2 and x4?

Looks like adapters are cheap tho eg on newegg...
[SIZE=6]Addonics M2 PCIe SSD - PCIe 3.0 4-Lane Adapter[/SIZE]
 
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yRaz

Posts: 3,386   +2,921
It's an m.2 slot you need. I don't think there are x8 slots yet? Only seen x2 and x4?

Looks like adapters are cheap tho eg on newegg...
[SIZE=6]Addonics M2 PCIe SSD - PCIe 3.0 4-Lane Adapter[/SIZE]
X8 slots are x16 slots with fewer lanes. And I thought just about everyone used a PCI-e adapter with these.
 
R

Raoul Duke

And I thought just about everyone used a PCI-e adapter with these.
On my Asus Z-170 Deluxe I use the M.2 socket, but this disables the SATA Express socket. Board also came with adapter card. My M.2 is PCIe 3.0 x4
edit: adapter is also PCIe x 4
 
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Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,070   +656
X8 slots are x16 slots with fewer lanes. And I thought just about everyone used a PCI-e adapter with these.
Don't confuse m.2 PCIe lanes with normal PCIe bus slots.

There are a few boards with m.2 native. Most are x2 though. I know some X99 are x4. As Raoul points out, adapters are out there but so far nothing greater than x4 (to the best of my knowledge). So yes you can put the adapter in a x8 or x16 slot but it will only supply x4 bandwidth to the m.2. device.
 

Jack007

Posts: 187   +44
What I am surprised at is that nothing is mentioned about the durability of the drive. How long will it last until its not good.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,070   +656
What I am surprised at is that nothing is mentioned about the durability of the drive. How long will it last until its not good.
Guessing the type of flash used will be a good rough indicator. It's MLC V-NAND. Not sure if it's the same flash chips as the 850 Pro's (which also have MLC V-NAND) so if it is then for a 512GB drive, that was rated 300TB of writes. In practice you should get a lot more than that.