Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts
PROS (SM951 NVMe):
- Extremely good performance in a very small package.
- NVMe technology greatly reduces CPU overhead during high IOPS usage.
- M.2 form factor enables use in desktop systems with no other PCIe slots available.
- Power consumption is pushing it for such a small PCB with no heat sink.
- Availability is almost nonexistent at present.
Pricing and Availability:
- Good luck.
A quick note on compatibility. Booting from NVMe devices requires, at a minimum, UEFI BIOS with proper support for NVMe. All X99 and Z97 motherboards should have no problem booting an NVMe SSD, but support may be spotty for Z87/Z77/X79 systems.
The Samsung SM951 is an impressive little M.2 SSD, especially in its NVMe configuration, which sees great benefits from the new protocol. While it may not be faster than the ultimate top end speed of the Intel SSD 750, I believe it to be faster where it matters most. The better handling of IO's less than 4K in size helps with responsiveness in small file manipulations and other operations that are more likely to be encountered in consumer setups. We know the NVMe SM951 is coming to OEMs, but we would *really* like to see it in retail as well. It would also help if Samsung cleaned up the naming conventions for their OEM lines, as they are more than confusing. All of that aside, if you have a system capable of NVMe booting, and if you can find one, the Samsung NVMe SM951 looks to be a great SSD to have!
Why just Gold and not Editor's Choice? It's great, but you can't buy the thing!
I approach most of
I approach most of this from a gamer’s perspective. Of course, I wouldn’t expect night and day difference with a very high end SSD vs a normal SSD. But what about for something like running around Skyrim with a butt-ton of mods? Open world games, tons of things to load on the fly.
It could still be CPU bottlenecked though. Tom’s Hardware did an article a long time ago about SSD load in gaming. The guy used some sort of trace-based analysis tool from Intel to check if the reads from the SSD during game startup, level loading, and playtime are sequential or random, what size, and what queue depth. It’s very interesting and I think many gamers would like to see such an article.
I’m looking at all the graphs and frankly it doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t run file servers, I load a ton of maps.
Great review. I was hoping
Great review. I was hoping you could help out by comparing my workflow to which above benchmark best applies to me.
My apps use up to 29GBs of RAM where 1000s of 64k buffers are used as targets for various streams of audio stored on SSDs.
When I press a key on an 88 note keyboard/synth it goes 1st to the 64k buffer in RAM then a stream of audio follows.
Obviuosly random applies to the 64k RAM buffers and read to the streaming audio files.
Maybe the Workstation benchmark….?
Thanks again for a great source of comparisons on SSDs.
The X99 Sabertooth allow one
The X99 Sabertooth allow one to conceal their M.2 SSD completely under the Thermal Armor. Is that recommended given the heat output for SM951 NVMe?
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!
Have you heard about a 1TB
Have you heard about a 1TB version of the SM951 being release soon?
I’m using the SM951 ACHI in a
I’m using the SM951 ACHI in a m.2 to PCI x4 card that has a heatsink on it and is plugged into a x4 PCI-E slot on my x99 motherboard. I love it but I’m wondering if I managed to get my hands on one of the new NVME, would it fit into the same heatsink slot (the pins looks the same) or would I have to use the M.2 slot on the motherboard? I’m assuming either would work and just change to NVME in the BIOS.
Second, I have two Samsung 850 pros running in RAID 0 as my applications drive. Would I still be able to keep this in RAID while using NVME on the Asus x99 motherboard?
Hello, I’ve just been
Hello, I’ve just been comparing a 512GB 951 NVMe variant that I purchased yesterday with an existing 512GB 951 AHCI. Apparently it’s a sample rather than a production unit but I’m seeing fantastic read speeds but horrific write speeds. In my case I’m using with an Asus Z97i-plus with the latest BIOS. The board identifies the 951 and allows me to install windows (8.1 all latest updates)… so far so good. Unfortunately when I run speed tests against the NVMe variant I get 10 times slower write speeds compared to the AHCI 951.
CrystalDiskMark: AHCI variant (connected to PCIe 3.0 bus)
Seq Q32T1 – 1172MB/s read | 1043MB/s write
4k Q32T1 – 398MB/s read | 289MB/s write
Seq – 1052MB/s read | 900MB/s write
4k – 35MB/s read | 128MB/s write
CrystalDiskMark: NVMe variant (connected to PCIe 3.0 bus)
Seq Q32T1 – 2264MB/s read | 501MB/s write
4k Q32T1 – 563 MB/s read | 21 MB/s write
Seq – 1299 MB/s read | 170 MB/s write
4k – 54 MB/s read | 0.98 MB/s write
Blindingly fast read but horrifically slow write speeds.
I’ve also tested using the Z97i-plus’s M.2 slot. I see reduced read speeds due to the limited, 10Gbps, speed of the M.2 on this board but the same horrific write speeds.
Is there something that I might be doing wrong? Could this be a BIOS problem? A Windows NVMe driver problem?
That’s odd, but I believe
That's odd, but I believe Kristian from Anandtech had a similar issue with one of his samples. It was an actual defect I believe and they had to swap out his sample, IIRC.