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Samsung SSD XP941 Review: The PCIe Era Is Here

May. 15. 2014
Samsung SSD XP941 Review: The PCIe Era Is Here The Samsung XP941
In June last year, Samsung made an announcement that they were mass producing the industry's first native PCIe SSD: the XP941. In the enterprise world, native PCIe SSDs were nothing new but in the consumer market all PCIe SSDs had previously just used several SATA SSDs behind a PCIe bridge. Samsung didn't reveal many details about the XP941 and all we knew was that it was capable of speeds up to 1,400MB/s and would be available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Given that the XP941 was (and still is) an OEM-only product, that wasn't surprising. OEM clients often don't want the components they are buying to be put under a public microscope as it may lead to confusion among their customers (e.g. why isn't the drive in my laptop performing as well as the drive in the review?).

The XP941 is available only in M.2 2280 form factor. The four-digit code refers to the size of the drive in millimeters and 2280 is currently the second largest size according to the M.2 standard. Basically, the first two digits refer to the width, which per M.2 standard is always 22mm (hence the 22 in the code) and the last two digits describe the length, which in this case is 80mm. There are four possible lengths in the M.2 spec: 42mm, 60mm, 80mm and 110mm, and the purpose of different lengths is to allow manufacturers to design drives for multiple uses.

The reason for the variable size comes from mSATA, where the issue industry had problems with the fixed size. That's why Apple, ASUS, and others went with custom designs in order to fit more NAND packages on the PCB. I believe 80mm (i.e. 2280) will be the most popular form factor as it's capable of holding up to eight NAND packages but especially drives that are aimed for tablets and other ultra mobile devices may utilize the smaller 2242 and 2260 form factors.

As the XP941 isn't available in retail, Samsung isn't sampling it to media. Fortunately an Australian Samsung OEM retailer, RamCity, was kind enough to send us a review sample. The SSD we received is the highest capacity 512GB model, so we should be able to reach the maximum potential performance. RamCity actually sent us two 512GB drives and I couldn't resist putting the two in RAID 0 configuration in order to see what kind of throughput two drives could offer.

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Source: ANANDTECH News

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