How fast is the Samsung SSD 960 EVO 500 GB? (review)

A couple of months ago I replaced my home and lab servers with a single new server.  Because it’s a virtual host I wanted to ensure I had plenty of IO capacity to work with so this felt like a great time to put in/try a new NVMe based SSD (an SSD with a PCIe based interface rather than “old fashioned” SATA 6Gbps).

The “drive” (which the term betrays, they look more like a stick of RAM) that I ended up selecting was the new Samsung SSD 960 EVO 500GB.

Now I read the specs, and expected it to be quick, but being the skeptic that I am I doubted that it would really do what the label says.  We cant really be getting storage an order of magnitude faster than it was a few short years ago, right?  Doesn’t Moore’s Law also have some sort of upper limit???

At first I tried testing with my old standby, HD Tach, the problem is this tool is really dated and the results it kept giving me were all over the map.  Fortunately Samsung Magician has performance testing capabilities which I was able to leverage.  I have one test run that I saved the results from shortly after the OS (Windows Server 2016) was installed:

And 2 more from this week:

By comparison, I also have a RAID-1 array of new 4TB Samsung HDDs with a Marvell controller and here is what I get:

Note that HDDs shouldn’t normally get IO performance this high, my assumption here is that this is due to the RAID controller caching some of the requests.  Still, this is a couple order of magnitudes faster

Anyway, the results speak for themselves – if you need speedy storage then it might be time to upgrade from SATA to NVMe.


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