*Updated* Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO Announced - Details and Specifications Inside

Subject: Storage | September 21, 2016 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pcie, NVMe, M.2, 960 PRO, 960 EVO

I'm currently running around at the various briefings and events here at Samsung's Global SSD Summit, but we did get some details on the 960 PRO and EVO that I've set to go live at the NDA time of 1 PM Seoul time.

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Here is a distilled version of the specs, capacities, and prices of the 960 PRO and EVO:

960 PRO

  • 512GB, 1TB, 2TB capacities
  • Sequential: 3.5 GB/s reads / 2.1 GB/s writes
  • 4K random (IOPS): 440,000 read / 360,000 write
  • Dynamic Thermal Guard (new version of their overtemperature protection - details below)
  • 5 year warranty, endurace peaks at 1.2PBW for the 2TB model
  • 512GB model = $329.99 ($0.64/GB)

960 EVO

  • 250GB, 500GB, 1TB capacities
  • Sequential: 3.2 GB/s reads / 1.9 GB/s writes (write speed is for TurboWrite SLC cache)
  • 4K random (IOPS): 380,000 read / 360,000 write
  • Dynamic Thermal Guard
  • 3 year warranty, endurance up to 400TBW for the 1TB model
  • 250GB = $129.99 ($0.52/GB)

I would certainly like to see Samsung push the 960 EVO capacities upwards of 4TB, and with competing M.2 NVMe products shipping at a lower cost, those prices use some tweaking as well.

More information and pics to follow later today (tonight for you USA folks)!

**UPDATE** - since everyone is in bed and hasn't read any of this yet, I'm just going to add the information from the presentation here.

First, some of you may be wondering about the inverted capacity difference between the PRO and EVO. Historically, Samsung has shipped their EVO line in higher capacities than the PRO line. The 850 EVO currently ships in capacities up to 4TB, while the 850 PRO remains limited to 2TB. If you look closely at the photos above, you'll note that there are four flash packages on the PRO, while there are only two on the EVO. The cause for this difference is that the DRAM package (visible on the EVO) is integrated within the controller package on the PRO model. This is similar to what Samsung has done with their PM971-NVMe SSD, which has not only the controller and DRAM, but the flash itself all stacked within a *single* package. Samsung calls this package-on-package (PoP):

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During the Q&A, Samsung's Unsoo Kim indicated that future 960 EVO's may also shift to the PoP design in order to shift to 4 packages, and therefore double (or quadruple) the capacity on that line in the future.

Samsung also tackled thermal throttling head-on with what they call Dynamic Thermal Guard. This is a combination of a few things. First is the reduced power consumption - the new controller draws ~10% less power despite moving to a 5-core design (up from a 3-core on the 950 PRO). Second, and perhaps more interesting, is a new heat spreading label:

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This new label contains a copper layer that helps spread heat across more of the surface area of the M.2 part. Samsung gets bonus points for outside the box thinking there. The combination of the reduced power draw and the heat spreader help to make thermal throttling even more impossible under typical use:

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While the above chart was for reads (writes produce more heat), that's still a very good improvement, and being able to move potentially the full drive capacity before throttling is pretty good, especially considering the new models are moving data at a much faster speed. About those faster speeds, here are some increased details on the per-capacity specs:

960 PRO

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960 EVO

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Take the 960 EVO write specs with a grain of salt - those are assuming writes are going into the SLC cache area but never fear because TurboWrite is getting a boost as well:

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This new 'Intelligent TurboWrite' increases the SLC cache area significantly over that of the 850 EVO we are all used to, with up to a 42GB area on the 1TB model! This should make it easier to swallow those boastful write performance claims, as there's a really good chance that all writes any typical user applies to the new EVO will go straight into that new larger cache. 

Apologies for the odd cutoffs on these pictures. They were corrected for parallax prior to posting. I also couldn't do anything about the presenter being in the way of the data :). I've requested slides from Samsung and will replace these here if/when they are provided.

Last but not least was a newly announced '2.0' version of the Samsung proprietary NVMe driver, which should help enable these increased speeds, as the Windows InBox driver is certainly not optimized to handle them. With the driver comes a new ground-up redesign of Samsung's Magician software, which added support for file-specific secure erasure and a special 'Magic Vault' secure encrypted area of the SSD that can be invisible to the host OS when locked.

This appears to be the bulk of what is to be announced at the Summit, so for now, I leave you with the endurance ratings and (MSRP) pricing for all capacities / models:

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Full press blast after the break.

