A Great Bang for Your Buck
Roughly about a year ago we hailed the 950 Pro in as the king of desktop storage performance. Although the SSD 960 Pro put an end to that reign last month, we could very well have been referring to the 960 Evo as the company's new flagship if it had arrived first.
For the most part, the 960 Evo managed to match the 950 Pro, and in areas where the 950 used to show weakness, the 960 Evo shined. Not only that, but the 960 Evo doesn't appear to suffer from throttling under heavy load, and of course, it comes at a lower MSRP. The 960 Evo series is slower than the 960 Pro as expected, but not alarmingly so, while its lower price makes up for the difference.
The 250GB 960 Evo is said to deliver similar performance to the 500GB unit we reviewed although there are some conflicting reports about that online, so we'll have to test that later until we can recommend the otherwise attractive priced $130 drive.
The 500GB Evo is a really good value at $250 or $0.50/gigabyte. For those seeking a larger drive, the 1TB version comes in at $480, 20% cheaper than the 1TB 960 Pro, making the Evo a smarter choice for most users. At ~$0.48/GB, it exceeds the value of Intel's SSD 750 Series, which you might as well forget about at this point, while Toshiba's OCZ RD400A series can't compete either. In terms of value the only notable alternative might be Plextor's M8Pe, though we have yet to benchmark that product.
The SSD 960 Evo 500GB showed no faults throughout our testing, its price vs. performance ratio is seemingly unparalleled, and Samsung's new NVMe 2.0 driver/upcoming Magician software update should ensure a smooth user experience. Overall, there's no better storage option for enthusiasts on a budget, and I might even upgrade my 512GB 950 Pro to a 1TB 960 Evo.
Pros: Unmatched price vs. performance ratio. Upcoming Magician software update promises new features.
Cons: A tad slower and less endurance than the 960 Pro series, but neither should matter to the average buyer.