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HP EX950 SSD Review - When you want the fastest (Page 1)

HP EX950 SSD Review - When you want the fastest

In our application tests, HP's 1TB EX950 outperformed every other consumer NVMe SSD on the market, making the 1TB EX950 number one!

By Chris Ramseyer from Jan 16, 2019 @ 10:00 CST

Introduction

HP released one of the most impressive consumer NVMe SSDs of 2018. The HP EX920 announcement came early in the year, during CES, but the drives went relatively unnoticed until May when reviews hit the web. With the new EX950, HP will get the product to market sooner and have momentum from the success of the previous flagship NVMe SSD.

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The EX950 NVMe SSD from HP used the Silicon Motion, Inc. (SMI) SM2262EN controller. This is an updated model with programming tweaks and a hardware change to improve the efficiency of incoming data (SMI calls it an optimized data path). Like the new ADATA SX8200 Pro, HP chose Micron's proven 64-layer 3-bit per cell NAND flash memory to pair with the new controller.

Specifications

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HP will bring the EX950 to market in three capacities. The series will scale from 512GB to 2TB. There isn't a 256GB model at this time despite the FCC leak showing that capacity. HP lists sequential read performance at 3,500 MB/s for all three sizes. This is the same rating as the ADATA SX8200 Pro but the sequential write performance is slightly down from that series. The two largest capacity drives rate at 2,900 MB/s. The difference is likely due to changes in the testing process.

The HP drives do score slightly higher in the random category. The two largest drives rate at 410,000 IOPS read. The 2TB reaches 380,000 IOPS write while the 1TB and 512GB rate at 370,000 IOPS write.

HP didn't cramp users with unnecessary overprovisioning on the EX950 series. This follows the predecessor EX920 and may have played a role in the performance difference we observed in the SX8200 and EX920 - a performance battle HP won. Today we will see if HP pulls off the same magic in relation to the 2019 SSD wars.

Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance

At the time of writing, the EX950 series was not on Newegg or Amazon. We scored pricing details from HP in the form of MSRPs (suggested prices). The suggested prices rarely hold for more than a few weeks with SSDs so expect retail pricing to be the same as, or less than what we list today.

The EX950 2TB should hit the web at $399 on day one. The 1TB model drops to $229 and the 512GB for just $119.

HP covers the EX950 series with a strong 5-year warranty and a healthy dose of endurance for each model. The 512GB endurance rates at 320 TBW. That more than doubles for the 1TB model to 650 TBW and the massive 2TB model gets 1,400 TBW.

A Closer Look

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HP didn't try to reinvent the wheel with the EX950 packaging. The design is similar to the previous generation, and we can say the same for the drive itself. In the package, we found a well put together manual that doubles as the warranty packet and a fine thread screw often used to secure M.2 SSDs in motherboards.

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