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Data Storage Upgrades

Samsung 950 Pro Brings NVMe To M.2, Over 2.5GB/s 36

Vigile writes: Samsung just released its first non-OEM, consumer level NVMe enabled SSD, the 950 Pro series. This drive will ship in an M.2 form factor rather than a 2.5-in drive size that is the standard for users today, allowing installation into notebooks, small form factor PCs and desktop PCs that have at least one M.2 slot on-board. It peaks at 512GB capacity today but Samsung promises a 1TB version using 48-layer VNAND in 2016. The NVMe protocol allows much better performance directly over the PCIe bus without the overhead of the AHCI protocol used in hard drives and previous SSDs. PC Perspective's review has performance breaking the 2.5GB/s read speed level while also introducing an entirely new type of performance evaluation for SSDs centered around latency distribution of IOs. By measuring how long each IO takes, rather than reporting only an average, the performance of an SSD can be determined on a per-workflow basis and drives can be compared in an entirely new light. There is a lot of detail on to be read over and digested but again the new NVMe Samsung 950 Pro impresses. Hot Hardware takes a similarly data-dump-heavy look at the same drive.
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Samsung 950 Pro Brings NVMe To M.2, Over 2.5GB/s

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  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @06:59PM (#50784641)
    finally, news for nerds: non-OEM, NVMe, SSD, and 950....all in one sentence. well played, sir.
    • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @07:11PM (#50784697)

      Legitimately the goodest and nerdest news I've heard on Slashdot in a long time.

      And for those of us with desktops without PCIe, M-keyed, M.2 slots, there are adapters [].
      Bootability depends om your mobo/bios/uefi/hairdo.

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Best news since, well, at least this morning: []

        • Yeah but that's going to be OEM only - aka pay Dell waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much for a server with it and be unable to buy it separately, have the actual part number when you try to buy it on the server configuration page, etc. OEMs are like car dealerships.

          • Car-analogy fail. The car-analogy of an OEM is, get this, an OEM.

            OEMs supply the parts to the assembler.

            Car dealers don't assemble the car, the sell the car. Dell does both but it also distributes to dealers.

            • Dell, and most OEMs you as an end customer buy server shit from, sell you a boxed product - the equipment.
              They buy individual parts from other OEMs.

              They are like car dealerships with regards to your interaction with them as an end customer.
              If you are buying parts from them and doing your own assembly, you become an OEM yourself.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          The 950 Pro is a prosumer drive.
          The PM1725 is an enterprise drive.

          It's not really an either-or, you'd never use one instead of the other. And I think even on /. the potential 950 owners greatly outnumber those who'll ever see a PM1725.

    • SAS M.2 adapter. They already have M.2 SSD to 2.5" SATA III adapters. []

      I would fit 4x into a 3.5" drive and make a SSD NAS.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @07:30PM (#50784773) Journal

    Don't get me wrong - we're not there yet, for write endurance or for absolute speed. Not many people are going to consider a warranty of 800 write cycles sufficient for RAM usage.

    Still, transfer speeds on DDR3 are in the 12GB/s range (at 1600MHz), and recent testing shows DDR4 speed isn't really providing a huge benefit to actual computing. Sequential writes, as I would mostly expect moving from SDRAM to a swapfile, is within an order of magnitude of DDR3 speeds, and more like 1:5 for reads where responsiveness matters.

    Are we going to get to the point in the next 3-5 years where most people are scaling back to 2-4GB of RAM in favor of using the swapfile on a PCIe SSD? Might we see low power machines eschewing SDRAM except for graphics memory and zero page, as many dropped discrete graphics for onboard GPUs half a dozen years ago?

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @08:06PM (#50784903)

      The Samsung stick has only 20% of the speed of DDR3 and enough extra latency that it would be a painful step backward.

      Although isn't that basically the system used by smartphones and tablets? Suspend the app and page it to flash when you switch to another context? But they also have much smaller applications and have like 1-2 GM RAM to begin with.

      I think where that system might work better overall is on virtualization hosts where active memory is much lower than assigned memory. Those inactive pages available on a fast swap drive would make high density hosts a lot less painful than generic disk swapping.

      • You say it like 20% is dog slow. We ran servers off of DDR200 (or perhaps it was 400) just a few years ago. It served all the data for my engineering firm, which was running 3-4 CAD stations. And, TBH, our CAD files haven't changed much. Heck, one of my contract drafters still uses the CAD version and workstation he was using back in 2007.

        Again - it's not up to snuff, but it seems to be gaining.

  • by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @07:57PM (#50784875)

    I've got the (presumably?) OEM version in my current desktop: Samsung SM951 M.2

    As far as I can tell, load times don't exist anymore. ;)

    The thing is also surprisingly small, more so than you would expect from pictures. You could probably fit 20 of these into the space of a 2.5in drive.

    • Re:M.2 is awesome (Score:4, Informative)

      by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @08:04PM (#50784897)

      Oh one thing though:
      Win7 M.2 support does not seem to exist. No success installing that one for me.
      Win8 no idea (but from what I could find online, it seems to be tricky).
      Win10 works.
      Linux Mint works.

      • Re: M.2 is awesome (Score:4, Informative)

        by slaker ( 53818 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @08:22PM (#50784939)

        Windows 7 support is iffy, but I've gotten it to work on X99 boards with some drives (Plextor in my case). I couldn't get either Samsung or Plextor drives to boot Windows 7 in a ThinkPad T450 though.

        Yes, they're fast. They're also REALLY warm. They're downright uncomfortable to touch with a finger after they're been on for a while. Keep that in mind if you are thinking about sticking in your laptop.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Your Motherboard must support NVMe or this wont work as it isn't compatible with SATA/AHCI. It's got nothing to do with Windows - If windows doesn't see the drive, the problem is with the boards firmware. I've got an M.2 Slot and it supposedly supports NVMe (recent update from Asus) and it's 2 years old. Simply put, if you have an older Z8 series board, you're screwed/blued and hopefully not tattoo'd so once again, this is to push the Forced Obsolesence by Intel.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein