Tuesday, September 13th 2016

Samsung Readies SSD 960 EVO Based on New "Polaris" Controller

Samsung is giving finishing touches to a new line of PCI-Express solid-state drives (SSDs) that offer performance that matches or beats the current SSD 950 Pro series, at lower price-points, the 960 EVO. These drives leverage the company's 48-layer 3D-VNAND flash memory, and the new "Polaris" SSD controller by Samsung, to serve up performance that beats the 950 Pro. Samsung could transfer some of the cost-savings in using the inexpensive flash standard to the consumer, highlighted by the company's decision to brand these drives "EVO."

Tom's Hardware discovered that the Samsung PM961 drives are analogous to the 960 EVO, featuring identical components - the "Polaris" controller, and 48-layer TLC 3D-VNAND flash chips . These drives come in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, with sequential transfer rates of up to 3000 MB/s reads, with up to 1150 MB/s writes; up to 360,000 IOPS 4K random-read, and up to 280,000 IOPS 4K random-write. The 960 EVO will ship in M.2 NGFF-2280 and PCIe add-on card form-factors, with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 bus interfaces. The drives will support the NVMe protocol.
Source: Tom's Hardware
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48 Comments on Samsung Readies SSD 960 EVO Based on New "Polaris" Controller

#1
RejZoR
Someone should check the PCIe power load he he hehe he hehehehe :)
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#2
dj-electric
It was just a question of time for an answer to the unbeatably cheap intel 600p drives. Well. There it is
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#3
Hood
Dj-ElectriC
It was just a question of time for an answer to the unbeatably cheap intel 600p drives. Well. There it is
These are faster and more expensive than 600p, but also faster and cheaper than 950 Pro. Not really targeting the same market - 600p is for more budget-oriented builds (and amazing for the price!), the 960 Evo will be for mainstream enthusiasts and power users with a higher budget, and I'm sure the "960 Pro" will be priced similar to the 950 Pro, have MLC NAND, and will be the fastest NVMe drive available (for a while). All of them will run circles around my Intel 750, for less money, and it's not slow....
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#4
Octopuss
I don't understand - are these already being sold under a different name?

P.S. What's the difference between Pro and EVO again? I'm not sure how this is supposed to be faster AND cheaper.
Posted on Reply
#5
RejZoR
In the past, EVO featured slightly less powerful SSD controller. The rest was the same. Also SM9x1 were generally meant for OEMs and were a step lower than EVO.
Posted on Reply
#6
Chaitanya
Dj-ElectriC
It was just a question of time for an answer to the unbeatably cheap intel 600p drives. Well. There it is
Samsung letting Intel having their time of glory before running it into ground.
Posted on Reply
#7
Prima.Vera
Octopuss
I don't understand - are these already being sold under a different name?

P.S. What's the difference between Pro and EVO again? I'm not sure how this is supposed to be faster AND cheaper.
MLC vs TLC ?
Posted on Reply
#8
RejZoR
Pro and EVO from the past used same NAND (which was usually the V-NAND). I'm talking same series here, 850 Pro and 850 EVO. It's possible they will change this.
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#9
bug
RejZoR
In the past, EVO featured slightly less powerful SSD controller. The rest was the same. Also SM9x1 were generally meant for OEMs and were a step lower than EVO.
The same? Not really. EVO was always TLC and Pro was MLC. Huge difference right there.
Posted on Reply
#10
RejZoR
I meant same technology. V-NAND TLC is still significantly better than any traditional TLC NAND, mostly because it takes longer to eat away the semiconductor with the writes.
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#11
Tsukiyomi91
all these puns & jokes about Polaris... knew some of u guys will do it as soon as this news made headlines here in TPU...
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#12
Legacy-ZA
The problem still remains; they are too small storage wise and too expensive... Look at all the new games releasing these days, 50GB, this 50GB that, etc. If you are using a 250GB one... that is pretty much 4x new games you can store to play when the mood hits you.
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#13
dont whant to set it"'
@Legacy-ZA ,only if one views it as a problem.
Frankly if the lower capacity ones can get close to advertised specs in practice, it would make a good medium for dedicated page file/swap/etc drive, with respect to store/clear cycles wich might factor a lot considering.
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#14
$ReaPeR$
will they be able to function in read-only mode when they eventually fail?
Posted on Reply
#15
Dethroy
Wonder how the price will stack up against the SM961, which I was originally planning on buying.
Dj-ElectriC
It was just a question of time for an answer to the unbeatably cheap intel 600p drives. Well. There it is
Samsung SM961 512GB = 198€
vs
Intel 600P 512GB = 195€

