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Samsung PM961 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review (Page 4)

By Jon Coulter from May 7, 2017 @ 23:01 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Samsung


Version and / or Patch Used: 3.05

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products. When evaluating ATTO performance, we focus on the drive's performance curve.


The PM961 meets or exceeds factory sequential specifications on our Intel platform. On our Ryzen platform, we can't quite hit 1,700 MBs sequential write. The Intel platform has a major advantage in smaller file sizes.

Sequential Write


Graphing the performance curve shows the commanding lead that the Intel has over AMD's Ryzen platform at every file size. Comparing performance to the rest of the SSDs in our test pool shows the PM961 outperforming all but the 960 Pro and 960 EVO. Thanks to its pSLC (pseudo-SLC) caching, the PM961 manages to outperform the more powerful SM961.

Sequential Read


Again, the PM961 runs better on our Intel platform doing so where it matters most – small file performance. This time, the MLC powered SM961 leaves no doubt which is the better performing SSD. The Polaris powered PM961 lays waste to the Intel 750, RD400 and Toshiba XG3.

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 SSDs. 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. When evaluating performance with Anvils, we focus on the total score. When evaluating NVMe SSDs, we are typically looking for a minimum total score of over 10K.




The PM961 outscores the more powerful SM961 primarily because we ran the SM961 on the in-box Windows 10 NVMe driver and the PM961 on Samsung's NVMe driver 2.0. Does an NMVe driver matter? You bet it does. The 960 EVO outscores the PM961, but it's not by much. The non-Samsung SSDs in our test pool don't stand a chance against the mighty PM961.

(Anvil) Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale


Our Ryzen platform is nipping at the heels of our Intel platform at high queue depths. Keep in mind that this is our OS disk and it is 75% full.


The Intel 750 takes the win at queue depths over 64, but overall, the Samsung SSDs in our test pool deliver a far better performance curve where it matters – low queue depths. The PM961 manages to edge out the 960 EVO, and demolishes the OCZ/Toshiba offerings.

(Anvil) Write IOPS through Queue Scale


With our Intel platform, we are able to attain 360K random write IOPS at QD32. With our AMD Ryzen platform, we are able to attain 359K random write IOPS at QD32. Keep in mind that this is our OS disk and it is 75% full.


This paints a better picture of what is really going on than our test at QD32 does. The Intel platform demolishes the Ryzen platform at queue depths lower than QD32. For reasons unknown to us, Ryzen is significantly inferior when writing random data at low queue depths. We are using the exact same driver on both platforms, but Intel displays a clear advantage over AMD until we hit high queue depths where it doesn't really matter anyway.

This testing is accelerated by the PM961's pSLC cache layer, which is why is outperforms the SM961 and even the 960 Pro at queue depths 16-32. The 960 EVO outperforms the PM961 due to its performance oriented firmware. The OEM PM961 is held back by its firmware to keep thermals in check when installed in laptops. The EVO is able to be fully unleashed even in a laptop environment because its thermal label keeps heat in check.

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