Plenty Fast, But Better than Intel's?

Had Samsung's SM951 arrived before we reviewed the Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB I think our conclusion might have been a little less favorable for the Intel drive. The SSD 750 may tout NVMe support, but Samsung's SM951 is generally faster while being more affordable.

Many fans of the XP941 were undoubtedly disappointed to learn that the SM951 lacked NVMe support, but at the end of the day the SM951 still manages to be faster than the XP941 and the Intel SSD 750 1.2TB. Notwithstanding, if you insist on an NVMe version, Samsung announced just last week that it would deliver one.

The NVMe-equipped SM951 is said to have sequential data read and write performance of up to 2260MB/s and 1600MB/s with NVMe's main advantage being in random read operations. The SM951-NVMe can process 300,000 IOPS (Input Output Per Second), which is more than twice as fast as the 130,000 IOPS of its AHCI-based equivalent and more than three times faster than the 97,000 IOPS of a SATA-based SSD.

Intel's SSD 750 Series 1.2TB impressed us the most in our custom file transfer tests and of course its awesome queuing performance. However, Samsung's SM951 was faster in all three transfer tests and although it was down on queuing performance, it was still twice as fast as any SATA SSD.

The Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB failed to impress in our application testing whereas the Samsung SM951 delivered some of the best results we have seen. Moreover, the SM951 delivered superb results in Atto Disk Benchmark, showing no signs of weakness in either read or write tests.

The SM951 was also considerably more impressive than the SSD 750 Series in PCMark 7 tests, particularly video editing.

Not only is the SM951 faster but it's also cheaper -- around 10% when comparing the 512GB model to Intel's SSD 750 Series 400GB. Granted, at $0.89 per gig the SM951 isn't an affordable proposition, but it's a better overall value than the performance SATA SSDs. Samsung's SSD 850 Pro 512GB is $270 ($0.52 per gigabyte) and while the SM951 costs ~70% more, it's well over 70% faster.

The only real issue facing Samsung's SM951 is availability, as it seems the only way to get one is from RamCity (directly or through its Amazon store). Right now the company appears to have plenty of stock and offers a three-year warranty. That being the case, if I were looking to outfit my enthusiast rig with a high-speed PCIe SSD, Samsung's SM951 would be my number one choice.


Pros: Samsung's SM951 is a better value than performance SATA SSDs when you consider it's twice as fast, not to mention that it's quicker and cheaper than Intel's NVMe-equipped SSD 750 1.2TB.

Cons: Availability is limited, but if you want one you can buy it. Drive ships with a three-year warranty vs. Intel's five-year coverage. Lack of NVMe might be a bummer but a new model is coming soon.