Samsung SM951 512GB M.2 Review
Published: 22nd April 2015 | Source: Samsung | Price: £102-£374 @QuietPC |
You wait years for a storage solution to annihilate all current technology and then a load of them arrive quickly. One of the coolest things about all hardware is that once the dam has been broken you can't stop the flood.
Samsung are well known for being the memory kings, producing the chips for nearly all the SSDs. Their 840 Pro and 850 Pro desktop solutions are amongst the fastest we'd tested.
We recently reviewed their 850 EVO, a M.2 drive that utilised the SATA method of connectivity. Today we're looking at their latest entrant into this rapidly growing sector, the SM951. An M.2 drive that utilises the PCI Express lanes to provide some searing speed. Now this in itself isn't earth shattering and certainly isnt an industry first but the strange thing is Samsung dont want you to know about it and have tried their utmost to make sure you cant buy it. We have known about the SM951 for sometime and in January went to the launch event for the 850 M.2 SATA drives in London, the only reason we went was to have a face to face with Samsung bosses to ask why the SM951 was so thin on the ground, their answer?
The SM951 is an Enterprise and OEM only product, we are just testing the water and we might possibly release one for the mass market at the end of 2015
It goes beyond this though because Samsung actually do not want these being sold in normal stores to the point we have heard they are actively trying to stop people getting hold of them to sell individually. Step in QuietPC, recently they have managed to get their hands on these drives in limited numbers, they literally cant get hold of them quick enough and by the time this review has finished you will see why.
Before we mentioned about PCIE3 lanes but rather than just bang out a bunch of tests that leave those of us without an X99 motherboard feeling rather left out we thought it would be worth looking at how the SM951 performs with regular PCI Express 2.0 (M.2 slot on a Z97 board) as well as the PCI Express 3.0 (with an add in card adapter) that truly unleashes all the power. So if you've had an eye on a PCI Express adaptor for the M.2 drives, this might be just the thing to entice you to splash out. Wondering why we have tested it twice? Well pretty much everything with an M.2 slot thats not X99 will be dropping into PCI Express 2 lanes, most of the Asus Z97 range (much like the rest of the market) will stop even the most blitzkrieg of SSD's at a ceiling of 800MB/s. X99 boards drop into 4 lanes of PCIE3 and this is also what a PCIE3 add in card will simulate, this give you a ceiling of 4000MB/s thus unleashing drives to their full potential. We have used an add in card for our PCIE3 tests today but please remember anyone with Z97 set ups with 2 cards, youre all out of fast lanes and its time to upgrade if you want a bit of this!
Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD
Intel Core i7-4790K
ASUS Z97A USB3.1
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Windows 7 x64