Samsung Electronics Accelerates the NVMe Era for Consumers with Its Highest Performing 960 PRO and EVO Solid State Drives

Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO Solid State Drives Break Through Capacity and Performance Boundaries

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – September 21, 2016 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a worldwide leader in advanced memory solutions for more than two decades, today unveiled the Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO, its newest solid state drives (SSDs). The V-NAND based, M.2 form factor SSDs were built on the company’s category-defining Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSD leadership. With powerful performance, endurance and capacity topped with all new and more robust Samsung Magician software package, Samsung continues to accelerate the NVMe era.

Packed with more technology and innovation than ever, the 960 PRO and 960 EVO are designed for users who seek smaller and faster storage solutions that deliver higher bandwidth and lower latency for processing massive amounts of data for everything from gaming and large file transfers to 4K video rendering, data analytics and more on their ultra-thin notebooks and PCs. 

Both the 960 PRO and 960 EVO use the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen.3 x4 lane interface and are compliant with NVMe specifications to realize effective use of the high-speed PCIe bus and optimize both hardware and software configurations to take advantage of the NVMe SSD technology. The SSDs feature Samsung Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to manage performance during extreme workloads.

“For more than 30 years, Samsung has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible to deliver innovative consumer memory experiences.” said Un-Soo Kim, Senior Vice President of Branded Product Marketing, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our V-NAND technology for NVMe-based storage products is our most recent advancement in the NVMe era.”

The 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs redefine the personal computer performance, in part attributed to new controller which raises the bar of consumer SSD performance. The 960 PRO delivers peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of 3,500 MB/s and 2,100 MB/s, respectively, and random read and write IOPS of up to 440,000 and 360,000.1

On top of being the world’s fastest M.2 NVMe- SSD, the 960 PRO will also offer 2 terabyte (TB) capacity, which is the highest capacity commercially available for M.2 NVMe SSDs, along with 512GB and 1TB versions.2 The 960 PRO’s high density was made possible by Samsung V-NAND technology and the uniquely restructured package design. As user capacity demand trends continue to rise, the high-density 960 PRO capacities are poised to conveniently meet the needs of personal data and information storage. The 960 PRO promises additional reliability and endurance with the five-year limited warranty and up to 1.2 petabytes written (PBW), whichever occurs first, for the 2TB capacity.

“We were proud to erect the NVMe era last year with the introduction of our 950 PRO SSD. Now, with the introduction of the NVMe 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs, Samsung is once again taking the next step in the multi-terabyte SSD technology and the storage revolution, providing users higher capacities and speeds than ever before within an NVMe PCIe drive to create new possibilities for consumers and business professionals,” Kim added.

The 960 EVO is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities3 and provide users with next-generation personal computing performance. The new Samsung Intelligent TurboWrite technology makes its debut in the 960 EVO and accelerates sequential read and write speeds, that reach peaks of 3,200 MB/s and 1,900 MB/s respectively.4,5   The 960 EVO’s random read speed reaches up to 380,000 IOPS and random write speed up to 360,000 IOPS.6 The 960 EVO comes with a three-year limited warranty and up to 400 terabytes written (TBW), whichever occurs first, for the 1TB capacity version. 

In addition to the industry leading performance, capacity and the reliable warranty-backed experience the 960 SSDs offer, Samsung is also introducing the all-new and fully rebuilt Magician software with a new user interface with which users can control various SSD settings including firmware updates.

The 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs will be available worldwide starting October 2016, with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices starting at $329.99 and $129.99 USD respectively. For more information, including warranty details7, please visit www.samsungssd.com.

Video News


September 21, 2016 | 02:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"5 year warranty, endurace peaks at 1.2TBW for the 2TB model"
should be:
"5 year warranty, endurance peaks at 1.2PBW for the 2TB model"

You misspelled endurance and according to Anandtech, it is 1200TBW. 1.2TBW makes no sense.

September 21, 2016 | 02:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It is listed in the press release as PBW. He probably probably just typed TBW by accident as it is a more common metric. Hopefully we will have more drives in the petabyte range going forward.

September 21, 2016 | 03:14 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Thanks for the catch. We got the PR with very little time to prepare the post, and I haven't been able to edit until now. I've also added lots of additional info from the presentation.

September 21, 2016 | 01:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Quote: "You misspelled endurance and according to Anandtech, it is 1200TBW. 1.2TBW makes no sense."

It's all well and good to point out typos and errors, but it's just not nice being snarky and arrogant while doing so.

