Sm961: Samsung SM961 SSD Review — Tom’s Hardware

Samsung SM961 SSD Review — Tom’s Hardware

Early Verdict

If I were to buy a new SSD for my notebook or desktop, it would be the SM961. I can’t give any greater praise than that. The drive leads the high-performance NVMe race in the price to capacity ratio and delivers the performance goods, too. The only real issue is waiting for stock to replenish. Get in line early if you want excellent NVMe performance at 50 cents per gigabyte.

Today’s best Samsung SM961 SSD deals

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Specifications, Pricing, Warranty And Accessories

Samsung informed the media last year that the 950 Pro would receive a capacity increase via its 3rd generation 48-layer MLC V-NAND. We believed the update would come last January, but CES came and went without a new 950 Pro. In the meantime, Samsung released the T3 Portable SSD and updated the larger capacity 850 EVO products with 48-layer TLC V-NAND, but the company remained silent about its MLC-based products. Now we know why.

Samsung’s SSI group recently started shipping the successor to the SM951 NVMe SSD (the 950 Pro’s OEM-equivalent) that captured our hearts in 2015. The OEM-specific SM961 features a new Polaris SSD controller and gets a NAND flash upgrade, as well. We currently know very little about the controller, but we should learn more in the coming weeks. The SM951 shipped with Samsung’s planar (2D) MLC flash and suffered an endurance disadvantage in comparison to the retail 950 Pro NVMe SSD, but that changes in this round because the SM961 shifts to the newest high-endurance 3D V-NAND that Samsung has to offer.

  • Samsung 950 Pro 256GB (256GB Download) at Newegg for $299.99

As mentioned, the SM961 is an OEM product. We first spotted what could have been the drive on Lenovo’s website last month. We keep an eye on two Lenovo notebook models, and suddenly the company offered storage upgrades under the generic name of 1TB SSD PCIe-NVMe. We inquired with Lenovo, but could not verify the mystery SSD. We know that Lenovo and Samsung have a close relationship, but the timing also fell in line with the Toshiba XG3 1TB release. We were poised to purchase a new X1 Carbon Gen 4 with the upgraded SSD option to investigate, but in the interim, we were informed that a pair of SM961s were on the way.

Technical Specifications

SM961 128GB

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SM961 256GB

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SM961 512GB

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Samsung released the SM961 in four capacity sizes that range from 128GB to 1024GB (1TB). RamCity, our partner for this review, only plans to carry the three largest capacity sizes. We tried, but failed, to secure a data sheet for this series. The United States division of Samsung Semiconductor does not have the data sheet or many details about the SM961 series, so the performance specifications (above) come from an event that Samsung held last March in Japan. Samsung didn’t divulge too many details at the event, but enough information leaked for us to build a chart.

Samsung’s new SSD controller, codenamed Polaris, is at the heart of the SM961. Some outlets have reported that the Polaris controller features five cores, but Samsung has not confirmed the core count. According to Samsung’s specifications, the SM961 offers significantly more performance in comparison to the 950 Pro retail NVMe SSD, so the controller has either more processing power by way of cores, clock speed, or both.

The SM961 is the first product to ship with Samsung’s new 48-layer multi-level cell (MLC) V-NAND. In the past, MLC density lagged behind TLC, but the two achieve parity at 256Gbit for the first time with Samsung’s 3rd generation V-NAND. Unfortunately, without a basic datasheet we do not know the endurance rating for the new OEM series.

The SM961 sports very high performance ratings; the 1TB model clocks in at 3,200 MB/s read and 1,800 MB/s sequential write speed, which eclipses every other retail NVMe SSD. In our testing, we surpassed Samsung’s 3,200 MB/s sequential read performance using a corner case test. The drive is capable of delivering up to 3,500 MB/s under ideal conditions, with the right software, when the stars align and the moon is full. The result is the highest we ever expect to achieve with a PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD.

