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Samsung’s new SSDs are super fast but still within the realm of affordability

Samsung is back with a new version of its PCIe-based 950 Pro SSDs with the announcement of new 960 Pro and 960 Evo models. Both drives feature 3D NAND (which Samsung refers to as V-NAND) to offer more storage capacity than a traditional 2D NAND methodology would allow. While companies like Intel are releasing their first batches of SDDs with the new technology this year, Samsung has been using 3D NAND for consumer hardware since the release of the popular 850 Pro and 850 Evo SSDs back in 2014.

Last year’s model, the 950 Pro, used 32-layer V-NAND technology from the 850 series of SATA SSDs, but replaced the older 2.5-inch SATA interface for the newer and smaller PCIe form factor. In 3D NAND, the number of layers is key to offering increased storage, and Samsung has managed to upgrade both this year’s 960 Pro and 960 Evo to using 48-layer V-NAND technology. Both 960 series drives are also the first consumer SSDs from Samsung to use the newer NVMe interface specification to achieve faster speeds.

The 960 Pro is the top-of-the-line consumer model, which uses faster and more reliable – but less memory dense and therefore more expensive – MLC (Multi Level Cell) memory, where each memory cell can contain 2 bits of charge. The 960 Evo, on the other hand, uses cheaper TLC (Triple Level Cell) technology, which divides each cell into three possible bits of data, at the expense of reliability and speed. But Samsung is touting even the budget 960 Evo models as faster than last year’s 950 Pro, with speeds of up to 3200 MB/s read and 1900 MB/s write, while the flagship 960 Pro can reach up to 3500 MB/s read and 2100 MB/s write.

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