Samsung 960 Pro 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD Review

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Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities 1.1.0

Along with the move to a new platform, we decided to make a change in one of the benchmarks. There’s a relatively new benchmark called Anvil Storage Utilities that is in beta but close to production. It’s a very powerful tool that measures performance through a variety of tests which can be customized. Since some of the tests more or less duplicate what we get from other benchmarks we use already, we decided to use the IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) testing on 4kb file sizes at a queue depth of 4, 16, and 32. IOPS performance is something SSD makers tout quite a bit but we generally don’t do a lot of IOPS testing because frankly a lot of users can’t relate to IOPS metrics as well and it tends to be more meaningful to the enterprise/server crowd. Still, it is another performance indicator with relevance and while some drives post good MB/s numbers, their IOPS scores aren’t always commensurate which this test will prove out.

Anvil SSD Benchmark with 100% Compression (incompressible data):

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Benchmark Results: The Anvil SSD Benchmark showed that with 100% compression (incompressible data) the Samsung SSD 960 Pro 2TB drive scored 6,579 points with the stock Windows 10 Anniversary Edition NVMe driver and 15,338 points with Samsung NVMe Driver version 1.1. This is just to show you the difference a storage driver can make! The concern we have is what Samsung told us when we asked for a driver for this drive: 

“The new Magician software and NVMe driver will be available in mid-November. However, please note the new driver is not performance based, but is for functional use. If testing the 960 PRO under Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 OS environment which natively support NVMe SSDs, you will be able to test the 960 PRO without needing to install any NVMe SSD driver files.”

They say no driver is needed, but clearly it makes a huge difference in this test and other benchmarks like ASSSD and PCMark 8, so we left them installed for our testing here. We can’t wait to see how the new Samsung NVMe driver performs that is coming in November as it will certainly outperform Microsoft’s standard NVMe driver that comes in Windows 10.

Anvil SSD Applications Benchmark at 46% Compression:

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Benchmark Results: With the compression at 46% to help mimic real world applications better we found the overall score dropped by about 100 points and that is well within the margin of error for a general run. 

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Benchmark Results: We used Anvil to check the 4K QD32 Random Read performance and found we we topped out at 453,300 IOPS. The Samsung 960 Pro 2TB performs very close to that of the Samsung 950 Pro 512GB drive that we looked at last year up until about a QD of 8 and then the 960 Pro takes off. The Samsung XP941 PCIe drive doesn’t support NVMe and you can see how that AHCI drive had much lower IOPS at each QD. 

Anvil Write Performance

Benchmark Results: When it came to 4K Random Write performance we found that the 950 Pro 512GB drive and the 960 Pro 2TB drive were basically the same at a QD of 1, but beyond that the SSD 960 Pro was blew the 950 Pro and XP941 drivers out of the water. It’s amazing how much Samsung has been able to improve performance from the XP941 that came out in 2014 to the 950 Pro that hit the market in 2015 and now the 960 Pro that is coming out today. Samsung has really done some magic when it comes to the three generations of M.2 PCIe SSDs that they have released! 

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