Samsung spec’d random performance at 450,000 read and 320,000 write IOPS. There are a few snippets from a leaked datasheet, more specifically an image, that suggest the SM961 1TB provides up to 400,000 random write IOPS. We chose to publish the more realistic 320,000 IOPS. Samsung stated the specification in March and it has been verified through pictures published from the event. The Intel SSD 750 1.2TB offers an extra 10,000 random read IOPS, but it trails the SM961 in random write performance by 40,000 IOPS. That puts the SM961 squarely in the performance lead, but you shouldn’t expect to reach the high performance numbers under real-world use in your desktop or notebook.

AHCI, the underlying protocol for SATA, only supports one queue with 32 commands. SSD vendors generally test AHCI products with 32 commands and one worker to generate performance specifications. NVMe takes us back to the wild-wild west, and in contrast, it accepts up to 64,000 queues with up to 64,000 commands each. The SSD manufacturers test NVMe SSDs in their labs with multiple workers, and each worker issues multiple outstanding I/O requests. Some companies have tested with 4 workers with a queue depth of 4 per worker (16 Outstanding IO). Other companies search for the highest performance from several worker/queue depth combinations and simply report the best results. Unfortunately, you will not reach 450,000 IOPS under normal consumer workloads until Microsoft develops a file system that operates in a more efficient manner. It is possible to test products under artificial conditions, but we do not change our testing strategy just to highlight hero numbers with NVMe products.

We gave RAID 0 a shot with two Samsung SM961 SSDs, but quickly learned why OCZ put the brakes on users running the RD400 in a similar configuration. We encountered serious stability issues on an Intel Z170 chipset with two SM961 SSDs configured in RAID 0. With the array enabled, the system would blue screen within 45 seconds of booting and restart after a system dump. The issue seems to revolve around the Intel RST NVMe RAID driver, and OCZ found the driver issue to be so pronounced and problematic that the RD400 NVMe SSD shipped with a strong warning label on the retail package. We didn’t get a lot of time to look deeper into the issue with only 45 seconds to investigate before a system initiated restart. We did spend a solid six hours debugging every other component in the test system to eliminate our hardware as the cause. 

Samsung never released the 950 Pro at the 1TB capacity point, and we currently only have two SM961 1TB SSDs. We can do a more apples-to-apples comparison of the SM961 and the 950 Pro when the two other capacity sizes reach RamCity’s headquarters in mid-July. Samsung indicates that a 48-layer V-NAND package should lower power consumption by 40 percent in comparison to the 2nd generation 32-layer V-NAND package. The power savings comes from using half the die to achieve the same density, and when we have comparable capacity points we can put those claims to the test.

Pricing, Warranty, And Accessories

RamCity will offer the SM961 in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacity sizes. The 256GB sells for $159, the 512GB for $280 and the 1TB model we’re testing today retails for $512, which is very reasonable pricing for this series. All three SM961 capacity sizes are available for preorder. The website defaults to Australian Dollars (AUD) with a 10 percent VAT. You can select your local currency at checkout, which removes the VAT and adjusts for the currency exchange rate. The AUD is currently valued lower than the mighty US Dollar, which strongly favors US buyers. 

We’ve ordered products from RamCity dating back to the Samsung XP941 PCIe SSD. All of our shipments have arrived in three to four days (depending upon the time we placed the order). That is faster than ordering from Newegg in California and having the package delivered to my office in Indiana.

RamCity has offered several Samsung SSI products over the years, and it has built a worldwide customer base. The SM961 ships with a 3-year warranty from the company. RamCity is currently sold out of the SM961 in all three capacity sizes, but you can place a preorder and your drive will ship when new SSDs arrive. RamCity is transparent with delivery times, and the company has a regularly updated estimated arrival date listed for each capacity size on the order page. 

A Closer Look

Image 1 of 5

Surprisingly, Samsung reached the 1TB capacity size with just two NAND packages. This is our first look at 256Gbit MLC die in any product and the impressive density made a good first impression.

The increased die density allowed Samsung to design this product with all of the components on one side, which the M. 2 specification refers to as single-sided. It almost sounds trivial, but some new notebooks use a specific M.2 connector that is roughly a millimeter closer to the system motherboard. We’ve also seen notebooks with components under the space allocated for the M.2 SSD. In both cases, only a single sided M.2 SSD will fit into the space-constrained slots. They are very rare, but in time, we may see more single-sided specific notebooks. Desktop systems do not have the same issue. All of the desktop motherboards we’ve seen provide ample vertical height for double-sided M.2 SSDs.