September 21, 2016 | 03:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"**UPDATE** - since everyone is in bed and hasn't read any of this yet, I'm just going to add the information from the presentation here."

Some people are awake, and have been for some time... There is more than one timezone you know...

September 21, 2016 | 03:32 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I know - I'm currently in one of those other time zones :)

September 21, 2016 | 03:30 AM - Posted by Fasic (not verified)

960evo 250GB bestbuy right now...

October 14, 2016 | 08:44 PM - Posted by Bruce427 (not verified)

I would say the 500GB 960 EVO is the best buy.

The 250GB 960 EVO has 1/2 of the TBW rating and about a 40% smaller SLC cache buffer.

Additionally, if the 500GB 960 EVO should go into thermal throttling it still maintains better than SATA III speed (600MB/s) while the 250GB version drops to SATA II speed (300MB/s).

So for these reasons, I would suggest that the 500GB 960 EVO is the better value.

September 21, 2016 | 03:37 AM - Posted by Ryan H (not verified)

Yet another huge reason for me to build a new system, that has NVMe. :)

September 21, 2016 | 05:54 AM - Posted by CalinTM (not verified)

OMG thats some serious SLC cache there :))

September 21, 2016 | 08:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Cash you say?
https://youtu.be/Ahuo5VMvyQk

September 21, 2016 | 06:01 AM - Posted by denstieg (not verified)

That price difference between pro and evo will be difficult to explane, 10% faster like you would see that and 25/30% more dollars.
Would like a evo though.

September 21, 2016 | 09:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Extra endurance is nice though. As is 2TB.

September 23, 2016 | 05:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Tooty B. My favorite storage capacity.

September 21, 2016 | 09:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Better questions is why would anyone ever buy the Intel 600p -- significantly lower endurance, significantly lower performance, lower capacity and by the time the 960 EVO launches, it'll probably be at a similar price.

September 23, 2016 | 08:56 AM - Posted by RazrLeaf

I think it'll come down to actual retail price vs real world performance at the end of the day. Both are reputable companies, and the marketed performance and MSRPs are significantly different, and even now, the 850 EVO still commands a price premium over its competitors.

For reference MSRP of 960 EVO vs 600p:
250/256GB: $129 vs $104 (~19% less)
500/512GB: $249 vs $189 (~24% less)
1000/1024: $479 vs $359 (~24% less)

Comparison of specifications (at 500/512 level, EVO vs. 600p):
Seq Re: 3200 vs 1775 (~45% less)
Seq Wr: 1800 vs 0560 (~69% less)
Ran Re: 330K vs 128K (~62% less)
Ran Wr: 330K vs 128K (~62% less)

At least based on the specifications, 600p seems woefully behind.

EDIT: EVO warranty is 3 years, 600P is 5.

October 14, 2016 | 08:51 PM - Posted by Bruce427 (not verified)

When the 960 EVOs are delivered, there will be no reason to buy the (far lower in performance) Intel 600P drives.

Especially since the price is identical for the Samsung and Intel 256GB versions (@$129.95). The 256GB Samsung also has about a 28% greater TBW endurance rating.

Intel will have to lower their prices in order to be competitive.

September 22, 2016 | 01:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well those of us who are not poor nerdfags like you, don't really give a shit, I for instance pay about 90% more, to get 10% more. I like have THE BEST, and I work my ass off every fucking day, from dawn to dusk, so I don't have to be a little nerdfag like you who cares about stupid $100-$200 price diffs. Shit, I literally spend that much on a single lunch, an average lunch, with only a few cocktails. Maybe you should stop being such a low-energy nerdfag and go get a better job. Fuck. I hate poor people.

September 22, 2016 | 06:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Bro you gotta chill lol.

September 22, 2016 | 09:36 AM - Posted by Vigorous Rebuke (not verified)

Donald Trump, don't you have other things to do like run for president of the United States?

September 21, 2016 | 06:10 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

eagerly waiting for reviews, that heat spreader to reduce throttling sounds quite good.

September 21, 2016 | 07:30 AM - Posted by John H (not verified)

Why is the PRO power draw much lower than EVO? Pic shows 1.0A vs 2.6A?

September 21, 2016 | 07:48 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

EVO is 5.4W, PRO is 5.1W. Not much difference. On the 960 the two designs are very different between PRO and EVO, so they won't match perfectly.

September 21, 2016 | 08:52 AM - Posted by John H (not verified)

Ahh OK so the label pic must be a mockup then. One of the sticks says 3.3v x 1.0A and the other says 2.6A. Thanks sir!

