Final Words

If the Samsung 960 Pro didn't exist and anybody other than Samsung released the 960 EVO, it would be a credible flagship product for today's SSD market. It is clearly faster than the Intel 750 everywhere that matters. It is on par with the OCZ RD400 on real-world workloads. It is generally slightly slower than last year's 950 Pro, but does improve on some of the 950's more acute weaknesses. It does all of this while being more power efficient under load, and the 960 EVO carries an MSRP that is lower than the current retail prices of other high-end PCIe SSDs.

Of course, the 960 Pro does in fact exist and is being released alongside the 960 EVO. It looks like the two product lines will occupy similar positions within the PCIe SSD market that the 850 Pro and 850 EVO have within the SATA SSD market. The 960 Pro will hold the indisputable performance crown, but the 960 EVO will be the more popular product. The EVOs are not low-end drives by price or performance, and while they may not be the most affordable mid-range options, they're solid performers that benefit greatly from using the same high-end SSD controllers as their Pro counterparts. Unlike Intel's 600p budget TLC PCIe SSD, the 960 EVO always manages to be a big upgrade over any SATA SSD.

  128GB 250-256GB 400-512GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 960 EVO (MSRP)   $129.88 (52¢/GB) $249.99 (50¢/GB) $479.99 (48¢/GB)  
Samsung 960 Pro (MSRP)     $329.99 (64¢/GB) $629.99 (62¢/GB) $1299.99 (63¢/GB)
Samsung 950 Pro   $185.50 (72¢/GB) $314.99 (62¢/GB)    
Toshiba OCZ RD400A $139.99 (109¢/GB) $215.16 (84¢/GB) $257.20 (50¢/GB) $729.99 (71¢/GB)  
Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 $119.99 (94¢/GB) $149.99 (59¢/GB) $299.98 (59¢/GB) $709.99 (69¢/GB)  
Intel SSD 600p $60.00 (47¢/GB) $94.45 (37¢/GB) $167.30 (33¢/GB) $380.54 (37¢/GB)  
Intel SSD 750     $319.99 (80¢/GB) $749.99 (62¢/GB)  
Plextor M8Pe $74.99 (59¢/GB) $114.99 (45¢/GB) $189.99 (37¢/GB) $414.99 (41¢/GB)  

The price and performance of the 960 EVO will make anything more expensive a very tough sell. The only advantage a drive like the the RD400 has is in its warranty period and endurance rating: the 960 EVO's three years and 0.3 DWPD are not exactly premium specifications, but neither are they low enough to cause much concern. The 960 Pro will offer a 2TB option and even higher performance, but those are expensive luxuries. The 960 EVO will be undercutting most of the PCIe SSD market with "good enough" performance.

The Plextor M8Pe is currently in the SSD testbed where we don't expect it to surpass the OCZ RD400 or Samsung 960 EVO, but matching their performance would likely make the M8Pe the clear favorite over the 960 EVO. The one thing holding back the 960 EVO from becoming the default product recommendation among PCIe SSDs is the fact that some MLC-based drives will be competing with the 960 EVO on price and may also come close in performance. 

ATTO, AS-SSD & Idle Power Consumption
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  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    The pci.e speed only matters if you move with huge chunks of data such as a high res video editing. For pretty much anything else it offers nothing over sata ssd's. Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    "The pci.e speed only matters if you move with huge chunks of data such as a high res video editing. For pretty much anything else it offers nothing over sata ssd's."

    In which case, you'd want something that won't throttle under heavy load like the Intel 750. Otherwise, the 600P makes more sense in M.2 form (if it remains cheaper than the 960 EVO).
    Reply
  • MajGenRelativity - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    While I agree that both SSD's are fantastic performers (I bought a 500GB 850 Evo), I don't think that your statement on buying other products is right. Some users cannot afford either, and a cheaper SSD would provide a nice uplift. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    The 860 EVO is selling around 20% more than the 850 EVO did at launch. Just because its NVMe doesn't mean Samsung can milk that much more out of it, the Intel 600p is NVMe and it cost almost half the price. And...Intel. I get that Samsung has improved tremendously in SSD reliability but many of us still have a sour butthole from the 840 TLC drives they never really fixed and honestly, we're comparing Porsches to Ferraris here. Nobody is going to notice the difference between these drives is day-to-day tasks. Reply
  • close - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    "And...Intel"
    Can't say I really agree with this "default" view since I happened to see the end-of-life behavior for some Intel SSD's. This was some years ago (4-5) so the experience might not be relevant now but for multiple SSDs when they got close to their end of life I just got a warning popup in Windows to back up my data. That's it. I foolishly made the assumption that I can just image the SSD to speed up the process only to realize after the reboot that the SSD controller just killed itself on shutdown.

    This isn't the kind of behavior you expect from any data storage medium. The explanation was that Intel was trying to avoid data loss from the drive just failing due to wear. And they chose to mitigate this by triggering data loss by design choice.

    While the price and performance may be good I still have to think twice (or more) when considering Intel SSDs.
    Reply
  • Phattio - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    @close: thank you for posting this. good to know! Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, November 17, 2016 - link

    Wow interesting I've come across dozens of X25-M's and lowest health I've seen was 77% in Intel SSD Toolbox and that was a 300GB SSD320 in an exchange server. The MDB was over 100GB Reply
  • Ascaris - Friday, December 16, 2016 - link

    Have to agree; that's completely unacceptable behavior. Samsung's 840 Pro (I think it was) went way, way beyond its rated life in the TechReport test (over 1 petabyte) before finally giving up the ghost. If the Intel in question bricked itself based on published ratings, it could have cut its useful life in half. I don't know if that's how it did it... a better way (that it could feasibly have also used) would be to issue the warning when most or all of the overprovisioned spare cells have been deployed to replace those that have worn out (which ought to be a sure sign that all of the cells are close to the edge because of wear leveling)... but if anything, it should go read-only, not brick itself. Reply
  • DrunkenDonkey - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Billy Tallis, can you make a QD1 comparison graph alongside the mix of 1,2,4? Because average end user pretty much only cares for 4k QD1, RR, the mixed stat is more niche and not indicative. Thanks. Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    Seconded. Reads like an ad otherwise. Reply

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