MORE: Latest Storage News 
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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom’s Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.

OEM Drives Get a Boost

by Anton Shilovon March 23, 2016 10:00 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • Storage
  • SSDs
  • Samsung
  • PCIe SSD
  • V-NAND
  • M. 2
  • SM961
  • PM961



At Samsung’s annual SSD Forum Japan, the company has demonstrated two previously-unannounced high-performance client SSDs. The new SM961 and the PM961 drives are based on the company’s Polaris controller as well as V-NAND flash memory. Samsung promises that the SSDs will increase sequential read speeds to 3000 – 3200 MB/s and will also significantly boost random read and write performance. The drives are projected to ship inside PCs in the second half of the year, while it’s anyone’s guess if and when these will filter into retail (ala the 950 series).

The Journey Continues

Samsung is the world’s largest producer of NAND flash memory and SSDs. Moreover, it is also one of the companies, which raise the bar of SSD performance and feature-set. In the recent years, Samsung has been an instrumental driving force in popularization of PCIe and NVMe SSDs. Samsung’s XP941 was one of the first high-end PCIe M.2 SSDs aimed at OEMs and it greatly helped to promote the form-factor among PC makers in 2014. The SM951 SSDs significantly increased performance of flash storage sub-systems compared to its predecessor and introduced NVMe to numerous OEMs a year later. In fall 2015, the Samsung 950 Pro finally brought NVMe and performance of the SM951 to retail market.

When introduced, the XP941 and the SM951 were for their respective times Samsung’s top-of-the-range SSDs designed for OEMs and their flagship PCs. Last year, the company decided to alter its strategy regarding high-performance SSDs aimed at PC makers. Instead of offering just one lineup of fast PCIe drives, Samsung introduced its second family of advanced SSDs with lower price and TLC NAND — the PM951. While the latter drives were still rather fast, the price/performance trade-off meant that they were considerably behind the SM951 in terms of sequential read and write speeds. This year, the company plans to change its approach to OEM SSDs once again. Samsung will offer two product families with slightly different characteristics: the SM961 and the PM961. The new lineups will further raise performance bar of Samsung’s SSDs, but the PM961 is expected to make the new speed levels accessible to a broader audience. The tactics should help Samsung to increase its share of the premium SSD market.

Samsung SM961 and PM961: First to Use Polaris Controller

The new OEM SSD lineups from Samsung will be the company’s first standard high-end SSDs for PC makers, which use 3D/V-NAND memory. The new drives rely on the all-new Polaris platform and will come in M.2-2280 form-factor with PCIe 3.0 x4 interface while utilizing the NVMe protocol. Right now, the company is not revealing too many details about its new SSDs. For example, it is unknown whether they rely on Samsung’s third-gen 48-layer V-NAND or its second-gen 32-layer V-NAND. While using newer memory for new SSDs is logical, so far Samsung has not confirmed anything.

Samsung SM961 SSD. Image by PC Watch.

The Samsung SM961 will be Samsung’s new top-of-the-range M.2 SSD line for OEMs, which will be offered in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB configurations (by contrast, the SM951 family did not include a 1 TB option). The drive will be based on Samsung’s MLC V-NAND as well as the company’s Polaris controller. Samsung is specing the SM961 at up to 3200 MB/s for sequential reads and up to 1800 MB/s for sequential writes, but does not specify which models will boast with such numbers. The new SSDs can perform up to 450K random read IOPS as well as up to 400K random write IOPS, which looks more like performance of server-grade SSDs.

Samsung PM961 SSD. Image by PC Watch.

The Samsung PM961 will be based on the company’s TLC V-NAND flash and the Polaris controller. The PM961 lineup will consist of four models: with 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities (the PM951 also did not include a 1 TB model). The PM961 SSD supports sequential read speeds of up to 3000 MB/s as well as sequential write speeds of up to 1150 MB/s. Random read/write performance of the PM961 is up to 360K/280K of read/write IOPS, but Samsung does not specify exact models that offer such performance.

