Data storage

Samsung to launch world's fastest consumer SSD

The 950 Pro series of Samsung’s solid-state drives has a read speed of up to 2,500 MBps (megabytes per second) and write speeds of up to 1,500 MBps. These specifications are over four times faster than those of last year’s 850 Pro models.
The 950 Pro series of Samsung’s solid-state drives has a read speed of up to 2,500 MBps (megabytes per second) and write speeds of up to 1,500 MBps. These specifications are over four times faster than those of last year’s 850 Pro models.PHOTO: SAMSUNG

SEOUL • Techies looking to build their own top-of-the-line personal computer might want to wait for a few more weeks.

This is because Samsung will launch its latest 950 Pro SSD (solid state drive), touted to be the fastest consumer-grade SSD in the world, next month.

The 950 Pro series has a read speed of up to 2,500 MBps (megabytes per second) and write speeds of up to 1,500 MBps.

DRIVING UP DEMAND

SSD vendors are today pushing the envelope in three directions simultaneously - innovating in reliability, lower costs and performance. Performance for low- cost, high-reliability drives are already very satisfactory for all but the most demanding consumers.

MR MICHAEL TAN, director of Convergent Systems, a major distributor of IT products here

These specifications are over four times faster than those of last year's 850 Pro models from Samsung, which have read speeds of up to 520 MBps and write speeds of 550 MBps.

The speed boost is due to the use of the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) interface on the new drives.

NVMe, which is capable of offering higher bandwidth for data, is a step up from the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) technology used in the majority of older SSDs.

AHCI was developed by Intel way back in 2004. It was designed for regular spinning hard drives and not SSDs. On the other hand, NVMe was designed specifically for SSDs.

SSDs contain no moving parts and typically use Nand flash memory for data storage. This type of storage technology does not require power to manage data - a departure from the magnetic storage technology used in traditional hard disc drives.

Though significantly cheaper, HDDs use electromechanical disks, which are prone to physical shocks, and are limited by the speed of the spinning disks to store data.

As NVMe is relatively new, it is supported only by a handful of motherboards. It is supported by the newer motherboards designed for the newly launched Intel Skylake processors.

The combination of NVMe and Samsung's 3D V-Nand (Vertical Nand), along with the newer and smaller M.2 2280 form factor, makes Samsung's 950 Pro series the fastest and smallest in its class.

The lower energy consumption of the drives and the M.2 standard also makes the drives a better fit for ultrabooks. The 950 Pro will be available in 512 gigabyte (GB) and 256GB storage capacities.

The drives will also be cheaper than their rivals.

For instance, Intel's NVMe SSD 750 is priced at about US$400 (S$565) for the 400GB version.

The 256GB and 512GB versions of the new Samsung SSDs are priced at US$199.99 and US$349.99, respectively.

Locally, the 256GB unit is priced at $369, while the 512GB version will retail at $599.

The drives will come with a five- year limited warranty, and a 1TB version will be released next year.

The warranty covers up to 200 terabytes of data written (TBW) on the 256GB model, and 400TBW for the 512GB model.

All this should lead to a larger demand for SSDs, which are currently used by mostly hardcore enthusiasts due to their high cost.

"SSD vendors are today pushing the envelope in three directions simultaneously - innovating in reliability, lower costs and performance," said Mr Michael Tan, director of Convergent Systems, a major distributor of IT products here.

"Performance for low-cost, high-reliability drives are already very satisfactory for all but the most demanding consumers.

"But in a couple of years down the road, there would be significant demand for even higher performance, and technology debuted in Samsung's new drives would be found in mainstream drives at a much lower price level."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2015, with the headline 'Samsung to launch world's fastest consumer SSD'. Print Edition | Subscribe