An NVMeaningful Upgrade? Samsung 960 Evo Review

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the latest in Samsung’s SSD technology (and the latest in Dan’s questionable purchasing decisions): the Samsung 960 Evo.

 

Haunted by my dwindling storage reserves on my 256GB drive and a desire to test the latest NVMe speeds, I decided to pick up a 500GB variant of everyone’s favourite Korean company’s new shining star.

 

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Using Samsung’s 48-layer TLC V-NAND technology, this particular version of the 960 Evo comes rated at a 3200 MB/s sequential read and a 1900 MB/s sequential write, with a 380k IOPS read and 360K IOPS write on the 4KB random QD32 side.

 

Coming in on the M.2-2280 form factor, this thing is tiny – coming in at 80.15mm x 22.15mm x 2.38mm according to Samsung. I must say one of the benefits to using an M.2 SSD is the ease of deployment. Gone are the days of mounting a 2.5” drive to a drive cage and running cables to it. Now, you can simply screw the little bugger directly into your motherboard with the single, solitary, tiny M.2 screw included with your motherbo-and oh crap I dropped it into my case fan.

 

 

After a couple minutes of fishing with a magnetic-tipped screwdriver, I was back on track and ready to slam face first into the next obstacle – making my M.2 drive bootable. Some motherboards are a bit finicky about booting from an NVMe SSD (if they support it at all – be sure to check before purchasing). You can set your BIOS to CSM (Compatibility Support Mode) and set your PCI-E configuration to EFI if you run into any trouble. For me, I merely had to tweak the configuration setting to “Solid State Drive” and away she went.

 

 

After the hurdles were cleared, though, reinstalling Windows 10 was a breeze…followed by an angry gale-force wind of uninstalling all the bloatware and disabling every.single.option for “helpful” spyware that Microsoft so lovingly includes with Windows 10. Thanks, Microsoft!

 

 

I immediately noticed incredibly fast boot times, even coming from a slightly older SSD. The PC now boots after POST in ~5 seconds, which translates to about 22 seconds from button press. Everything is snappy and up to snuff. Fantastic.

 

 

Now on to the real-world applications; this of course means gaming. Do you notice any real improvements in game performance or load times? Well, no, not really. This one is a subjective eye test of course, but I have not noticed any real change from an older SSD despite costing around $150 CAD more than Samsung’s consumer champion, the 850 Evo.

 

So in conclusion, is this worth the extra price tag? I’d have to say probably not. Unless you’re absolutely dead set on having the fastest tech, I’d stick with the cheaper 850. I would, however, recommend M.2 regardless (which retails for the same price on the 850), as I do like the convienience over the standard 2.5’’ drive.  I’ve heard they have had overheating problems in the past, but I have yet experience that.

 

With that said, do I love it? Yes, yes I do.

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