The PM961 should be more affordable than the SM961, but even with the use of TLC, according to Samsung’s specifications it should be only slightly slower than the flagship model when it comes to sequential read speeds (6% difference is negligible). Sequential write speeds should be lower compared to those offered by the SM951 and the 950 Pro, but should still be considerably higher than sequential write speed of its direct predecessor, the PM951. Moreover, the new PM961 should also be considerably faster in random read and write operations versus its ancestors, according to specifications released by Samsung.

It remains to be seen how the PM961 drive will behave in real-world applications versus enthusiast-class PCIe SSDs from other manufacturers. But its 3000 MB/s sequential read performance as well as very high random reads and writes should probably play positive roles here.

Samsung has not formally introduced the SM961 and the PM961 SSDs, but PC Watch reports that the company expects computer makers to use the new drives in the second half of the year. Moreover, since the SSDs demonstrated at the event already feature actual labels with all the certification stamps and even serial numbers, it looks like development of the storage devices is very close to its completion.

Samsung SSD Comparison
  SM961 PM961 950 Pro

512 GB
SM951-NVMe 512 GB (OEM) PM951-NVMe

512 GB (OEM)
850 Pro

512 GB
Form Factor M.2 2280 2.5″ SATA
Controller Samsung Polaris Samsung UBX unknown Samsung MEX
Interface PCIe 3. 0 x4 SATA III
Protocol NVMe AHCI
DRAM unknown 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB 512MB
NAND Samsung


Samsung V-NAND 32-layer 128Gbit MLC Samsung 16nm 64Gbit MLC Samsung TLC NAND flash Samsung V-NAND 32-layer 86Gbit MLC
Sequential Read 3200 MB/s 3000 MB/s 2500 MB/s 2150 MB/s 1050 MB/s 550 MB/s
Sequential Write 1800 MB/s 1150 MB/s 1500 MB/s 1550 MB/s 560 MB/s 520 MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD32) 450K IOPS 360K IOPS 300K IOPS 300K IOPS 250K IOPS 100K IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 400K IOPS 280K IOPS 110K IOPS 100K IOPS 144K IOPS 90K IOPS
Launch Date 2H 2016 October 2015 ~June 2015 2015 July 2014

Initially, Samsung will use its Polaris platform only for the drives intended for OEMs, but it is plausible to expect the company to utilize the same controllers for its retail SSDs eventually. As is usually the case, Samsung isn’t commenting on whether we’ll see retail Polaris drives in the future, though if 950 Pro is anything to go by, we wouldn’t be surprised. Nonetheless, keeping in mind how easy is to get both SM951 and PM951 SSDs from stores like Amazon and RamCity, it should not be a problem to obtain these new OEM SSDs from online stores as well.

Looking Ahead: PCIe 3.0 x4 May Become a New Performance Limiting Factor for SSDs

Looking at Samsung’s specifications, it’s interesting to note that the 3200 MB/s sequential read speed of the Samsung SM961 is very close to actual maximum bandwidth of the PCIe 3.0 x4 bus. A PCIe 3.0 connection supports transfer rates of 8 GT/s (GigaTransfers per second) per lane, for a total of 3.94 GB/sec for an x4 connection after factoring in overhead. As it appears, the bandwidth offered by four lanes of PCIe 3.0 — the maximum bus width supported by the M.2 standard — is close to being saturated by high-end client SSDs.

If this ends up being the case, then the SM961 may be Samsung’s fastest sequential transfer SSD for client PC applications for quite a while (i. e., until PCIe 4.0 arrives). Consequently, if the company plans to introduce its successors with the same PCIe 3.0 interface, it will have to improve other domains of SSD performance (e.g., performance in mixed workloads, endurance, power efficiency, etc.). Keeping in mind that Samsung’s retail 950 Pro SSDs were a little faster than the company’s SM951 despite using the same controller, it will be interesting to see how Samsung might differentiate its hypothetical enthusiast-oriented Polaris and MLC V-NAND-based SSD from its OEM offering (if such SSD is in the company’s plans at all, of course).

With that said, while certain Samsung’s SSDs may eventually hit a sequential transfer performance barrier in the form of PCIe 3.0 x4 bus, the bandwidth provided by this interface will still be enough for the vast majority of SSDs from different manufacturers going forward. Moreover, since real-world performance does not entirely depend on just sequential read or write speeds, there are a plenty of ways to improve performance of actual drives in real-world applications.

