Samsung Launches 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

While Intel probably was the company that drew most headlines with their 750 SSD NVMe drive, Samsung’s SM951 NVMe SSD has been the go-to choice for a lot of enthusiasts. It convinced everyone with its M.2 form factor and great performance. Samsung is now ready to follow up on that drive with their brand new 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD is quite impressive, but there are some disappointments too, at least to begin with. Initially, the drive will be released in two capacities, 256GB and 512GB. These are currently the most wanted drive capacities when it comes to SSDs and as such it’s a logical choice. It is, however, a bit disappointing that there aren’t any larger drives available yet, especially after the recently revealed 2TB consumer SSDs. The second disappointment might follow right away for users that need other form factors than the 2280 as that is the only form factor that will be released initially.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 utilizes the same UBX controller as the SM951 does, but it uses the latest version of their own 3D V-NAND technology as well as having support for the Magician software. The 512GB model is rated for up to 2500MB/s read and 1500MB/s write as well as 300K IOPS at random reads and 110K at random writes. The 256GB model is a little slower, but not much. The 950 Pro also features 256-bit hardware encryption.

The Samsung 950 Pro drive is backed by a 5-year warranty and are expected to hit retail shelves on October 15th for an MSRP of $199.99 and £349.99 respectively. 1TB and 4TB versions are planned for next year sometime and will be built with the upcoming 48-layer V-NAND that will enter products later this year.

 

Thank You TomsHardware for providing us with this information

Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Crucial launched their MX200 series quite a while ago and you might remember our reviews of the 2.5-inch SATA3 models in the series. Crucial has now supplied us with this M.2 version of the drive and today I am giving it a good spin on our test bench to see if it can perform as good as the 2.5-inch versions did. The Crucial MX200 M.2 SSD that I’m taking a closer look at today is the 500GB version (CT500MX200SSD4), an impressive capacity considering the size and even more so considering the amount of chips used, but that is something you’ll see further into the review.

The MX100 series originally set new standards for SATA SSDs and Crucial continued that with the MX200. It boasts great features and a great performance, and it does all that are a very reasonable price. One of the features that help the MX200 push ahead of many competitors is the Dynamic Write Acceleration technology. It uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory for a consistent and fast performance rather than a fixed cache of multi-level cell flash.

The Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB drive is rated with a sequential speed of up to 550MB/s when reading and 500MB/s when writing. The random read performance is rated at 100K IOPS while the write performance has an impressive 87K IOPS. That is pretty sweet considering that we have a drive that’s only 22mm wide and 80mm long.

Crucial also made sure that the MX200 will survive for a very long time and it comes with a total bytes written (TBW) rating of 160TB. That equals to 87GB per day for a 5 year period, which should be more than sufficient and at that time you’ll want to upgrade with a more modern drive anyway. Sounds like a safe bet and a purchase where you can’t do much wrong.

Once we peel off the sticker, we see that this 500GB SSD only uses two NAND chips, one controller, and one RAM chip. Removing the sticker also removed most of the print on the NAND chips and it was almost impossible to take a photo where it was properly readable. The rear of the module isn’t used at all, which is what I referred to in the beginning. It’s all done with just two NAND chips.

This is the best I could do on the Micron NAND chips used on this drive. It isn’t the world’s best photo, but it appears to read 51C22 NW659 and the Micron logo is clearly visible.

The controller used is the Marvell 88SS9189-BLD2, a great choice for its features. You get AES 256-bit hardware encryption, it is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 compliant, and compatible with Microsoft’s eDrive. Other features include Power Loss and Adaptive Thermal Protection, Active Garbage Collection and TRIM support, ECC error checking code and SMART monitoring technology as well as Exclusive Data Defense.

Crucial backs the MX200 series with a 3-year limited warranty and the drive has a life expectancy of 1.5 million hours mean time before failure. The drive also comes bundled with Acronis True Image HD backup and cloning software.

Features

  • Hardware Encryption
    • AES 256-bit encryption
    • TCG Opal 2.0-compliant
    • IEEE-1667-compliant
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive
  • Data Transfer Software – Includes Acronis True Image HD software for free data transfer
  • Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN)
  • Exclusive Data Defense: Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection, and Data Path Protection
  • Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), Error Correction Code (ECC), TRIM Support, and Active Garbage Collection

Packaging

An M.2 2280 module doesn’t require much of a packaging at all and it comes in the same type blister package that we know from memory modules; and even that is large for this module. The front carries a sticker with the drive type and capacity while the rear displays the included Acronis True Image HD Software.

Inside the tiny box you’ll find the above-mentioned leaflet with the Acronis True Image HD Software Activation key, which can be downloaded from the internet, two screws in case you misplaced the ones from your motherboard or PCIe adapter card and naturally the M.2 Type 2280 500GB Crucial MX200 SSD.