September 21, 2016 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Thedarklord

How much is overheating a problem with these (and m.2 in general)? I know that Samsung said they added the heat spreader along with some logic in there (mentioned in the article), but I still am concerned about overhearing and the heat causing extra wear on the flash.

Also these concerns are for desktop machines.

September 21, 2016 | 07:33 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It really isn't a concern, and to be clear, heat (while in use / writing) causes *less* wear on the flash.

September 22, 2016 | 09:49 AM - Posted by RazrLeaf

Clarification questions:

Does heat makes it easier for an applied voltage to change the charge of a given cell? Is that why it's good, as it reduces the amount of wear the substrate suffers in a P/E cycle?

And isn't heat detrimental to the endurance of the flash controller? And isn't throttling on past M.2 caused by the controller overheating?

September 22, 2016 | 11:04 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yes, electrons can tunnel easier through a warmer insulator, meaning less breakdown of the insulator / wear.

Controller throttling isn't because of damage - it's an intentional, controlled slow down in order to prevent potential damage.

September 23, 2016 | 08:55 AM - Posted by RazrLeaf

Thank you.

September 21, 2016 | 12:16 PM - Posted by Danny (not verified)

Nice! Finally, Samsung made 2TB model of Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD, although I have to buy AIC adapter to install additional SSD. That way, I can fill the rest of my favorite game titles in SSD to load games faster, feel responsive, smooth, and have consistent framerate. And of course, I can install patches very fast, compared to traditional AHCI/SATA SSD.

September 21, 2016 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Hakuren

Obviously you never tried RAPID mode on Samsung AHCI SSD. It will blow any NVMe away by a good margin. My 1TB 850EVO gets transfer across the board between 6000-7500 MB/s (QD vary). NVMe is nowhere.

September 21, 2016 | 07:36 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

RAPID is great, but it's a cache, and caches look great in benchmarks but they can't work their magic in all scenarios. Firing up that game you haven't played in a few days will result in uncached performance.

September 21, 2016 | 01:08 PM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

Any idea whether these are SEDs and if so do they support eDrive/E1667 in firmware to enable hardware BitLocker?

Wasn't the 950 Pro supposed to get updated firmware in Feb/2016 to enable this? It seems *no* hardware site has taken Samsung to task for not providing the required firmware?

While the key may be protected by the ATA password it is not the same security as a full OPAL/eDrive/E1667 implementation.

(Note that Lenovo's SM951 does support OPAL but not eDrive/E1667 so still no BitLocker hardware possible either)

September 21, 2016 | 06:04 PM - Posted by jgstew

I agree, I'd like to know if these will support hardware bitlocker.

September 21, 2016 | 06:16 PM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

I'm reading the spec pages @ Samsung for 960 Pro and Evo:

"TCG Opal Family Spec and eDrive(IEEE1667) to be supported by FW update"

Yep, when pigs fly! Might as well wait for 990 Pro/Evo.

September 21, 2016 | 06:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Samsung, Until I can buy with Opal and not just an empty promise, there's no sale.

September 22, 2016 | 06:08 AM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

The crazy thing is that Lenovo's SM951 NVMe (that I have bought with an X1 Carbon) is OPAL2 but still does not support eDrive/E1667 so no BitLocker! See the thread "BitLocker hardware crypto and NVMe SM951 OPAL2" on Lenovo's forums:

"If it's a Lenovo OEM drive there is no IEEE1667 functionality in firmware.
It's OPAL 2 only, hence no hardware bitlocker."

But you can manage it in Linux with SED-UTIL (ex MSED).

Strangely Lenovo has never provided options with eDrive/E1667 only OPAL so we have been "forced" to buy 3-rd party SEDs (like Samsung 850, Crucial MX200, M550, etc.) to use hardware BitLocker. You'd think this would be mandated on a business machine?

September 21, 2016 | 09:07 PM - Posted by NateSomers

I didn't buy a 950 Pro because eDrive was not supported and I don't plan on buying the 960 until it supports eDrive.

September 22, 2016 | 07:34 AM - Posted by bearda

I just registered here as this seems to be the ONLY discussion I can find on the 950 Pro's lack of eDrive support.

It looks like Samsung has updated the data sheet for the 950 Pro to include the following statement:

The plan to provide a firmware update to enable TCG/OPAL and IEEE1667 has been put on hold due to the currently very restricted availability of commercial security software.