PC Watch



Samsung SM961 Polaris NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives

SM961 1TB Polaris NVMe M.2 SSD, MZVKW1T0HMLH


SM961 512GB Polaris NVMe M.2 SSD, MZVKW512HMJP


SM961 256GB Polaris NVMe M.2 SSD, MZVPW256HEGL


SM961 128GB Polaris NVMe M.2 SSD, MZVPW128HEGM


More variations available Show

Replaces the Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives

The Samsung SM961 M.2 Solid State Drives are exceptionally fast storage drives that offer read and writes speeds of up to 3200 and 1800 MB/s respectively!

The SM961 boasts outstanding performance, supporting both PCIe 3. 0 x4 interface. They can read and write sequentially up to 3200 MB/s (megabytes per second) and 1800 MB/s respectively based on PCIe 2.0. This performance level is approximately five times faster than that of the latest SSD with a SATA interface and about twice as fast as the previous SM951, its predecessor. In addition, the new SSD’s random read and write speeds reach up to 450,000 and 320,000 IOPS (inputs / outputs per second) respectively. These figures vary based on the capacity chosen, see the specifications table below for exact information.


  1. Incredibly fast M.2 SSD
  2. NVMe Host Controller Interface
  3. Offers sequential read and write speeds of up to 3200 and 1800 MB/s
  4. Available in 128, 256, 512GB and 1TB
  5. L1.2 power state for reduced power consumption

In addition, the SM961 continues 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) as defined by PCI-SIG (the PCIe standards body). By embracing the L1.2 level of standby operation, the SM961’s power consumption is drastically reduced – to just 2.5mW, about a 97 percent decrease from the 50mW consumed using a L1 state.

Samsung’s SM961 comes in the M.2 form factor (80 mm x 22 mm), which is only about one seventh the size of a 2.5” SSD. Also, it weighs approximately six grammes. The drive’s compactness is well suited for most notebook PC designs, freeing up space for other components including the battery. The SM961 lineup consists of 1TB, 512, 256 and 128 GB SSDs.

PLEASE NOTE: These M.2 drives are compatible with Type M keys only. Please check your hardware is compatible with this type. There is also a Type B key which these drives will not connect to.

