We reviewed Samsung's SM951 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD a little over a month ago and it ended up being clearly the fastest client-level SSD, beating its predecessor XP941 by a large margin. Our initial review sample was pulled from a Lenovo laptop as it was the only way to get early access to the drive, but RamCity just received its first batch last week and the drive is now available for purchase.

  128GB 256GB 512GB
Samsung SM951 (RamCity) $122 $242 $469
Samsung SM951 (Amazon) $160 $260 $510

EDIT: RamCity will also be selling the SM951 through Amazon and I just got the pricing details. With today's exchange rate it's actually cheaper to buy from RamCity's online store despite the shipping fees, although the downside is longer shipping time (about a week versus free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members). The SM951 isn't listed on Amazon yet, but the 128GB and 256GB versions will be up early next week once stock arrives to the US. 

Since RamCity is located in Australia, the shipping costs to US and other parts of the world are ~$18 with today's exchange rate. The pricing is comparable to the XP941 and overall pretty fair when taking the performance gains into account. As the SM951 is an OEM part, there's no official warranty on behalf of Samsung, but RamCity is giving the drive a three-year warranty.

Currently the 512GB model is out of stock, but RamCity should be receiving another 150 units next week and you're also able to pre-order one today. The 128GB and 256GB units are both in stock and available immediately. I'll also be getting the 'vanilla' versions that RamCity sells in for review as our initial sample has a Lenovo-specific firmware in it and I want to ensure that our scores represent an actual product that's available for purchase.

Additionally, you will likely need an M.2 to PCIe adapter because M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots are rather rare (most I've seen have been PCIe 2.0 x2). There are various adapters available online, but personally I've been using Lycom's DT-120 and can vouch for it as it hasn't given me any trouble. 

All in all, there are many PCIe SSD coming during this summer and some will undoubtedly be able to challenge the SM951, but for now it's one of the only PCIe SSDs available. Intel's SSD 750 is a serious contender especially for very intensive IO workloads, but if you're looking for 256GB or smaller drive the SM951 is the best option. 

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  • Laststop311 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    Amazing have been waiting for over half a year for this sucker. Putting my pre order in for 512GB NOW.
  • tyger11 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    Unfortunately no NVMe on this. :(
  • ATC9001 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    From what I've read NVMe doesn't add a huge performance gain for most client workloads. I could be off base though. Of course I'm sure some client/power users would surely benefit, but for most I think it's not a major issue right now.
  • makerofthegames - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    The main benefit of NVMe is the reduced latency and reduced CPU load. It's all well and good for a drive to hit massive I/O when nothing else is going on, but if your I/O starts bottlenecking on your CPU, something is clearly amiss.
  • tyger11 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    Quite possibly true, but I've not seen any head to head comparisons yet (mainly because the drives TO test this haven't been made available). If the SM951 can be made available at a noticeable discount compared to the Intel 750, then great, but the $1/GB price of the Intel seems show no big price advantage for the Samsung. We'll have to see what the prices stabilize at after regular availability, of course. The Intel needs to be made available in that 800GB capacity, though I think I'd be more than satisfied with the 400GB version for a boot drive. The 256GB SSD I have now is getting fairly tight, but 400GB would be ample for me.

    Now if regular 1TB SSD prices will come down, I can replace all my storage with SSD. That will be a very nice day. I noticed the Mushkin Reactor 1TB is down to about $350 at Newegg...
  • gattberserk - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    NVMe SM951 will be out in July 2015 earliest... Look out for model number: MZVPV512HDGL-00000

    The key is MZVPV which denote NVMe variant, while MZHPV denote AHCI variant
  • Jasmij - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    All MSI X99 Motherboards come with an Gen3 x4 M.2 slot.
  • Cygni - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    The standards mess for these SSDs is really turning into a pain. Really hope a single standard emerges sooner rather than later.
  • CaedenV - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    Honestly surprised that a 2.1GB/s SSD is coming out at under $1/GB. Still expensive... but for the availability and performance I honestly expected it to cost more out the gate and have the price fall over time as there is more availability.

    Stuff like this is really making me wonder what the use of a full tower is for a modern desktop. I mean 512GB is more than enough local storage (when paired with a NAS for bulk files), and with DDR4 it is going to be perfectly normal to have a 2 stick 32GB config for RAM... I mean, the biggest things in a computer anymore are the GPU, PSU, and tower cooler on the CPU; everything else is getting down right tiny or integrated.
  • fokka - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    you still get the best bang for your buck, upgradabilty, expandability and absolute performance in a desktop form factor, so if those things are of interest, a desktop is still the way to go.

    that said, it's nice that you can get the highest end cnsumer drive even in a mobile form factor, but this has been more or less the case since we have SSDs.

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