Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review

Samsung's SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x 4 SSD's are now shipping to OEM's. You can't get your own just yet, but they are coming soon. Let's take a look.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Wed, Jun 10 2015 9:09 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing and Availability

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 56 IMAGES

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) technology is transforming SSD's as we know them. For now, NVMe operates over PCIe interfaces. NVMe is designed to be future proof, with a protocol built for current and future non-volatile storage solutions such as PCM (Phase Change Memory) or MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory) memory. Currently there are two competing solutions; one offered by Intel and the other offered by Samsung. The two companies have taken vastly different approaches to delivering a consumer based NVMe storage solution.

Intel's approach is a full size and full power (up to 25 watts) desktop solution. Intel's 750 PCIe Gen3 8Gb/s x 4 Lane series SSD's are available in two form factors, a full size HHHL AIC (Half Height Half Length Add-In-Card) PCIe slot SSD or a 2.5"x 15mm SSD with an 8639-compatible connector. Intel went full size as opposed to an M.2 form factor to avoid incurring limitations that are inherent to a device that is so small. Intel's 750 series SSD's are loaded up with a total of 36-20nm planar flash packages, 5-DRAM packages and a massive 18 channel controller.

Samsung has taken an opposite approach by embracing the M.2 form factor despite its diminutive size. In contrast to Intel's 750 series, Samsung's 256GB SM951 PCIe Gen3 8Gb/s x 4 Lane NVMe M.2 SSD has only 2-16nm Planar flash packages, 1-DRAM package and a proprietary UBX 3-core 8-channel controller. The SM951 is designed primarily for implementation in today's ultra-slim notebook PC's that require extended battery use. To extend battery life, the SM951 is capable of L1.2 low-power standby mode, which allows all high-speed circuits to be turned off when a PC is in sleep mode or hibernating, requiring only 2mW to maintain operational status. Currently Samsung's SM951 NVMe M.2 SSD is only available to OEM's, however RamCity has stated to us they will be selling the drive to consumers beginning in mid-July of this year.

We are starting to see many enthusiasts using the AHCI SM951 in their desktop's Ultra M.2 slots as a boot drive. Despite its small size, the SM951 AHCI SSD is 4x faster than SATA-based SSD's and in a desktop setting delivers performance nearly on par with Intel's 750 Series NVMe SSD's. Samsung is looking for the performance crown and in an effort to capture it, they have introduced an NVME version of their highly successful SM951 M.2 SSD. The NVMe protocol has a greatly reduced command stack that delivers lower latency, higher IOPS and reduced CPU overhead, so we expect to see great performance from Samsung's SM951 NVMe SSD.

We will examine both how the SM951 NVMe stacks up against Intel's monster 750 Series, as well as how much better it performs in comparison to the SM951 AHCI version. When we last looked at the SM951 AHCI SSD, we had a Lenovo version that did not deliver full performance. Today we have one that does deliver full performance and we will be charting its performance alongside the new SM951 NVMe drive. As points of comparison, we will also be charting a powerful 3-drive Seagate 600 Pro SATA array, Intel's 750 Series 1.2 TB NVMe SSD and Intel's DC P3700 800GB enterprise NVMe SSD.

As most of you know, we believe that providing results with the drives running as our boot volume 75% full is far more relevant than providing you with results from empty SSD's in an FOB state. Testing boot volumes also allows us to comment with authority on how the drive/array handles when used as you will be using it. This method of testing takes more time and effort, but we believe it is well worth it.

Let's get going and see for ourselves what level of performance can be expected from a Samsung SM951 NVMe 256GB SSD.

Specifications Samsung SM951 NVMe 256GB

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Samsung's SM951 NVMe SSD is available in three capacities: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Sequential read performance varies by capacity up to 2150 MB/s maximum. Sequential write performance varies by capacity up to 1550 MB/s maximum. The drive delivers up to 300,000 Random Read IOPS and 100,000 Random Write IOPS. LBA addressing is handled by a single Samsung DRAM package at all three capacity points. TBW (Total Bytes Written) and warranty period is unknown.