Show specifications and reviews for:SM961 128GBSM961 1TBSM961 256GBSM961 512GB

Specifications SM961 128GB SM961 1TB SM961 256GB SM961 512GB
Model Number MZVPW128HEGM-00000 MZVKW1T0HMLH-00000 MZVPW256HEGL-00000 MZVKW512HMJP-00000
Usage Application Client PCs (Ultra-thin PCs compatible) Client PCs (Ultra-thin PCs compatible) Client PCs (Ultra-thin PCs compatible) Client PCs (Ultra-thin PCs compatible)
Capacity 128GB 1TB 256GB 512GB
Dimensions (LxWxH) 80 x 22 x 3. 7 (mm) 80 x 22 x 3.7 (mm) 80 x 22 x 3.7 (mm) 80 x 22 x 3.7 (mm)
Interface PCIe Gen3 x4 PCIe Gen3 x4 PCIe Gen3 x4 PCIe Gen3 x4
Form Factor M.2 M.2 M.2 M.2
Key ID Type M (PCIe ×4 and SATA) M (PCIe ×4 and SATA) M (PCIe ×4 and SATA) M (PCIe ×4 and SATA)
Bytes per Sector 512 Bytes 512 Bytes 512 Bytes 512 Bytes
Controller NVMe Rev 1. 2 (partial) NVMe Rev 1.2 (partial) NVMe Rev 1.2 (partial) NVMe Rev 1.2 (partial)
Sequential Read 3100 MB/s Max 3200 MB/s Max 3100 MB/s Max 3200 MB/s Max
Sequential Write 700 MB/s Max 1800 MB/s Max 1400 MB/s Max 1700 MB/s Max
4KB Random Read 330,000 IOPS Max 450,000 IOPS Max 330,000 IOPS Max 330,000 IOPS Max
4KB Random Write 170,000 IOPS Max 320,000 IOPS Max 280,000 IOPS Max 300,000 IOPS Max
Weight Max. 10g Max. 10g Max. 10g Max. 10g
Reliability MTBF 1.5 million hours MTBF 1.5 million hours MTBF 1.5 million hours MTBF 1.5 million hours
Power Saving Modes APST and L1.2 mode APST and L1.2 mode APST and L1.2 mode APST and L1.2 mode
Power Consumption Read 5.9W, Write 5.7W, L1.2 2.5 mW Read 5.9W, Write 5.7W, L1.2 2.5 mW Read 5.9W, Write 5.7W, L1.2 2.5 mW Read 5.9W, Write 5.7W, L1.2 2.5 mW
Temperature Operating 0°C to 70°C Non-Operating -40°C to 85°C Operating 0°C to 70°C Non-Operating -40°C to 85°C Operating 0°C to 70°C Non-Operating -40°C to 85°C Operating 0°C to 70°C Non-Operating -40°C to 85°C
Humidity 5% to 95%, non-condensing 5% to 95%, non-condensing 5% to 95%, non-condensing 5% to 95%, non-condensing
Vibration Non-Operating 10~2000Hz, 20G Non-Operating 10~2000Hz, 20G Non-Operating 10~2000Hz, 20G Non-Operating 10~2000Hz, 20G
Warranty 24 months 24 months 24 months 24 months
Specifications SM961 128GB SM961 1TB SM961 256GB SM961 512GB
Model Number MZVPW128HEGM-00000 MZVKW1T0HMLH-00000 MZVPW256HEGL-00000 MZVKW512HMJP-00000
Usage Application Client PCs (Ultra-thin PCs compatible)
Capacity 128GB 1TB 256GB 512GB
Dimensions (LxWxH) 80 x 22 x 3. 7 (mm)
Interface PCIe Gen3 x4
Form Factor M.2
Key ID Type M (PCIe ×4 and SATA)
Bytes per Sector 512 Bytes
Controller NVMe Rev 1.2 (partial)
Sequential Read 3100 MB/s Max 3200 MB/s Max 3100 MB/s Max 3200 MB/s Max
Sequential Write 700 MB/s Max 1800 MB/s Max 1400 MB/s Max 1700 MB/s Max
4KB Random Read 330,000 IOPS Max 450,000 IOPS Max 330,000 IOPS Max
4KB Random Write 170,000 IOPS Max 320,000 IOPS Max 280,000 IOPS Max 300,000 IOPS Max
Weight Max. 10g
Reliability MTBF 1.5 million hours
Power Saving Modes APST and L1.2 mode
Power Consumption Read 5.9W, Write 5.7W, L1.2 2.5 mW
Temperature Operating 0°C to 70°C Non-Operating -40°C to 85°C
Humidity 5% to 95%, non-condensing
Vibration Non-Operating 10~2000Hz, 20G
Warranty 24 months

See Also

M.2 Solid State Drives
System components only

Product Resources

  • Samsung website

Top M.2, SSD and Hard Drives

They have always been quite gracious and willing to serve the customer.

I have purchased a number of times from — they have always been helpful with my order — they have never been «pushy salespeople» — I HIGHLY recommend them. One time — I had an issue with one of the 150 watt external PSU — they sent me a replacement immediately without question! This kind of service deserves customer dedication.

(Review via Trustpilot)

Samsung 1TB SM961 Single Sided Polaris V-NAND M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe OEM SSD

Samsung SM961: Unmatched SSDs for PCs and Workstations

Samsung SM961 SSDs offer the next level of performance in storage for smart consumers who want an experience beyond what the SATA interface can provide.

The first OEM-targeted client SSD to feature the Polaris controller, the SM961 provides users with enhanced bandwidth, thanks to an NVMe interface, that delivers sequential R/W speeds up to 3,200/1,800MB/s and random R/W speeds up to 450/320K IOPS, respectively with exceptional reliability and minimal power drain.

The SM961 maximizes compatibility using 48-layer MLC V-NAND flash that packs up to 1TB of storage into a single-sided M. 2 2280 form factor to fit notebooks, 2-in-1 systems, and tablets as devices continue to get thinner.