Toshiba Unveils M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drives

Toshiba announced three new families of solid state drives that are fitted with high.speed PCIe interfaces that provide high.bandwidth point-to-point links with the processor and reduce system bottlenecks. That is thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol and they come for various systems. All versions are built with Toshiba’s own MLC NAND flash memory.

We’ve previously seen the PX4P family that is designed for server applications in its 2.5-inch form factor, but the M.2 drives are new. Most newer motherboards feature an M.2 connector and the drives are also used in netbooks and ultrabooks thanks to the small form factor.

The XG3 family is the one aimed at the broader audience and it is an impressive drive. It is an M.2 Type 2280 drive and comes with the industries highest capacity of up to 1TB. It supports up to four PCIe 3.1 lanes and a maximum bandwidth that is six times that of the SATA3 interface. There will also be a 2.5-inch SATA-Express version of this drive. The XG3 series is equipped with Toshiba’s QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error-correction technology and also features lower power state modes. It is also the first Toshiba product to support the Trusted Computing Group security specification, Pyrite (TCG Pyrite).

The second M.2 type drive that Toshiba Announced, is the BG1 SSD family, the world’s smallest NVMe SSD. It measures just 16 by 20 mm thanks to the M.2 Type 1620 form factor and will also be available as a Type 2230 removable module with up to 256GB capacity. This drive is designed for thin notebooks and 2-in1 systems that are naturally limited in physical space. The BG1 series also supports the TCG Pyrite and features the low power state modes that the larger XG3 family has.

Along with these information, we also learned that the PX04P series, with its incredible low 18 watts max power draw, also will be available as HHHL (half-height half-length) add-in card next to the SFF-8639 12Gbps connector. Samples of the new drives are expected in Q4 2015, so expect the actual drives sometime during the start of 2016.

Mushkin Launches New ATLAS VITAL Family of Solid-State Drives

Mushkin announced its latest addition to the ATLAS family of products, the new ATLAS VITAL M.2 2280 Series for Ultrabooks, notebooks, and small form-factor PCs. Atlas Vital is said to be suitable for mobile gamers, professionals, or general end-users looking to take their computing experience to the next level with solid state storage.

The drive comes in a quite a few capacity versions, but all in the M.2 2280 form factor. There will be 120GB, 140GB, 250GB, 480GB, and 500GB versions of this SandForce SF-2000 series based solid state drive. It seems like somewhat of a weird choice to go with a SandForce controller these days, as there are far better ones available. It isn’t a bad controller either and the Atlas Vital drive can perform sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 535MB/s while writing. The random 4K performance is rated up to 86K IOPS for low-latency and high throughput.

The Atlas Vital is aimed at the value-minded users looking to improve their experience over traditional hard drives and that also explains the choice of controller. It is a cheaper controller that allows Mushkin to create a better performing drive at a lower price, but at the costs of a few features.

Mushkin did not announce the availability or price of the drives yet, but those information are sure to follow very soon.

Plextor Releases All New V-Series Solid State Drive Series

Plextor already has some really great solid state drives in their line-up, they’ve proven that in every review we’ve done with their drives so far. The newest member has just been officially introduced and it is called the V series.

The Plextor V-series SSDs comes in three different form factors, the M6V standard 2.5-inch, the M6GV M.2 2280 NGFF SSD, and the M6MV mSATA SSD. The drives are built around SMI’s newest generation 2246 controllers and are packed with Toshiba’s 15nm Toggle NAND flash memory. This allows these value based drives to come with a very good performance and they’re capable of reaching up to 535MB/s at sequential reads and 455MB/s at sequential writes. Random performance is equally great with 83K IOPS reading and 80K IOPS writing.

The M6V is also compatible with the latest version of PlexTurbo, they intelligent caching software that can increase your performance with up to seven times while it also saves on your SSDs wear and tear and thereby lifetime. The dynamic RAM buffer will automatic detect hot and cold data and only keep the needed in your memory.

The V series SSDs also passed rigorous tests executed with Plextor’s strenuous SSD testing equipment. Professional simulations on actual read/write statuses were performed with several “Plextor endurance testing mechanisms” to ensure that the V series SSDs have a Mean Time Between Failures of 1.5 million hours and they come backed by a three-year warranty.

The Plextor V series is estimated to hit the market at the end of July, so that is any day now. The 2.5-inch 7mm M6V and the M6GV M.2 drive will be available as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions while the mSATA M6MV only comes as 128GB and 256GB versions. We should also have reviews of the Plextor V-series SSDs ready for you very soon.

Plextor Presents mSATA and M.2 Drives at Computex

Computex 2015 – When it comes to picking an SSD, mSATA isn’t the first connection type that comes to mind. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t relevant. Small form factor systems and notebooks often utilize this form factor and it is great to see more drives made for it.