Power consumption is listed at 6.5W (typical) active. Idle power consumption is listed at 50mW (typical). Device Sleep power consumption is listed at 2mW.

Drive Details

Samsung 256GB SM951 NVMe M.2 SSD

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The front half of the drive has a full-length manufacturers label affixed to it. The label lists the drive's capacity, model number, serial number and a warning that removing the label will void the drive's warranty.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The back half of the drive is devoid of components.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Here is the front half of the drive with the label removed. This side of the PCB houses both of the drives 128GB 16nm planar flash packages, tri-core UBX controller, and a single 512MB LPDDR DRAM package.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Here is a close-in view of the drive's tri-core ARM-based UBX controller.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Here is a close-in view of the drive's two 128GB synchronous 16nm flash packages.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Finally, we have a shot of the drive's 4Gb (512MB) LPDDR DRAM package.

Test System Setup and Properties

Test System Configuration

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 09 | TweakTown.com

We would like to thank the following companies: ASRock, Crucial, Intel, Corsair, RamCity, IN WIN, and Seasonic for making our test system possible.

Drive Properties

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The majority of our testing is performed with our test drive as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing SSD's for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results.

System settings: Cstates and Speed stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High Performance power plan is enabled. Windows write caching is enabled, and Windows buffer flushing is disabled.

Note: Neither of the SM951 drives were Secure Erased for any of our testing.

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities

ATTO

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.47

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Sequential read transfers max out at 2.14 GB/s. Sequential write transfers max out at 1.24 GB/s.

Sequential Write

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 12 | TweakTown.com

None of the PCIe drives can match the small file write performance of our 3-drive 600 Pro array. As file sizes increase, the AHCI SM951 and the DC P3700 run away from the pack. Of the PCIe drives, the SM951 NVMe has the best small file performance up to 8KB transfers.

Sequential Read

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Both Samsung drives are able to massively outperform the Intel drives at transfer sizes up to 256KB. The SM951 NVMe is delivering 5x the performance of the Intel drives at 16KB transfers. However, our 600 Pro array dominates the field with superior small file performance up to 8K in size.

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark designed to measure the storage performance of SSD's. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4k QD16.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Scoring

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 15 | TweakTown.com

The SM951 NVMe drive delivers incredible read performance, with the highest read score we've seen to date. Both SM951 versions have read performance that is superior to the competition.

(Anvil) Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 16 | TweakTown.com

The SM951 NVMe roasts the competition where it matters most, QD1-16.

(Anvil) Write IOPS through Queue Scale

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 17 | TweakTown.com

At QD1-4, our 600 Pro array easily outperforms the PCIe drives. From there, the Intel drives leave everyone in the dust.

Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

CrystalDiskMark is disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4k and 4k queue depths with accuracy. Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at QD4.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 18 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 19 | TweakTown.com

Let's focus on 4K QD1 and 4K QD4 because they are the two most important categories. The SM951 NVMe is again breaking lab records. Nothing that has come across our bench is even close to the SM951 NVMe. The SM951 AHCI drive is able to deliver the second best performance.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Our Seagate 600 Pro array massively outperforms the PCIe drives at 4K QD1. Normally we consider this an important indicator of a drive/arrays performance, but we have come to find that this only applies to SATA-based SSD's.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7.4739.38088

AS SSD determines the performance of Solid-State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 21 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 22 | TweakTown.com

What the chart does not show, the screenshot does. 54 MB/s at QD1 read is another lab record. With our synthetic testing out of the way, let's get to some real-world testing and see how Samsung's SM951 drives really perform.

Benchmarks (Trace Based OS Volume) - PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 & PCMark 8

Moderate Workload Model

We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.

We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drives performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 23 | TweakTown.com

OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 24 | TweakTown.com

Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 25 | TweakTown.com

There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 26 | TweakTown.com

The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance.

