17 PCI-Express SSDs round-up: the fastest SSDs

NVMe tested in many different flavours



In nearly every regard the new Samsung 960 Pro dominates. This goes for PCMark, the sequential transfer speed and the various professional tests that we run. For every use case the 960 Pro is the fastest SSD that you can purchase, although it is rather expensive: the average price per gigabyte approaches the 63 pence.

The SM961 is nearly as good in terms of performance, but does not have encryption and well functioning heat management. If the load is too high it does not throttle which means it gets too hot - in turn this might lead to the entire system crashing - and considering the OEM-nature of the product it is not to be expected that the problem will be solved. Therefore we cannot recommend this drive. 

For a long time the Intel 750 SSD was the fastest available product, while it became less interesting price-performance wise after the release of the Samsung 950 Pro. At the moment it loses out to the 960 Pro in nearly every benchmark. Even in the most professional tests, traditionally a strong point of this Intel SSD, the 960 Pro performs better. Aside from that the 960 Pro has the added advantage of a lower specified power consumption and significantly lower price per gigabyte. This means there are not a lot of reasons left to consider the Intel 750 SSD. 

The Samsung 960 Evo is positioned below the 960 Pro and the Intel 750 both in terms of price and performance, and is supposed to offer a good price-performance ratio. As with the previous Evo-series, the performance (mainly the write speed) increases with a bigger capacity, because this makes it possible to operate multiple cells in parallel. With the 1TB the write speed without buffer is 1200 MB/sec, compared with the somewhat disappointing 300 MB/sec for the 250GB model. This means that purchasing a model with a higher capacity partly solves the disadvantages of the slower TLC-memory. With an average price of 45 pence and 50 pence for the 1TB and 500GB models it is also about 14 pence per gigabyte cheaper than the 960 Pro. With the exception of the 600p it is also the cheapest SSD in the test. This makes the 960 Evo the best choice in terms of the price-performance ratio. 

Samsung dominates the PCIe-market with their 960-series SSDs.

The attempts of Corsair, Plextor, Toshiba and Zotac to enter this market are not very successful. Both in terms of price and performance they cannot distinguish themselves in a positive way compared with the Samsung-force. However, all these SSDs have the form of a PCI-Express x4 insertion card, which means that you can use these products even if you have a motherboard without an M.2-slot, without the need for a converter. 

The Intel 600p 512GB is one of the slowest SSDs in the test. This is mainly the case when it comes to writing: the read speed is not more than 1 GB/s. It also does not perform well in the professional tests and its PCMark scores are not fantastic. Nevertheless the low price makes sort of makes up for this. For an average price of less than 36 pence per gigabyte you purchase a drive that is faster than the Samsung 850 Pro in pretty much every regard, the fastest SATA600 SSD. The 600p can be interesting for laptops as well, because for about the same price as a SATA600 M.2 SSD you now purchase a drive that is a bit faster. The WD Black is more expensive but also slower. As such, we would definitely not recommend it. 

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