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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  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    I think they're trying to say the performance isn't great. Failing means we don't get to see the performance numbers. Reply
  • Dave Null - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    This is indeed frustrating. I was expecting the 960 Pro drives I preordered to arrive last week. Now Amazon is reporting January.

    Something major must have happened for Samsung to miss its release date so badly, but nobody is reporting it.
    Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    I went with the 600P 1TB instead.. had it for 2 weeks now.. I love it. Being M.2 I didn't buy it for heavy workloads anyway so it won't throttle. But if I needed performance I'd go with the Intel 750 instead of what I got. Reply
  • Phattio - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    my 960 Pro 512GB arrives today. ordered from best buy online. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, November 17, 2016 - link

    There is a simple explanation: NAND shortage. Reply
  • XabanakFanatik - Thursday, November 17, 2016 - link

    Of course! I'm glad you had an article about it. Oh, wait.

    I'm fairly certain that people need to know that despite your reviews coming out on time that they won't be able to buy the products for months.
    Reply
  • zanon - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Interesting to see the rate at which these continue to progress, and I'm glad Samsung continues to ramp performance aggressively. One thing I wish you could find some way to integrate is at least a summary of reliability features like how a drive handles power loss, and (depending on feasibility if you are mainly testing short-term loaners) maybe some followup a few months down the line with longer term performance/reliability observations. While Samsung has long been at or near the pinnacle of out-of-box raw performance, they've also had a history of playing a bit fast and loose with reliability and support, and I think that deserves some sort of recognition. I have a lot of Intel 730s that replaced or were chosen over Samsung drives of the time after a number of poor experiences with the long term usage 840 series for example, and while the 840s were superior in many respects on paper and Day 1, by Day 100+ and under stress they developed issues that were not immediately apparent.

    Also, a small typo on the final page, looks like at least one of the $/GB (the 750@1TB) isn't right.
    Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    I am working on some longer-term data and performance retention testing, but the amount of extra equipment that requires means not many drives will get that treatment. Unexpected power loss testing might be more feasible, but for the near future the testbed is too busy for me to add something like this to the routine.

    The Intel 750 doesn't fit conveniently in the price comparison chart because of its unusual capacities. The prices listed are for the 400GB and 1.2TB models, and the 800GB model isn't listed in the table.
    Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    Speaking of long-term data retention......
    If I had 2 SSD's, one unplugged and stored in a closet and one plugged in with power on but idle and unused, would the one plugged in retain data longer even though it is unused????
    Reply
  • patrickjp93 - Thursday, November 17, 2016 - link

    Yes. There is wear leveling and data refresh in modern SSDs (840/Evo being the exception with cell band drift) Reply

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