If you think laptops packing solid state drives (SSDs) are fast now, just wait until you see a notebook rocking Samsung's new SM951 MLC flash SSD introduced during CES. Samsung's latest SSD ditches SATA for the PCIe (M.2) interface, similar to other SSDs we saw hit store shelves in 2014.
The advantage with PCIe (the same interface that graphics cards use) is it promises much faster read/write speeds. With the SM951, Samsung says sequential read/write speeds can hit 1,600MB/s and 1,350MB/s, respectively, over PCIe 2.0. Bump that up to a PCIe 3.0 interface, and you'll get jaw-dropping max read speeds of up to 2,150MB/s and write speeds around 1,550MB/s.
To put those numbers in perspective, the PCIe 3.0 read speeds are roughly four times faster than the fastest SATA-based SSDs found in most PCs. Four. Times.
Why this matters: Samsung's latest SSD is part of the next big development for storage components that are coming to notebooks and component suppliers. Relying on a PCIe slot means that not only will these SSDs be much, much faster, they'll consume much less internal space as well — space, which, as Samsung argues, can be put to better use expanding room for the battery pack and other components. Space savings can also be used to create even thinner laptops. In fact, Samsung's specifically targeting ultra-slim notebooks (as well as workstations) with the SM951.
Samsung is also aiming to make the SM951 a big winner when it comes to power consumption. When in standby mode the drive requires a scant 2 milliwatts of power. That's basically nothing. Samsung claims the drive is the first SSD to adopt the PCI-SIG standards group's L1.2 low power standby mode, which turns off high-speed circuits when your PC drops into sleep or hibernation.
As usual with new storage components, the SM951 will only be available to manufacturers at first — the drive just entered mass production. Currently, the SM951 is available in 128, 256, and 512 gigabyte sizes.
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