I wouldn't put any faith in Samsung providing that 960 FW any time soon, despite the earlier 850 EVO supporting eDrive just fine. I'm pretty ticked off a Samsung for the bait and switch at this point, especially since eDrive was a selling point when the 950 Pro was released.

September 22, 2016 | 11:10 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Just letting you guys know that I will follow up with Samsung on this. It will be covered as part of our 960 review.

September 22, 2016 | 07:24 AM - Posted by VeixES (not verified)

Waiting to see RAID-0 performance of these 960 Pro puppies, with 2x or 3x drives, thank you :)

September 23, 2016 | 10:05 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php?/topic/39529-samsung-introduce...

September 26, 2016 | 05:47 PM - Posted by Palorim12 (not verified)

RAID 0 not worth it with NVME (Personally hate all types of RAID with SSDs, so I would say RAID is never worth it), gonna have hella latency.

September 22, 2016 | 06:35 PM - Posted by Dr_b_

Will there be other form factors besides M.2, like a normal SSD Sata 2.5 enclosure if you heard

September 22, 2016 | 11:06 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The 850 EVO and PRO are already class leading and saturate the SATA interface in nearly all workloads. There's not much more innovation to be had with that severely bottlenecked interface.

September 22, 2016 | 11:38 PM - Posted by Fredey (not verified)

Could you ask them why they didn't do u.2 2.5 inch ? The hardware is small enough

September 23, 2016 | 01:01 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

M.2 is the far more dominant form factor. U.2 is meant for enterprise, despite the fact that Intel insisted on pushing it for client. They did so because for the longest time the only NVMe part they were shipping for client was the 750, which can't do M.2.

September 23, 2016 | 10:07 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

repeating this link:

http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php?/topic/39529-samsung-introduce...

September 23, 2016 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

But, that "bottleneck" is the result of arbitrary and
political factors: SAS now runs at 12G, and the SATA
standard could be enhanced with an 8G and/or 12G clock
and the 128b/130b "jumbo frames" now supported by the
PCIe 3.0 standard. To prove this point, the USB 3.1
spec now supports a 10G clock and 128b/132b jumbo frames.
The SATA standards group were presented with these
enhancements, and instead they gave us SATA-Express
(i.e. DOA). The entire storage industry would benefit
greatly from variable clock speeds + support for
Plug-and-Play and overclocking e.g. JEDEC-style settings,
jumpers, auto-detection, Option ROMs etc. The IT
storage industry functions like an oligopoly in fact.
SATA Max Headroom would double simply by increasing
the transmission clock to 12G, just like modern SAS.
By adding jumbo frames, Max Headroom increases from
1,200 MB/s to 1,477 MB/s (i.e. 12,000 / 8.125).

September 24, 2016 | 04:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzPlotAwm8Y

October 1, 2016 | 11:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Any word on release date yet? Will it ship from US suppliers at the same time as others worldwide?

October 11, 2016 | 02:54 PM - Posted by MRFS (not verified)

YEP! That's our ol' friend Max Headroom! THANKS!!

October 5, 2016 | 04:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Release date October 2016? Any update info? Does Samsung have a pattern of hitting their target dates? Or likely pushed back? I'd think they'd need some good press out there to offset the mightmares of the phone battery fires? Or will the phone problems just shift their focus and cause delays for these new SSDs?

October 12, 2016 | 11:15 AM - Posted by Scoob (not verified)

Any updates on a possible release date?

October 14, 2016 | 12:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

how much different is this from the SM961 OEM. I just purchased the 256GB to get by.. wold be worth shifting to the 960 Pro model from that base?

October 18, 2016 | 06:36 PM - Posted by Chris C (not verified)

One thing i never seen explained is how one flash die can operate in different modes e.g. TLC and SLC. Is all flash universal imn that respect in that it can run in whatever mode the software asks it to? Or have they actually applied a different hardware flash for the SLC turbowrite alongside TLS hardware flash?

January 6, 2017 | 07:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

question about endurance or TBW ssd 960 evo 250gb.
it's said 100 TBW but is it true
for for example i have ssd mx300 and according to crucial software
and other software like crstal disk the total write is 500000gb and life of the ssd around 15%, in the website of crucial the TBW of the ssd 160 TBW so it clean way above that almost 500 160 TBW.
i am interesting in buying the SSD 960 evo 250GB SO MY QUESTION IS :
WHAT IS THE REAL TWB OF THE SSD 960 EVO or the max write of the ssd until it die ?

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