Samsung 960 Pro 512GB Review – Samsung’s 850 series has long been a popular choice in SSDs and comes in a 2.5in hard drive-sized format to plug into the SATA connectors found in most desktop PCs. When the 950 arrived last year, it was more of a niche product, using the stripped-down M.2 format – a small printed circuit board with black chip packages, like a memory module – for a new interface available only on a few motherboards.
Significantly faster than a hard drive and can store similar amounts of data
Since then, M.2 has become a common feature in new PCs, so more of us will have a use for it. And Samsung has replaced the 950 with the 960, which is even faster. M.2’s NVMe protocol works over four PCI-Express lanes to increase maximum read and write speeds beyond SATA’s limit of 600Mbit/s. In our tests, the 950 Pro 256GB beat Samsung’s own claim of 900Mbit/s writing and 2200Mbit/s reading, so switching interfaces is worth it.
These are even quicker with the 960 Pro, which promises up to 2100Mbit/s writing and 3500Mbit/s reading. This time our top benchmark results were a little under rather than over the claimed speeds, but close enough. In more realistic tests with everyday tasks, it read and wrote small files at 709 and 878Mbit/ sec respectively, which is only six per cent faster than the 950 Pro, but way beyond any hard drive. With big files it was 33 per cent faster.
Capacities go up to 2TB, so an SSD is now smaller, easier to install (M.2 doesn’t require a separate power cable) and significantly faster than a standard hard drive, and can store similar amounts of data too. Price remains the catch. The 960 Pro is expensive, and there’s no smaller option for those who just want a fast startup drive as a companion to a larger hard drive. The 960 Evo is only guaranteed for a quarter
Samsung 960 Pro 512GB Review: VERDICT
There are cheaper SSDs if you just want something a bit faster than a hard drive for a bit more, but this really shows the potential
Samsung 960 Pro 512GB Review: ALTERNATIVE
Samsung 950 Pro 256GB
You can still find a few of these around if you want Pro reliability for less money
Samsung 960 Pro 512GB Review: SPECIFICATIONS
512GB M.2 SSD •22x80x2.4mm • Five-year warranty, or 400 terabytes written of the data-transfer life span, but it’s still rated for a very quick 1900Mbit/s write and 3200Mbit/s read and is much more affordable.