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Samsung XP941 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: May 20, 2014 7:18 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: RamCity

Samsung XP941 512GB M.2 SSD




Here we get our first look at the fastest consumer SSD on the market today. We say consumer with a bit of tongue in cheek since it uses the proposed enterprise spec 4 lanes and is technically an OEM drive with an aggressive retailer bringing them to market.


The XP941 isn't much larger than a stick of gum, but it does fall within the specs for M.2. The spec for this model is 22mm wide and 80mm long, which is 2280 or M.2 2280. The M.2 spec has other sizes that go from 30mm to 110mm. As the length increases, so does the surface area for more components, such as the flash packages. The smaller size drives are mainly designed for cache modules, part of Intel's RST 13.x storage system that we'll talk about in the ASRock Extreme6 Storage Subsystem Overview in a few days.






The controller's name is UAX, and it is a triple-core architecture like the EVO's MEX and the Pro's MDX. We like to say that one core is dedicated to reading, one to writing, and one to arithmetic. The third core manages the flash, background transfers (garbage collection), and wear leveling activities. The 512GB model also has a 512MB DRAM buffer that is next to the controller.




Until now, we've only seen 16 die in a single package on the mSATA EVO 1TB SSD. The EVO uses TLC flash, but the 512GB XP941 uses 16 MLC die in a single package. The drive has four NAND flash packages in total, with two on each side. This product is like an exotic sports car made in limited numbers like a Ferrari FXX or Aston Martin One77. The technology is available but not cost effective for mainstream use.




RamCity also sent us a pair of Bplus PCIe 4-lane adapters that include a heat sink for the drive. Here we see the adapter broken down and ready to accept an 80mm length M.2 drive. Note: this model will only support up to 2280. It does ship with both a full height and half height cover.




The drive installs at an angle like the RAM in your notebook. You push it down gently and then install a screw that holds the drive against the adapter.




With the drive in place, we can get the heat sink ready.




Here we see everything together and the two back covers. The adapter does ship with two of the tiny screws used to hold the drive down. This is very good since I managed to drop one within 15 minutes of opening the package.

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