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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  • hulu - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Second page of review, fourth paragraph, states they were only able to aquire the 512 GB version, since as an OEM product Samsung isn't sampling the drive to media.

    Always helps if you read the entire story before commenting!
    Reply
  • JoyTech - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    In that case, the reviewer better leave out the 128 & 256 GB out or mention the exclusions on first page, not 2nd page, 4th para; a good reviewer should make it easy for readers to access info, not act as lawyers and read the fine print!

    Also, I forgot to mention that their SSD bench marks have same problem (http://anandtech.com/bench/SSD/730), where they leave out Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250 GB, which is perhaps the best selling SSD in the market now. Very few people give a crap about 1 TB products, which is so proudly displayed in the bench!
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    The first page is just an introduction with no mention of the XP941 anyway. It wouldn't have fit the context there and in the end I at least like to think that the reader reads the whole review and not just a paragraph or two. It's rather hard to write something for a reader who reads a part here and part there.

    As for the 250GB 840 EVO, it is in the bench but we haven't run Storage Bench 2013 on it. That's because the test itself takes around 24 hours to complete and with the strict review times we don't usually have the time to test all available capacities.
    Reply
  • critical_ - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Paradoxically, my problem with the M.2 form-factor is the number of sizes available to manufacturers. My Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet has a 2260 size 256GB SSD by Lite-On. There have been lots of firmware issues. The best thing would be to swap it out with a Samsung or Intel variant. However, there isn't much selection out there and 2260 is an oddball size. I'd like a 1TB mSATA SSD but it doesn't exist.

    Lenovo was smarter in this regard. Their Yoga 2 Pro uses the newer connector for the wireless card but the SSD is plain old mSATA. This allows me to pick from a variety of options without size concerns.

    I know I'm ranting and it is still early in the M.2 game but I hope manufacturers settle on providing high capcities in the 2242 and 2260 sizes with plates (like half mPCI-E to full mPCI-E) to allow them to fit in bigger slots.
    Reply
  • Babar Javied - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Getting a smaller drive to fit into the bigger slot is easy. As you said, this can/should be easy with the use of "plates" or "expansion cards". So give it some time and you should have lots of options for your device. Should the 2260 size still remain an oddball, you can always get a 2242 size with extensions to help it fit into the bigger slots Reply
  • dstarr3 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    All due respect to the awesome performance the new interface promises, I still feel like it's going to be a while before the 6Gbps bottleneck makes my computer feel frustratingly slow. Reply
  • darwinosx - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Read the benchmarks or ask someone who has been using PCIE SSD on a Mac for some time now. It's much faster and noticeable. Reply
  • Calista - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    But also highly depending on what you're doing. Maybe most people are accepting a slight drop in performance in exchange for less issues with compatibility and the option of moving the drive to a second machine down the line or mounting it in a usb cabinet. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    I have 2 issues with PCIe as a storage interface, at this point in time.

    First is that, for me, as a high-end gaming PC user, the number of PCIe lanes to the CPU is already limited. SATA lanes are not since I simply don't use that many storage devices. The second is cost. A few weeks ago I bought 2 480GB Sandisk Extreme II's for $300 each, and just saw them for $260 each listed on Newegg - so, for less than the cost of a 512GB XP941 I can get around twice the storage at similar speeds if I install using RAID 0 using current high-end SSD devices.

    Until Intel and/or AMD decides to provide more direct PCIe lanes and the cost comes down, PCIe SSDs are just an interesting upcoming technology, for me. :)
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    At least on an Intel platform, you wouldn't normally be using lanes from the CPU for a storage device (which are usually dedicated to graphics) - you'd be using lanes from the chipset (of which there are usually 8). Reply

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