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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  • BMNify - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    "They still do[es] not have one for PCIe-based Macs"
    so, just get the pci-e card above and use that or even a generic pcie to pci converter and you can install them in your PPC mac, and other systems too, weather they would be accessible booting anything other than a linux PPC distro is another matter OC
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Macs with PCIe-based SSD's, obviously you could run a discrete PCIe-card (SSD) in a Mac Pro (but that would be SATA/RAID-based not PCIe). PCIe AHCI-based SSD's are only available directly from Apple and made by Samsung and Sandisk, and is only used in recent MBAir, MBP 13/15 and new Mac Pro as well as recent iMacs. There are no third party solutions yet. For previous generations there are solutions and before their own SATA-card SSD they used 2.5-inch drives everywhere except in the Airs. For the 2008/2009 MBA with 1.8-inch drives there are solutions available too. At PowerPC based macs you have either SATA or IDE natively. They just haven't figured out how to produce a PCIe-based SSD for the Macs yet. Over at OWC or anywhere else. Reply
  • RamCity - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Just in case this part was missed in the review here, the XP941 is widely compatible (when installed with an adapter) in the pre-2013 Mac Pro's - all the way back to the 2006/2007 models. The Barefeats.com review is worth a look if you want more information.

    http://barefeats.com/hard183.html
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    The thing I was referring too is that it's not compatible and neither has any compatible modules been made yet for the PCIe-based SSD's of the newer Macs. While earlier SATA-based Apple-custom cards had third party solutions that worked. XP941 is obviously used with a early 2009 Mac Pro with boot-support in the review. So we have number right here. PPC-based systems wouldn't boot it however, even if you might get a Linux-system to recognize it. Which is so far off topic that it's incredible. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Obviously when they have figured out the new connector from Apple the PCIe based controllers should run fine over there on third party cards. Now they just don't exist yet. Like for the thread starters MacBook Pro. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    And a early 2013 MBP with SATA-based SSD can use after market SSD's, but not the ones with PCIe yet. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    256GB SSD, about $100. This one is over $300. Increased speed is nice, but it doesn't matter until they can do it at a better price, closer to the SATA prices the better.

    I'd be willing to be an early adopter at $200, but I couldn't recommend it to most people until it dropped to $100. I've only recently been able to start recommending SATA SSD's to normal people who don't obsess over every new computer tech.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Yeah.. at 3 times the price you'd be far better off using 2 or 3 regular SSDs in RAID - unless you don't have the space and SATA slots for that, like in a mobile workstation. Reply
  • Babar Javied - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Remember when SSDs first came out? they were expensive. But they steadily came down in price and I am sure this will too in due time. Keep in mind that this is new tech and bond to be expensive at first... hell, there is isn't even proper support for it yet. Reply
  • JoyTech - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    The benchmark tests only lists results for 512 GB version of Samsung SSD XP941. Are the results same for 256 GB and 128 GB? It is really confusing that this article and previous ones, don't provide those results! Reply

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