Samsung has announced their new 950 PRO M.2 PCIe NVMe solid state drive, which is potentially great news if you are considering building a new system (or have a new enough system that has M.2 slots that support PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds)

According to the press release:

The 950 PRO will be available in 512 gigabyte (GB) and 256GB storage capacities. The 512GB version delivers sequential read/write speeds of up to 2,500 MB/s and 1,500 MB/s. Random read performance is up to 300,000 IOPS, with write speeds of up to 110,000 IOPS.

Both capacities come with a 5-year limited warranty up to 200 terabytes written (TBW) for the 256GB and 400TBW for the 512GB. The 950 PRO will be available beginning in October 2015, with an MSRP of $199.99 for the 256GB capacity and $349.99 for the 512GB capacity.

TheSSDReview has a good story about this drive here.

In case you are wondering, NVMe or NVM Express (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is an optimized, high performance, scalable host controller interface with a streamlined register interface and command set designed for enterprise and client systems that use PCIe SSDs. It typically offers much better performance than the legacy AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) interface used by some PCIe solid state drives (and all SATA solid state drives). You can read more about NVM Express here.

I am getting close to buying the parts for a new Z170-based, Core i7-6700K desktop system to replace my current Z77-based Core i7-3770K system that I built in early 2012. I am going to be using an ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ motherboard for this new system, mainly because all of the I/O capacity that it offers, including four PCIe 3.1 x16 slots, and three “Ultra” M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots. It also has ten SATA 3 ports, three SATA Express ports, and USB 3.1 Type A and C support.

Even with the new Z170 chipset, you won’t be able to use all of this I/O capacity, since you only have 26 high-speed I/O lanes available, but you should be able to put three Samsung 950 PRO M.2 drives into the three available slots on this motherboard.

 

 

Figure 1: ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ Motherboard

If you want to be able to use one of these very fast M.2 solid state drives, you will need to make sure that your system has an M.2 slot that is also long enough (80mm) to accommodate the card. You will also want your M.2 slot to support PCIe 3.0 x4 (meaning four lanes), which is sometimes called “Ultra M.2”.