Ideal for heavy
performance-centric uses, such as multi-tasking, complex data manipulation, and
high-performance gaming. Upgrading to an SM961 might be the best computer upgrade
you ever make.

Fitting Storage for Best Performance

Accelerated processing in a compact form factor — The SM961 offers remarkable design flexibility through Ball Grid Array (BGA)
packaging. Combining power-efficient compactness and boosted robust performance,
the SM961 is a first-rate storage solution for slimmer laptops, providing high
performance in a tiny package.

Perfect Storage for Workstations

Faster performance with powerful efficiency — With advanced NAND and TurboWrite technology, SM961 offers a premium solution
for high-performance PCs such as gaming desktops. It’s 3,200MB/s in sequential read
speeds enables faster start-up, improved performance and convent multitasking,
all with low-power operation.

The SSD That Goes Further

Accelerate into next-gen computing — SM961 delivers optimal SSD features for PCs. By supporting the PCIe interface
standard up to 4 lanes and TurboWrite technology, faster read/write speeds accomplish
fast performance using less power via an NVMe power-savings mode.

Big Power in a Small Package

Featured in an M.2 form factor, SM961 uses 88% less space than 2.5″ SSD and is well suited for most notebook
PC designs, freeing up space for other components including the battery.


  • Incredibly Fast Sequential R/W up to 3200/1800MB/s
  • Massive 1TB Storage Capacity
  • Compact M.2 2280 Form Factor
  • Samsung Polaris Controller
  • 48-Layer V-NAND Flash
  • PCIe Gen3 8Gb/s Interface, up to 4 Lanes
  • Compliant with PCI Express Base Specification Rev. 3.0
  • Compliant with PCI Express CEM Specification Rev. 3.0
  • Compliant with NVMe Express specification Rev. 1.2 (Partial)
  • Supports APST and L1.2 Power Saving Modes
  • Supports Admin & NVM Command Set
  • Supports SMART and TRIM Command Set
  • RoHS Compliant

Benchmark Testing

Test Environment: MSI Z270 SLI Plus / Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz / 32GB RAM / Windows 10 Pro 64-bit / M.2 Turbo Port. Driver: Samsung (NVMe)

Reviews & Awards

«If I were to buy a new SSD for my notebook or desktop, it would be the SM961. I can’t give any greater praise than that. The drive leads the high-performance NVMe race in the price to capacity ratio and delivers the performance goods, too.”

Chris Ramseyer, Tom’s Hardware

“Many lab records fell today while testing the Polaris-powered SM961 1TB
NVMe SSD — twelve to be exact. Samsung’s Polaris controller is easily the most
powerful client-based SSD controller, and yet we believe the SM961 is only
scratching the surface of the performance potential that the Polaris controller
has to offer.»

«A super-low price point, high capacity, and numerous lab records add up to a drive that you MUST HAVE!“

Jon Coulter, TweakTown


  • Samsung SM961 SSD Series Data Sheet




Form Factor

M.2 2280 (80mm)

Key Type

M Key


PCI Express Gen3 x4 (PCIe 3. 0 x4)

Bytes per Sector

512 Bytes


NVMe Rev 1.2 (Partial)

NAND Flash

48-Layer 3D/V-NAND MLC


Samsung Polaris

Max Sequential Read


Max Sequential Write


4K Random Read


4K Random Write


Power Saving Modes

APST, L1. 2

Active Power Consumption

5.9 W

Write 4.5 W

Idle Power Consumption

100 mW

Devslp / L1.2 Power

5 mW


1.5 million hours


< 1 sector per 1015 bits read

Operating Temperature

0°C to 70°C

Non-operating Temperature

-40°C to 85°C


5% to 95%


1,500 G


20G, non-operating 10~2000Hz

Supply Voltage / Tolerance

+3. 3V ± 5%


80mm x 22mm x 2.38mm


Max 8g



• 1TB Samsung SM961 M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe OEM SSD

• 5 Year Limited Warranty by

Specs Samsung SM961 M.2 256 GB PCI Express 3.0 Internal Solid State Drives (MZVPW256HEGL-00000)

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