Samsung mass-produces laptop SSD with 2.1Gbps speeds

Samsung announced the industry's fastest SSD expansion card for ultrathin notebooks that boasts read speeds of up to 2.1Gbps.

At CES this week, Samsung announced it is mass producing a hyperfast SSD expansion card for ultrathin notebooks that boasts read speeds of up to 2.15Gbps.

The new SM951 SSD is the first mass-produced expansion card using the PCIe 3.0 x4 slot SSD specification.

Samsung's SM951 SSD uses 14-nanometer class MLC NAND flash. Along with PCIe 3.0, the gumstick-sized SSD also supports the PCIe 2.0 specification, making it backward compatible for many of today's ultraslim laptops.

Even using PCIe 2.0, the SSD is roughly three times faster than SSDs with the latest SATA 3.0 (6Gbps) interface and about 30% faster than Samsung's PCIe SSD predecessor, the XP941 model.

The new SSD's random read and write speeds reach up to 130,000 and 85,000 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second) respectively. It boasts sequential read speeds of 2,150MBps and write speeds of 1,550MBps.

The SM951 also supports the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) host controller interface, which enables even greater performance increases over past SSDs.

The SSD comes in an M.2 form factor, which is about one-seventh the size of a typical 2.5-in. laptop SSD. The M.2 form factor has four PCIe (PCI Express) lanes and one SATA 3.0 port.

The SM951 is the first SSD to adopt the L1.2 low power standby mode, which allows all high-speed circuits to be turned off when a PC is sleeping or in hibernation. Samsung claims that by using the L1.2 level of standby operation, the SM951's power consumption is drastically reduced - to under 2 milliwatts, or "about a 97% decrease from the 50mW consumed using an L1 state."

Also, it weighs approximately six grams. The drive's compactness is well suited for most notebook PC designs, freeing up space for other components including the battery. The SM951 lineup consists of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB SSDs.

NVMe, which was created specifically for SSDs, replaces the current AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) used in many computers today. AHCI was originally developed for host bus adapters (HBA) to connect the CPU's memory subsystem at a time when hard disk drives were the standard.

NVMe reduces by as much as one-third the CPU overhead and processing latency over AHCI.

For comparison, last year, Samsung announced the first Gen 2 PCIe x4 slot with 1,600MBps read and 1,350MBps write speeds. Earlier this week, Kingston unveiled its first PCIe SSD. That desktop SSD was based on the generation 2.0 PCI x4 interface and has read/write speeds of up to 1,400MBps and 1,000MBps, respectively.

"We are helping to accelerate growth of the ultra-slim notebook PC market with the introduction of this energy-efficient, high-speed PCIe SSD," Jeeho Baek, senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung, said in a statement.

"We will continue to introduce next-generation high-density SSDs with improved performance and increased differentiation, as we further strengthen our business competitiveness in global SSD market."

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