Steady state performance is what matters and the SM951 NVMe is able to crush the competition delivering 34% better performance than the next closest contender. This is yet another lab record.

PCMark 7 - System Storage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0

We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for an evaluation because it's done without system stops and therefore allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 27 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 28 | TweakTown.com

While not an overall lab record (that belongs to a 6-drive Intel 730 array) it is a lab record for a single drive. Both SM951 versions destroy the competition.

PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304

We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 29 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 30 | TweakTown.com

PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate workload simulations, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance and the SM951 NVMe sets another lab record.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - Max IOPS, Disk Response & Transfer Rates

Iometer - Maximum IOPS

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure high queue depth performance.

Max IOPS Read

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 31 | TweakTown.com

Max IOPS Write

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 32 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 33 | TweakTown.com

We normally test MAX IOPS with the test subject secure erased and no partition (FOB), but we did not secure erase the SM951 NVMe for any of our testing and decided to leave a partition on the drive for this test. This is the reason we were not able to hit Samsung's specification of 300/100K.

Iometer - Disk Response

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure disk response times. Disk response times are measured at an industry accepted standard of 4K QD1 for both write and read. Each test runs twice for 30 seconds consecutively, with a 5-second ramp-up before each test. We partition the drive/array as a secondary device for this testing.

Avg. Write Response

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 34 | TweakTown.com

Avg. Read Response

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 35 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 36 | TweakTown.com

Write response times are good but not array good, or Intel 750 Series good. Read response times are again another lab record.

DiskBench - Directory Copy

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

We use DiskBench to time a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) composed primarily of incompressible random data as it's transferred from our DC P3700 PCIe NVME SSD to our test drive. We then read from a 6GB zip file that's part of our 28.6GB data block to determine the test drives read transfer rate. Our system is restarted prior to the read test to clear any cached data, ensuring an accurate test result.

Write Transfer Rate

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 37 | TweakTown.com

Read Transfer Rate

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 38 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 39 | TweakTown.com

We expected the Intel drives to have the fastest read transfer rate, but the SM951 AHCI drive sets a new lab record. We tested several times to confirm this.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended

Heavy Workload Model

PCMark 8's consistency test simulates an extended duration heavy workload environment. PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC)) The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid-state storage in an extended duration heavy workload environment. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete, and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive. If you want to know what an SSD's steady state performance is going to look like during a heavy workload, this test will show you.

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

Precondition phase:

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes.

Steady state phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Recovery phase:

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Storage Bandwidth

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we use to judge a drive's performance.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 40 | TweakTown.com

We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays heavy workload performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drives performance. Trace based steady state testing is where true high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

Intel's NVMe drives all have enterprise DNA and it comes as no surprise that they are able to outperform the both SM951 drives in a steady-state heavy workload simulation. The SM951 NVMe drive performs remarkably well, much better than the AHCI version.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 41 | TweakTown.com

We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses.

Total Access Time (Latency)

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 42 | TweakTown.com

Disk Busy Time

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the tests 18 trace iterations.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 43 | TweakTown.com

When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well.

Data Written

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better a drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data, the more data will be written.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 44 | TweakTown.com

Enterprise class SSD's dominate this test.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - 70/30 Mixed Workload

70/30 Mixed Workload Test (Sledgehammer)

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

This test hammers a drive so hard we've dubbed it "Sledgehammer". Our 70/30 Mixed Workload test is designed to simulate a heavy-duty enthusiast/workstation steady-state environment. We feel that a mix of 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfers best represents this type of user environment. Our test allows us to see the drive enter into and reach a steady state as the test progresses.

Phase one of the test preconditions the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes. Phase two of the test runs a 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfer workload on the drive for 1 hour. We log and chart (phase two) IOPS data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 45 | TweakTown.com

What we like about this test is that it reflects reality. Everything lines up, as it should. Consumer drives don't outperform Enterprise-Class SSD's that were designed for enterprise workloads. Consumer drives based on old technology are not outperforming modern Performance-Class SSD's, etc.