Plextor brought along their M6MV mSATA SSD that is built around the SMI 2246 controller and with capacities of either 128GB or 256GB. The cache equals the capacity, just in MB and it helps to boost the speed up to 535 MB/s read and 335MB/s write. Random performance isn’t bad either with up to 83K IOPS.

The M6GV-2280 is the gum-stick shaped version and it is available all the way up to 512GB storage. The performance is similar to the mSATA with sequential performance up to 535MB/s and random IOPS up to 83K.

Last but not least we have the brand new M7e as an M.2 form factor drive. The M7e is a PCIe Gen 2 x4 drive with great performance up to 1400MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing just like the PCIe HHHL version.

Patriot Announces Ignite Series M2 SATA Solid-State Drive

Patriot Memory has launched a new version of their Ignite solid state drive, the Patriot Ignite M2 SSD with up to 480GB capacity. The M.2  form factor makes this drive perfect for ultrabooks, notebooks and ultra-compact PC’s, but they’re also great for high-end gaming PCs with onboard connector. The M.2 slot has at least 10Gb/s at its disposal allowing for impeccable start up times and instant access to data and installed programs.

The Patriot Ignite M2 is a standard gum stick shaped NGFF 2280 casefree module, making it compact and universally usable with almost any M2 capable device. The Ignite M2 can achieve sequential speeds up to 560MB/s while reading and 320MB/s writing and the 4KB random read and write ratings go up to 90 and 70K IOPS.

“We are happy to announce the Ignite M2 addition to our family of SSD products,” Said Les Henry, VP of Engineering at Patriot. “With the Ignite M2, Patriot now offers a full range of SSDs, from 2.5″ SATA 3, to mSATA and now M.2. The Ignite M2 drives are the perfect storage solution for those looking to build/upgrade their small form factor PCs.”

The drive is using MLC NAND, 256MB DRAM Cache per 240GB capacity, and it is powered by a Phison S10 controller. It’s using the SATA interface over the PCIe, but it makes the drive compatible with more devices. Windows Vista and newer as well as Linux are mentioned as supported operating systems. Feature wise it brings end-to-end data protection (ETEP), advanced wear-leveling, advanced Garbage collection, TRIM, NCQ, smartECC, and Smart Refresh.

Patriot is backing the drive with a three-year warranty and it’s also available as a 240GB model next to the 480GB. The MTBF is rated at 2 million hours.

The Ignite M2 SSD will be available at the beginning of May at select online and in-store retailers such as Fry’s Electronics, Amazon and Newegg for a starting MSRP of $109.99 for the 240GB model and $209.99 for the 480GB model.

Kingston Unveiled HyperX Predator PCIe SSD

Kingston has presented their new HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 Solid State Drive. The new SSD is based upon the Marvell 88SS9293 controller and comes as both a half-height half-length (HHHL) PCIe card and as bare M.2 2280 gum stick module.

The new PCIe SSD has some great figures with reading speeds up to 1.4 GB/sec, writing speeds up to 1 GB/sec, and will comes as 240 GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacity options. It also uses AHCI instead of NVM Express, making it bootable on standard desktop boards. NVMe still has some issues in this area.

The two small cards are coming February while the big one is announced for mid-2015. They will be backed by a three-year warranty and free technical support, but no word on pricing yet.

Thanks to Kingston for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Kingston

Kingston SSDnow M2 SATA 120GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Kingston has a long line of storage options for about every usage you could have. Today I’m taking a look at the SSDnow M.2 SATA Solid State Drive with a capacity of 120GB.

The M.2 modules are also known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) and these thin and compact modules save space in small and embedded systems, ultra-thin devices, or it will just fit snuggly into your motherboards M.2 slot in your desktop system. The caseless design allows easier integration as well as keeping the weight as low as possible; a big factor when used in Ultrabooks and similar devices.

The 2280 module (22mm width, 80mm length) supports advanced garbage collection, wear-levelling and TRIM to keep up the performance over the entire lifetime of the drive; so we should see very stable performance in our tests on the following pages. S.M.A.R.T. is also supported for peace of mind and health monitoring.

At the heart of the drive, we have the Phison PS3108-S8 controller and Kingston equipped this module with a 2GB Nanya NT5CB128M16HP-CG buffer. The NAND chips used are 32 GB Kingston FA32B08UCT1-BC and there are two located on each side of the module.

A drive designed for integrated and portable systems has to be energy-efficient as well. The Kingston M.2 SATA drive also features the DevSleep function that we see more and more drives incorporate. It is relative new to the SATA specifications and is an efficient power management option to minimise power consumption and extend battery life.

For the event that you’d ever run out of battery and your device shuts down unexpectedly, or maybe it just crashes, it features firmware-based power loss protection to maintain the data integrity. This allows the drive to recover in the event of an unsafe shutdown.

The Kingston M.2 SATA drive doesn’t stop there and also supports Intel’s SRT that can combine the capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration. Increased peace of mind is added by the free technical support and three-year warranty.