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Samsung SM961 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 4, 2016 1:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Samsung

Final Thoughts




Polaris is a hot topic these days, and it doesn't just refer to GPUs. Samsung's Polaris SSD controller is a marvelous piece of engineering. Polaris takes sequential and random performance to a whole new level. Samsung's 48 layer VNAND is just as exciting because with it comes a much lower price per gigabyte, better endurance, and less heat.


Samsung's SM961 is an OEM SSD; the precursor to the upcoming 960 Pro. We fully expect that the 960 Pro will have a dedicated driver which will solve the problems we experienced with Windows 10 and moderate workload performance with the SM961. We hope Samsung will offer a proprietary NVMe driver that's compatible with the SM961 at some point because we believe we would see a massive increase in moderate workload performance with a well-tuned NVMe driver. Maybe we will even see RAPID mode enabled at some point?



Right now, if you want an NVMe 1TB M.2 SSD, you have just attainable two choices. OCZ's RD400 1TB and Samsung's SM961 OEM SSD. The RD400 is readily available; good luck getting your hands-on an SM961. Securing your your own SM961 at this time is hit and miss, because stock is very limited. The best source for obtaining an SM961 is RamCity, but you will likely have to back order. OCZ's RD400 has the advantage of a proprietary NVMe driver which expands compatibility to Windows 7 users and at the same time eliminates moderate workload performance issues with Windows 10. Both the RD400 and SM961 deliver excellent performance, however, the RD400 1TB is far more expensive than Samsung's SM961. Also, the SM961 is a much more powerful solution than OCZ's RD400 if you are running Windows 8.1. We expect to see Samsung's 960 Pro in the near future. When that happens, it (960 Pro) will have broader compatibility than the OEM SM961 and the Windows 10 moderate workload performance issues we experienced will be fully remedied.


Many lab records fell today while testing the Polaris-powered SM961 1TB NVMe SSD - twelve lab records to be exact. Samsung's Polaris controller is easily the most powerful client-based SSD controller, and yet we believe the SM961 is only scratching the surface of the performance potential that the Polaris controller has to offer.


Our user experience while running the Samsung's SM961 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD as our OS disk was as outstanding as you can imagine. Every task we threw at the drive was handled almost instantaneously. Our system booted like lightning and multi-tasking was the best we've experienced to date.


Samsung's SM961 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD is TweakTown recommended.




  • Performance
  • Capacity
  • Build Quality
  • Most Appealing Form Factor




  • Moderate Workloads with Windows 10

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build99%
General Features90%
Bundle and PackagingN/A
Value for Money99%
Overall TweakTown Rating97%

The Bottom Line: A super-low price point, high capacity, and numerous lab records add up to a drive that you MUST HAVE!

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