→ The SM961 is the much better bargain.
Posted on Reply
#16
Legacy-ZA
dont whant to set it"'
@Legacy-ZA ,only if one views it as a problem.
Frankly if the lower capacity ones can get close to advertised specs in practice, it would make a good medium for dedicated page file/swap/etc drive, with respect to store/clear cycles wich might factor a lot considering.
I already use one as a system drive / page file, though it does speed up the process of loading these large games, it still takes ages to load. Getting another SSD drive of equal size and swapping out games by downloading what you need at the time won't help me either, for various reasons like:
  • Not everyone lives in a first world country where you can download these games in less than 10 minutes. because they have 100Mbps / 1Gbps Fibre connections.
  • Simply; it's annoying to swap between games, hell, sometimes I play FPS games like Overwatch, Battlefield, CSS, after that, maybe World of Warcraft to chill after a FPS shooter and other single player games. I really don't want to download something first that I have decided to play on a whim. It's easier to download everything on large storage space and click "Play" when I want to play a said game. This point and above go hand in hand and can make it extremely annoying if circumstances don't allow it.
  • Swapping large data/games around like this will kill your drive in no time flat, don't pass the 5 year warranty mark (in my case) and don't get to collect a new drive.
It makes a massive difference between load times when it comes to larger games if you are using both a SSD for a system/page file drive and a dedicated SSD game drive. My problem is; after all this time we have had the technology, the $/GB has remained ridiculous. Data size keeps increasing but we are being limited by these idiotic things and it's come to a point for me where it's absurd and annoying.
Posted on Reply
#17
RejZoR
$ReaPeR$
will they be able to function in read-only mode when they eventually fail?
I have yet to hear about such drive. I really don't understand what moron designed them to brick themselves after power cycling. How in hell would you know it's the drive that went into that state? First thing most users do when things don't work is restart the system. It's just calling for disaster.
Windows should simply say the drive is operating in read-only mode and all the changes needed for operation of the OS are being stored in memory. This way you could still copy data off the system to other drive and then throw it away. With power cycle bricking (which is what 100% of drives does at the moment afaik) it's just useless.
Posted on Reply
#18
bug
Legacy-ZA
I already use one as a system drive / page file, though it does speed up the process of loading these large games, it still takes ages to load. Getting another SSD drive of equal size and swapping out games by downloading what you need at the time won't help me either, for various reasons like:
  • Not everyone lives in a first world country where you can download these games in less than 10 minutes. because they have 100Mbps / 1Gbps Fibre connections.
  • Simply; it's annoying to swap between games, hell, sometimes I play FPS games like Overwatch, Battlefield, CSS, after that, maybe World of Warcraft to chill after a FPS shooter and other single player games. I really don't want to download something first that I have decided to play on a whim. It's easier to download everything on large storage space and click "Play" when I want to play a said game. This point and above go hand in hand and can make it extremely annoying if circumstances don't allow it.
  • Swapping large data/games around like this will kill your drive in no time flat, don't pass the 5 year warranty mark (in my case) and don't get to collect a new drive.
It makes a massive difference between load times when it comes to larger games if you are using both a SSD for a system/page file drive and a dedicated SSD game drive. My problem is; after all this time we have had the technology, the $/GB has remained ridiculous. Data size keeps increasing but we are being limited by these idiotic things and it's come to a point for me where it's absurd and annoying.
More to the point, if I'm paying $200+ for storage, I don't expect having to deal with drawbacks ;)
Posted on Reply
#19
hojnikb
RejZoR
I have yet to hear about such drive. I really don't understand what moron designed them to brick themselves after power cycling. How in hell would you know it's the drive that went into that state? First thing most users do when things don't work is restart the system. It's just calling for disaster.
Windows should simply say the drive is operating in read-only mode and all the changes needed for operation of the OS are being stored in memory. This way you could still copy data off the system to other drive and then throw it away. With power cycle bricking (which is what 100% of drives does at the moment afaik) it's just useless.
Intel sandforce drives do that.
Posted on Reply
#20
RejZoR
You sure? Do you have any reviews or tests where they reached such situation practically and not just in theory?
Posted on Reply
#21
hojnikb
RejZoR
I meant same technology. V-NAND TLC is still significantly better than any traditional TLC NAND, mostly because it takes longer to eat away the semiconductor with the writes.
It's not really the material that gets eaten away, but rather charges stay trapped inside the cells, which means they can't be reliably programmed anymore.
And all of that tlc and ~500 cycles before cells die is complete bullshit. SLC cells are made the same way as TLC (just different way of interpreting the data inside the cell). The issue here is, that after 500-1000 rewrites, cell is not reliable enough to accurately store the charge, needed for 3 bit per cell. Such cell could operate in MLC or SLC mode just fine for quite some time.
Posted on Reply
#23
Legacy-ZA
bug
More to the point, if I'm paying $200+ for storage, I don't expect having to deal with drawbacks ;)
Funnily enough; Intel's X-Point drives were supposed to be the ones to deliver just this; read/write as much as you want and at extremely fast speeds while being more affordable than the current tech. Just like they said on their document, I even saved a copy so I can rub it in at the appropriate time when they start releasing it. Unfortunetly though, the other day I saw an update on the tech... now it's magically more expensive than current tech. lol? I was really hoping they are going to pull another Sandy Bridge on us, remarkable speed, reliability and at a good price point. I guess that dream just died.
Posted on Reply
#25
Breit
Octopuss
I don't understand - are these already being sold under a different name?

P.S. What's the difference between Pro and EVO again? I'm not sure how this is supposed to be faster AND cheaper.
They are comparing this 960 EVO to the previous generation 950 Pro. so don't get confused by that. There will also be a 960 Pro someday.

The "Pro" drives from Samsung (or in the OEM naming scheme, the SM*** drives) are more or less the same in performance to the EVO series (or PM*** for the OEM variants), maybe a tad faster but not by much. BUT they usually have a much higher endurance (total bytes written to the drive before it wears out) due to better flash chips and as such do often come with a much longer warranty period. This warranty thing usually don't apply to the OEM drives of course.

The 850Pro for instance has 10 years warranty, wheras the 850Evo only has 5 years. For the 950Pro it also was only 5 years, but this was probably because there never was a 950Evo released.
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