The 2TB and 1TB HP EX950 models performed very well in our testing, and we found the pricing in line with most other premium NVMe SSDs released in early 2019. The 512GB EX950 uses the same playbook to deliver exceptional performance, but this capacity gets very close to a $100 price point.
In the 960GB Crucial BX500 review, a DRAMless SATA SSD that also nears the $100 mark, we talked about using two drives to split the operating system and games. This keeps performance high for both drives by reducing the amount of data on each and segmenting the files, operating system and applications.
The premise is to use a small capacity, high-performance NVMe SSD for your operating system and a larger SATA SSD for your applications. Good quality NVMe SSDs generally double the cost per gigabyte over SATA so you could reasonably get more capacity per Dollar with a two drive storage solution while retaining similar performance to one large NVMe SSD.
HP released the EX950 series in three capacities with the 512GB the smallest in the series. This is a departure from the EX920 came to market last year and spanned 256GB to 1TB. The new EX950 adds a 2TB model at the top.
The 512GB EX950 we're focused on today sports slightly lower specifications compared to the 1TB and 2TB models. The sequential read performance retains the same at 3,500 MB/s. The sequential write speed dips to 2,250 MB/s, down from 2,900 MB/s. The random read performance also takes a small dip from 410,000 IOPS (1TB and 2TB models) to 390,000 IOPS (512GB model). The random write performance remains the same as the 1TB EX950, at 370,000 IOPS.
HP reaches this level of performance by replacing the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2262 controller from the EX920 released last year. The new controller is the SM2262EN with an improved data path and firmware optimizations. HP matched the new controller with the same 64L 3-bit per cell memory from Micron used on the EX920.
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
Pricing remains steady with the EX950 series. The 1TB model dropped $10 since our initial review and now sells for $219.99 on Amazon. The 512GB remains strong at $119 and the 2TB costs $399.
HP covers the series with a premium 5-year warranty that includes ample endurance that is higher than the market average for each capacity.
A Closer Look
The series uses an M.2 2280 double-sided design for all three capacities. This is an important design feature for the 512GB model. It allows the drive to address more memory at one time and take full advantage of the 8-channel controller design.