In these days,state drives are becoming increasingly prevalent in computers, with their superior data transfer speeds and higher resilience due to the absence of moving parts. Re-defining the top of this game is Samsung, recently unveiling their new 950 Pro SSD drive capable of a numbing 2,500MB/s sequential read and 1,500MB/s sequential write speed.
While these are theoretical numbers that aren’t at all indicative of typical real-world workloads, the numbers still are undeniably high–a startling 4x the read speed and 3x the write speed compared to their preceding 850 Pro generation.
This superior performance is attributed not so much to the actual NAND flash utilized but to the use of a new type of host controller–the sub-component that manages data transfer between the SSD drive and the host system. This drive uses a new generation controller called NVMe (NVM Express, or Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface).
Traditionally, hard drives and even SSD drives used the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) that was propounded by Intel back in 2004. This interface has proved to be a bottleneck in this era of storage data speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than before. NVMe is being touted as its replacement. It uses the computer’s PCI Express interface instead of the traditional SATA interface that the majority of today’s hard drives and even SSD drives use.
This drive will be available only in the M.2 form factor–one that resembles a stick of Wrigley’s chewing gum–to be used internally in devices like laptops and netbooks as a PCI expansion card. Unfortunately this drive will not be available in the more traditional 2.5-inch SATA form factor, making it inaccessible to computers not having an M.2 expansion slot.
The 950 Pro is slated to be available this October with prices for the 256GB version starting at $199.99, and the 512GB model at $349.99.