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Samsung 960 Evo review

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Awards

  • Editors choice

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Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Solid performance throughout
  • Good small-file write speeds
  • Far more affordable than 960 Pro

Cons

  • Shorter warranty period than high-end Pro

Key Features

  • 250GB, 500GB, 1TB available
  • M.2 form factor
  • 3-year warranty
  • 100TB, 200TB or 400TB data warranty
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £140.00

What is the Samsung 960 Evo 250GB?

Samsung’s SSD follow a familiar pattern. The Pro version of the drive offers the best performance and specifications, but it's accompanied by a breathtakingly high price.

Instead, it pays to wait for the Evo version of the drive. These usually feature slightly cut back performance levels but at a more palatable price. Note, however, that Samsung's slightly cut back specification will still translate to a supremely competitive product.

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Samsung 960 Evo 250GB – Design and Features

The 960 Evo is the latest drive to conform to that strategy. The biggest change here – and the biggest cost saving, I’d imagine – comes with the use of TLC NAND rather than 3D V-NAND. Samsung 960 Evo 6

This type of memory doesn’t use many of the breakthroughs seen in Samsung’s flagship drives, which means it’s slightly slower and can often use more power. It’s still 48-layered memory that comes in 256GB dies, which means each slab of silicon has twice the capacity of last year’s chips.

Samsung has tried to negate the inclusion of cheaper TLC memory by introducing a new process called Intelligent TurboWrite. This feature portions off part of the SSD and uses it like SLC memory, which is more resource-intensive than TLC but faster when writing files, at least initially

Depending on the capacity of the drive, the 960 Evo slices off a permanent partition of 4GB-6GB for its TurboWrite technology, with up to 36GB available to be used dynamically.

The NAND is different, but the 960 Evo’s controller remains the same as the 960 Pro. This means an upgrade from three cores to five, with one core devoted to host system communication. The 1TB drive is served by 1GB of memory, while the two smaller drives have 512MB of DDR3 – an ample amount.

In other areas, the 960 Evo has been cut back. There’s no 2TB drive, for instance – just 1TB, 500GB and 250GB capacities. The endurance ratings have taken a hit, too: those three capacities are rated for 400TB, 200TB and 100TB. They’re absolutely fine, but they’re lower than the 960 Pro, and also lower than the equivalent ratings on last year’s 950 Pro drives.

Samsung 960 Evo

Similarly, the warranty is a three-year deal. That’s fine, but Pro drives offer lengthier coverage.

On the plus side, the 960 Evo’s prices are far more palatable. The 250GB version that I’ve reviewed costs £140, the 500GB model is £279, and the 1TB drive is £470.

That puts the 960 Evo in competition with more affordable M.2 drives such as the 256GB version of the Toshiba OCZ RD400, which costs about £20 more than the 960 Evo. That’s far more reasonable an outlay than the 960 Pro, which didn’t have a 250GB model; its entry-level card is the 512GB version, which costs £350.

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Andrew

December 13, 2016, 1:03 pm

In the real world this drive almost seems to have no place, yet it will doubtlessly be the biggest selling Samsung SSD of years to come.

On one hand it's WAY more expensive than standard SSD's and offers absolutely ZERO speed advantage in any normal real world tasks. It won't boot windows faster, it won't load your games any faster.

On the other hand if you want the fastest solution for serious Database work, 4k video editing / capture or other Enterprises tasks you'd always buy the 960 Pro.

Bruce427

December 14, 2016, 9:09 pm

** ...yet it will doubtlessly be the biggest selling Samsung SSD for years to come. **

Not so sure; the 250GB EVO 960 is getting very poor marks on most Reviewer Websites (Tom's Hardware, TweakTown - where it failed to achieve even "recommended" status) and has been rated as just a little better than the Intel 600P series -- which are currently ranked as by far the poorest performing NVMe drives on the market (most reviewers are saying that a good SATA SSD performs better).

The five star review here is an anomaly.

When its SLC butter if full, the 250GB EVO 960 falls to well below SATA III speeds.

Moreover, the 250GB EVO 960 has exhibited exceptionally poor battery life in notebook use (far worse than the older 950 Pro series).

I was planning on purchasing a 256GB 960 Pro to replace a 950 Pro but Samsung decided to not offer a 256GB drive in the Pro series. So I looked at the 250GB EVO 960, but the reviews were so poor I decided against it.

I am currently waiting on the reviews of the 500GB EVO 960 to see if it fares any better. If not, I will likely go with another brand. I have already tried out a 240GB MyDigital BPX NVMe SSD that sells for only $114.99 and it significantly outperforms the 250GB EVO 960, plus it has MLC flash and four times the endurance rating.

So far, the new EVO 960 series has been disappointing in the under 1TB capacities.

Richard

March 2, 2017, 12:13 pm

Say what? TweakTown gave an effusive 98%.

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