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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  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Is there currently any consumer software that can change these settings? Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    I use nvme-cli on Linux to manually test these settings, and there's a patch working its way toward a stable kernel release that will let supporting drives automatically make use of their various idle states. I'm not aware of any Windows tools that give the same degree of fine-grained control, but Intel's tools for enterprise SSDs and the 750 have some power management options. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    That would be nice. I'd love to be able to set my 950 pro to a max of, say 2 watt on battery, or set the maximum speed to sata III speed (on battery), if it meant better battery life, and enable full speed when on mains power. Reply
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Yeh I noted the thermal limits kicking in and I did wonder if there's any major benefit from hacking these things, putting on some thermal goop, a big heat sink and a fan. Obviously it'll probably not help in the majority of cases but the mentalist part of me was pondering just how much performance there is to be unlocked. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    The fan would be a bit of overkill, but the 950 pro showed some gains with a passive heatsink installed. The 960 would probably benefit even more. Reply
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - link

    Time to break out the liquid nitrogen. If anyone at work asks where it has all gone I'll just say I was remove the mother of all warts from a patient. Reply
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - link

    *removing. Bloody spelling. Reply
  • nagi603 - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    A shame they dropped the write endurance to half of the 950! Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    TLC vs MLC Reply
  • bull2760 - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Why do you not show consistent results. In some tests you include the Intel 750 and on other you exclude it in the graph. You excluded the Intel 750 in the power consumption both times. Are you not able to calculate the power being used when the Intel drive is being used? Reply

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