Following up on Samsung’s earlier announcement on the 960 PRO and EVO SSDs, Samsung shared additional details on their new SSDs as well as some of their new underlying technologies powering them at the 2016 SSD Global Summit.


Samsung 960 Series SSDs

Samsung 960 PRO Performance Specs

As we saw previously in the announcement, the Samsung 960 PRO will feature 3 capacities 512GB, 1TB and 2TB. The drive will be powered by Samsung’s Polaris controller and 3rd Generation 2-bit MLC 3D V-NAND. It’ll also feature advanced packaging technology to reach its 2TB capacity which we discuss in detail later in the article.

Performance will be rated at up to 3,500/2,100 MB/s sequential reads/writes and 440,000/360,000 IOPS 4K random reads/writes. This is over 40% faster sequential read performance, 40% faster sequential write performance, 10% faster random read performance, and 200% faster random write performance compared to the Samsung 950 PRO.

Samsung 960 EVO Performance Specs

The Samsung 960 EVO will be available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB and 1TB. Like the Samsung 960 PRO, it’s using Samsung’s Polaris controller, but has 3rd Generation 3-bit MLC (TLC) 3D V-NAND.

It’s rated at 3,200/1,900 MB/s sequential reads/writes and 380,000/360,000 IOPS 4K random reads/writes. This is over 45% faster sequential read performance, 67% faster sequential write performance, 22% faster random read performance, and 253% faster random write performance compared to the 250GB Samsung 950 PRO.


In order to reach this level of performance, the drive now features new Intelligent Turbo Write. The new implementation of Turbo Write will now feature significantly larger SLC caches to the tune of 13GB for the 250GB model, 22GB for the 500GB model and a massive 42GB for the 1TB model.


Samsung 960 Series Warranty & Pricing


Warranty for the Samsung 960 PRO will be 5 years with an endurance rating of 400TBW for the 512GB model, 800TBW for the 1TB model and 1200TBW for the 2TB model. Warranty for the Samsung 960 EVO will be 100TBW for the 250GB model, 200TBW for the 500GB model and 400TBW for the 1TB model.


MSRP on the Samsung 960 PRO will be $329 for the 512GB model, $629 for the 1TB model and $1,299 for the 2TB model. MSRP on the Samsung 960 EVO will be $129 for the 250GB model, $249 for the 500GB model and $479 for the 1TB model.


Both drives will be available worldwide in October 2016.


Polaris Controller


In order to reach this new level of performance in the Samsung 960 PRO and EVO, Samsung will be utilizing their new Polaris controller. The new controller is a 5-core ARM based controller with four cores dedicated to flash operation and one core dedicated to host communication. Samsung claims that the new controller is significantly more powerful than previous 3-core designs and significantly reduces latency.


Thermal Management

Samsung also discussed improvements in the 960 series SSDs for reducing the impact of thermal issues. The first improvement they made was through power efficiency. From the 950 PRO to the 960 EVO and PRO, there will be approximately a 10% reduction of power consumption. As you’d expect, lower power consumption will reduce the amount of heat generated. The second improvement is the implementation of a heat spreading label. With the new 960 series SSDs, Samsung will add a layer of copper into the label which will help dissipate heat.

According to Samsung, these two heat reduction improvements will allow the 960 PRO to be used at full throttle for 95 seconds and the 960 EVO to be used at full throttle for 79 seconds before Dynamic Thermal Guard, is engaged. This is significantly better than the 950 PRO which saw thermal throttling at just 63 seconds. With the significantly faster read performance, this means the 960 PRO will be able to read up to 333GB and the 960 EVO will be able to read up to 253GB prior to throttling. This is around 2x more data read compared to the 950 PRO which throttled at 158GB.


Advanced Packaging Technology

For the Samsung 960 PRO, Samsung is also using a unique packaging technology in order to cram a whopping 2TB onto a single sided M.2 2280 form factor. Thanks to their complete vertical integration, Samsung is able to stack the DRAM die on top of the controller in a method called package on package. This then removes the need for a separate DRAM package on the PCB and allows Samsung to use a 4-landing design, which is essentially cramming 4x NAND packages on the PCB. With a 16-die stack on each package and 256Gb dies, this then allows for a 2TB capacity on the 960 PRO.


New Samsung Magician

Samsung is also updating their Magician software in a big way. The entire interface will now be redesigned for ease of use. Samsung is also adding several new features, the biggest of which are include Secure File Erase and Magic Vault.

Secure File Erase will allow users to erase single files securely similar how a full drive secure erase function works. Files will not only be removed from the mapping tables, but will also be deleted in the NAND flash. Magic Vault on the other hand will allow users to make a password protected volume which is hidden to the operating system. This will be useful to keep sensitive content safe.


With any luck, we’ll be getting the new drives in-house in a few weeks, so stay tuned for their reviews!