HP has announced a new high-end consumer NVMe SSD, the HP EX950. The EX950 is the successor to the very successful HP EX920, which for most of 2018 was one of the most affordable high-end NVMe SSDs on the market. The EX950 replaces the EX920's Silicon Motion SM2262 controller with the newer SM2262EN controller, bringing performance improvements to remain competitive in the new year.

HP EX950 Specifications
Capacity 512 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Controller Silicon Motion SM2262EN
NAND Flash Intel/Micron 64L 3D TLC
Form-Factor, Interface double-sided M.2 2280 PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3
Sequential Read 3500 MB/s 3500 MB/s 3500 MB/s
Sequential Write 2250 MB/s 2900 MB/s 2900 MB/s
Random Read 390k IOPS 410k IOPS 410k IOPS
Random Write 370k IOPS 370k IOPS 380k IOPS
Power Consumption Active 5.21 W 6.93 W 6.93 W
Idle 0.73 W 0.73 W 0.73 W
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 320 TB
0.34 DWPD
650 TB
0.36 DWPD
1400 TB
0.38 DWPD

The EX950 uses the same Intel/Micron 64-layer 3D TLC NAND as the EX920, so all of the performance improvements are the result of controller and firmware optimization. The most significant claimed improvements are to write speeds, with the 1TB model specced for over 60% improved sequential writes and almost 50% faster random writes. The 1TB and 2TB models have slightly more overprovisioning than the EX920 (1000GB usable instead of 1024GB), which should also help sustained write speeds a bit. The EX920 and other SM2262 drives already had the best random read performance of any TLC-based drives we've tested, so the more modest improvements there are not a problem. Sequential read performance improves from 3.2GB/s to 3.5GB/s, coming even closer to the limits of a PCIe 3 x4 host connection.

The EX950 line bumps up capacities, dropping the 256GB model and adding a 2TB model at the top. This is a trend we expect to see from many high-end NVMe product lines going forward, as 256GB drives don't have enough flash to keep a modern high-end controller busy. 256GB SSDs are still a fairly mainstream capacity, but those models cannot be advertised with the same extreme performance numbers.

HP has not yet announced when the EX950 is due to hit the shelves or what the pricing will be like, but our review samples have already arrived so the EX950 should be available for purchase soon. ADATA's SX8200 Pro based on the same SM2262EN hit the market in time for Black Friday and its prices have dropped a bit since release, so the EX950 will be facing very direct competition when it arrives.

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  • Scott_T - Wednesday, January 09, 2019 - link

    if you're going to come out with something new and high end why not make it pcie 4? Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Wednesday, January 09, 2019 - link

    The SM2262EN controller is just an incremental update to SM2262, which started shipping in SSDs in early 2018 but was finalized in 2017. SM2264 will support PCIe gen 4, but I'm not sure when it'll be going into mass production. We'll probably see prototypes at Computex. See https://www.anandtech.com/show/11764/silicon-motio... Reply
  • Firbfs - Wednesday, January 09, 2019 - link

    Current PCIe standards already far exceed the bandwidth of the peripherals. What would we gain from version 4? Reply
  • svan1971 - Wednesday, January 09, 2019 - link

    Peripherals yes M.2 drives will take advantage of the bandwidth when its available. Reply
  • FullmetalTitan - Thursday, January 10, 2019 - link

    Fewer lanes for the same throughput. If we could get 3500MB/s out of PCIe4x2 that means more free lanes for peripherals or storage. And we can kill the stupid PCIe lane count marketing wars between Intel and AMD because 28, or 40, or 62 lanes will all be overkill for most consumers if you need half the lanes to do the same transfer. Reply
  • woggs - Thursday, January 10, 2019 - link

    PCIe gen 3 is not saturated by these drives, so what would be the point? Reply
  • ElishaBentzi - Wednesday, January 09, 2019 - link

    Addlink have the nvme at similar speeds 1 tb at 192$
    https://www.amazon.com/addlink-Gen3x4-Solid-State-...
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, January 10, 2019 - link

    Those 4k numbers don't look great though, especially Q1. If you all need is sequential transfers and you are fine spending nearly $200 on a 3rd tier manufaturer (Taiwanese website hosted by wix?), then got for it. Reply
  • kensiko - Friday, January 11, 2019 - link

    You can already buy a drive with this controller: Adata XPG SX8200 Pro. Overall it kicks ass when empty, even againt's the mighty 970 pro. But it gets really really slow when filled. Reply
  • gglaw - Sunday, January 13, 2019 - link

    https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/8639/adata-xpg-s...

    this shows a ton of benchmarks done at 75% full and it performs quite well still. What percentage full are you seeing massive slowdowns? I have to non-pro 8200 in multipe systems and at 400/480 used there is absolutely no visible slow down. heavy workload benches might show some differences but for regular home use, I cannot tell any difference between a roughly 40 vs 80% filled drive. I use quite a few of these as my default builds too, most of my LAN room systems are running the HP EX920 and Adata 8200 480GB drives and no one who uses them can see any difference between these models and one system running an EVO 970 pro regardless of fill states.
    Reply

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