The SM951 does not perform at a high level in a heavy-duty workload scenario. The good news is that enthusiasts typically run light to moderate workloads where the SM951 has no equal.

Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)

Maxed-Out Performance

This testing is just to see what the drive is capable of in an FOB (Fresh Out of Box) state under optimal conditions. Both Samsung drives were cleaned with Windows Diskpart and formatted. No Secure Erase was performed.

Samsung SM951 NVMe 256GB

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 46 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 47 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 48 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 49 | TweakTown.com

Samsung SM951 AHCI 512GB

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 50 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 51 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 52 | TweakTown.com
Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 53 | TweakTown.com

Final Thoughts

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 54 | TweakTown.com

Samsung continues to impress us. In our opinion, they currently have the fastest consumer SSD's on the market. The main drawback of the SM951 series is availability. Where can you buy one? In addition, will it run as expected on your machine? Remember, the SM951 is only qualified for OEM motherboards.

We applaud Samsung for embracing the M.2 form factor. We are simply amazed that Samsung can deliver in such a tiny package what we feel is the best performing consumer SSD we've ever tested. We did not think we would see a consumer drive that can outperform the 750 series so soon. The SM951 NVMe set lab records left and right. While it is true that in a heavy workload scenario the 750 Series has an edge, it's also true that the majority of consumers will never run heavy workloads.

When comparing the SM951 AHCI to the NVMe version, it's important to focus on random performance rather than sequential performance. Sequentially, both versions perform similarly, but sequential performance is not nearly as important as random performance. Our PCmark 8 testing highlights the impact random performance has when running applications. The NVMe drive even though it is a smaller capacity with a lower sequential write speed is able to deliver 18% better overall performance due to its NVMe protocol. Throughout our testing, the SM951 NVMe drive was able to significantly outperform the AHCI version due to a higher Queue Depth in the NVMe protocol. Samsung puts a visual perspective on what NVMe brings to the table with the following chart:

Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Review 55 | TweakTown.com

When comparing the SM951 NVMe to the Intel 750 Series drives, we would point out that the SM951 has much better small file performance, as illustrated by our ATTO sequential read chart. Small file transactions comprise the vast majority of transfers in a consumer OS environment and the SM951 is able to outperform the 750 series by as much as 5X up to 16KB transfers. Because of this, we feel that the SM951 NVMe SSD will provide better performance than the 750 Series for the majority of consumers.

Because we perform most of our evaluations with the test subject running as our boot volume, we can comment on how the drive performed with our OS. Until now, we've been of the opinion that most SSD's will provide a similar user experience, but the SM951 NVMe is different. We were able to notice a big difference in how fast our system booted. But, what really grabbed my attention is how much faster Windows loads with an SM951 NVMe drive. There has always been a wait time (think spinning circle next to your curser) at the desktop for Windows to fully load, but not with this SSD, there is literally no perceivable wait time; that spinning circle next to your curser, it's gone! Installing Windows updates is literally twice as fast as any other drive or array I've ever used. Programs launch so fast it's hard to believe your eyes. This is the reason we test boot volumes. We can tell you about what matters most; user experience.

The SM951 will probably never make it to the masses, it was never intended to. This is just speculation on our part, but we believe Samsung is about to launch a similar drive with even better performance in the near future that will be available through normal retail channels. The SM951 is just a taste of what's on the horizon.

The M.2 form factor is driving innovation and we find it the most appealing of all form factors. There is something to be said for a drive that just disappears into your motherboard and doesn't take up a PCIe slot.

Pros:

  • Fastest consumer SSD
  • Most appealing form factor
  • Low power requirement

Cons:

  • Availability
TweakTown award
Performance99%
Quality including Design and Build98%
General Features96%
Bundle and PackagingN/A
Value for Money89%
Overall96%

The Bottom Line: Samsung's SM951 NVMe SSD is the fastest OS Disk we've ever used and it packs all that performance into the most appealing form factor.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Buyer Guides
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles