Final Words

I don't think there is any other way to say this other than to state that the XP941 is without a doubt the fastest consumer SSD in the market. It set records in almost all of our benchmarks and beat SATA 6Gbps drives by a substantial margin. It's not only faster than the SATA 6Gbps drives but it surpasses all other PCIe drives we have tested in the past, including OCZ's Z-Drive R4 with eight controllers in RAID 0. Given that we are dealing with a single PCIe 2.0 x4 controller, that is just awesome.

The only major problem in the XP941 is that it doesn't support booting in most Windows systems. If you are a Mac Pro owner, this issue doesn't concern you but for everyone else it's definitely a major drawback. Using an SSD as a secondary drive can make sense for e.g. a video professional where the performance can be utilized as a scratch disk, but otherwise the only real use case for an SSD is as a boot drive. There is hope that 9-series motherboards will bring better support for native PCIe booting but that remains to be seen.

The lack of proper TRIM support is also a minor concern but I'm willing to overlook that because the performance is just so great. I would also like to see hardware encryption support (TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667) and power loss protection but I understand that for an OEM product, these aren't necessary. Hopefully there will be retail versions of XP941 that address these items.

  120/128GB 240/256GB 480/512GB
Samsung SSD XP941 ~$229 ~$310 ~$569
Plextor M6e $180 $300 -
OCZ RevoDrive 350 - $530 $830

Note that the XP941 prices in the table above do not include the adapter or shipping. The adapter comes in at around $25 and RamCity charges $29 for shipping overseas, so you are looking at about $55 in addition to the drive itself. However, you don't have to pay the 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) when purchasing from overseas and I've already subtracted the GST from the listed prices in the table above. To summarize, the total cost with the adapter and shipping included ends up being about $283 for 128GB, $364 for 256GB and $623 for 512GB. In the end the exact pricing depends on the AUD to USD ratio and banks may also charge a bit if paying with foreign currencies.

In terms of pricing, the XP941 is a steal compared to the competition. The M6e is cheaper but it's also only PCIe 2.0 x2 design and can't offer the same level of performance as the XP941 can. Of course, ultimately two or three SATA 6Gbps SSDs in RAID 0 would be the cheapest route but with RAID 0 you run into other issues (such as increased risk of disk failure). For the average user, I'd still recommend a drive like Samsung SSD 840 EVO or Crucial M500/M550 but I can certainly see the enthusiast and professional crowd paying the premium for the XP941.

All in all, I can't wait for Samsung to release a retail version of the XP941. Right now the only problems are the limited availability and lack of boot support but once these are sorted out, the XP941 will be the king of the market. I'm guessing that we'll probably see something from Samsung at this year's Global SSD Summit, or at least I deeply hope so. We'd also like to see more competition from other SSD manufacturers, but until SandForce's SF3700 is ready to hit the market in the second half of 2014, there isn't a drive that can challenge the XP941.

Mac Benchmarks: QuickBench, AJA & Photoshop Installation
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  • RamCity - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    The Lycom M.2 to PCie adapter does a reasonable job with small form factor computers. It has a low-height bracket in addition to the standard height one. Note though, you can't boot the XP941 in any windows PC with one of these adapters as far as we know - it wont show up in the bios as a bootable device. Only in a 2006-2012 Mac Pro under OSX will it be bootable.

    Rod
    Reply
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Nice job anandtech... You detected what country i was reading this from and inserted appropriate text/prices? Great job. Appreciated. Reply
  • kizh - Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - link

    still running my sandy 2500k that did 4.8 reliably until I updated bios. I bought a z67 board that had a pcie 3.0 x 16 lane as an early adopter. The only thing worth upgrading on it was the graphics so bought a 780 (on accident thought it was a 780 ti) I spent about 24 hours of my time researching making it work on a early version of uefi and trying multiple set ups. Gonna send it back, its not worth upgrading my whole system for this.

    Never buying another feature that isn't being used yet, by the time its truly a standard your warranty is over and FU if it got tweaked a little.

    Got 2 M2 in raid, no trim ever bothered me. Its fast enough, don't need this. Maybe if a whole system upgrade was as fun as it used to be,

    Right now all I see waiting for is a 4k display port standard and some nicer models coming out. I want to throw money at these guys but not for next to nothing,

    I'm not rich by any measure but dumped money on tech as a hobbyist.
    Reply
  • kizh - Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - link

    oh just to clarify I know it would only be pcie 3.0 with ivy, I didn't expect that chip to be such a let down. Still this should have worked at pcie 2.0. Also when I say m2 I'm talking about the model name of my ssd's. not m.2

    just some clarifications
    Reply
  • sfgebrqy - Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - link

    I would have bought this in a heart-beat if it weren't for two things:
    1) Average/bad 4k random read/write
    2) Abysmal 4k scaling with QD

    The killer feature for this SSD is without a doubt its sequential performance. Compared to any single SSD alone, it blows it out of the water on the benches, whether

    practical or synthetic.

    The caveat is "single SSD". RAID 0 can always be used to boost sequentials. Maybe not exactly linearly, but close to linearly. Take a look at the review for 2 Samsung 840

    Pros in RAID 0 (page 3). I can't link (or even mention the website) it because the comment filter says its spam, so take a guess and use Google. Sequentials are nearly

    doubled for both read and write.

    The kicker is that this CANNOT be done for random I/O at low QD. Which is to say, if we wanted better random I/O from XP941s, we couldn't RAID them together to do it. In

    fact, RAID typically makes random I/O marginally worse at low QD due to overhead. See the aforementioned review (page 4).

    RAID does multiply random I/O at high QD, but with XP941 4k QD scaling non-existent to begin with, it's a lost cause.

    Even if we did want to RAID XP941s together, I can't seem to find any tests/reviews of more than two at once, let alone a RAID controller capable of putting more than two

    M.2 devices in RAID 0. Meanwhile, there are plenty of RAID controllers capable of pushing 16+ SATA3 devices (albeit bottlenecked at x8 PCIe 3.0).

    The bottom line is that if I found out that my current SATA3 SSD RAID 0 array wasn't putting out enough sequential, I could just add a few more SSDs to solve the issue. If I

    found out that my XP941 array wasn't putting out enough random I/O, there's nothing I could do to fix it.

    If you're in the market for single SSDs and your system can handle M.2, then this is the cream of the crop. If you have RAID arrays though, wait until M.2 becomes more

    popular and Samsung pushes a new M.2 SSD with better random I/O performance.
    Reply
  • skrewler2 - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    Sorry late to the party but this part of the article is just ignorant:

    "Using an SSD as a secondary drive can make sense for e.g. a video professional where the performance can be utilized as a scratch disk, but otherwise the only real use case for an SSD is as a boot drive"

    What the hell?
    Reply
  • aviv - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Hey gr8 review
    I got question about the graphs
    Its log systemic
    Does it means when its lower by 1/10 its just half of the value or
    In between its linar
    Reply
  • brentpresley - Thursday, July 3, 2014 - link

    ASUS just released a new BIOS today (7/3/2014) that allows for M.2 boot support of the XP941.

    I just installed it and the BIOS can see the XP941 in AHCI mode now.
    Reply
  • iBurley - Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - link

    If put into the M.2 slot of one of the ASRock Z97 boards mentioned in the review, will this be running at full speed, or would I need an adapter like you tested with to use the full potential of the drive?

    On ASRock's website, under the port listing for the board, it states "1 M.2 (PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA, Supports 30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, 110mm M.2 devices)" but I don't know if that just means the interface or if it would actually go over the PCIe bus instead of SATA.
    Reply
  • SERGE 2015 - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - link

    I have AsRock's Z97 Extreme6 and XP941 and it is unfortunately NOT bootable out of the box. As it's been mentioned - once the system boots up using another EFI source, the XP941 becomes visible and can then load whatever been installed on it. This is due to lack of OpROM on XP941. The new Samsung SM951 been declared as "Supports Standard AHCI driver" though. Reply

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