HP made a somewhat unexpected appearance in this segment in 2018, with the launch of its mainstream/high-end M.2 SSD HP EX920. With this successor for 2019, known as the EX950, HP takes up the competition with other recently updated SSDs such as the Samsung 970 EVO Plus and the WD Black SN750. Like its competitors, the HP EX950 is more of a refinement than a complete overhaul of its predecessor.
Overview: Memory Type, Controller and Cache
The HP EX950 uses the same type of 64-layer TLC (triple-level cell) NAND memory chips from Micron as its predecessor. This is still the most common memory type in consumer SSDs as of 2019, though some drives like Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus has migrated to 96-layer NAND.
HP has updated the controller used in the EX950, but again the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. While the HP EX920 used a Silicon Motion SM2262, the EX950 is equipped with the similar but slightly improved 8-channel SM2262EN controller. It’s not clear what the exact differences are between the SM2262 and SM2262EN, other than the latter offering improved performance in most areas. The SM2262EN is also used in the ADATA SX8200 Pro, meaning that this drive is very similar to the EX950.
Like most SSDs using TLC NAND while targeting the high end of the market, the EX950 uses a combination of DRAM or SLC-mode caches to achieve high write performance. Once the SLC cache is exhausted, write performance will be significantly reduced. In comparison, drives based on MLC (multi-level cell) NAND, such as the Samsung 970 PRO, do not need this type of solution.
Thanks to its improved SM2262EN controller, the HP EX950 is faster than its predecessor the EX920 and should remain one of the top performers in the segment for most of 2019 at the very least.
|HP EX950 Specifications||512 GB||1 TB||2 TB|
|NAND Flash type||Micron 64-layer 3D TLC||Micron 64-layer 3D TLC||Micron 64-layer 3D TLC|
|Form Factor (Interface)||Double-sided M.2 2280 (PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3)||Double-sided M.2 2280 (PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3)||Double-sided M.2 2280 (PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3)|
|Sequential Read (max)||3,500 MB/s||3,500 MB/s||3,500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write (max)||2,250 MB/s||2,900 MB/s||2,900 MB/s|
|Random Read||390K IOPS||410K IOPS||410K IOPS|
|Random Write||370K IOPS||370K IOPS||380K IOPS|
|Power Consumption, Active (idle)||5.21 W (0.73 W)||6.93 W (0.73 W)||6.93 W (0.73 W)|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years||5 years|
|Write Endurance, TBW (DWPD)||320 TBW (0.34 DWPD)||650 TBW (0.36 DWPD)||1400 TBW (0.38 DWPD)|
HP EX950 Vs. EX 920
Maximum sequential read performance is identical across all three capacities, at 3,500 MB/s (up from 3,200 MB/s in the EX920). Write speeds are also improved, but the 512 GB EX950 is slightly slower than the 1 TB and 2 TB models at 2,250 MB/s (512 GB) vs. 2,900 MB/s (1TB/2TB). Comparable number for the predecessor are 1,600 MB/s (512 GB) and 1,800 MB/s (1 TB).
As for random performance, the EX920 also lags behind, at 340K/260K IOPS (read/write) for the 512 GB EX920, and 350K/250K IOPS (read/write) for the 1 TB capacity. Unlike the EX950, there is no comparable 2 TB variant of the EX920.
Power Consumption (Laptop Suitability)
In another, less favorable comparison with the HP EX920, the active power draw is a bit higher in the larger two capacities of the EX950. There is also no 256 GB model available, which was the least power-hungry alternative in the EX920 lineup.
Idle power consumption, on the other hand, is identical in all capacities at 0.73 W.
Warranty and Endurance Rating
HP offers a 5-year warranty for the EX950 series and the endurance ratings in TBW (terabytes written) are identical to the predecessor.
- 320 TBW for 512 GB model
- 650 TBW for 1 TB model
- 1,400 TBW for 2 TB model
In our application tests, the 1TB EX950 outperformed every other consumer NVMe SSD on the market, including the SX8200 Pro. This is, by a little bit, the fastest non-Optane class SSD we’ve tested.
HP EX950 M.2 1TB PCIe 3.1 x4 NVMe 3D TLC NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) 5MS23AA#ABC
- M. 2 2280, HP controller Offering with 8 flash memory channels that support PC 3. 1 x4 and NV Me 1. 3
- Sequential read/write speeds up to 3, 500 Mbps/ 2, 900 Mbps, an industry top leading reliability (MTBF) 2M hours, and endurance (TBW) up to 1400 TBW
- Higher order LDPC error Correction for high speed parallel decoding and real time error Correction to ensure data integrity and security
- Works on all Windows PC, Full compatibility with host. Exe (HP software pre-installation environment). Ideal upgrade for HP PCs
- Manufactured to HP high quality standards and fully tested and CERTIFIED in HP laboratories. Not intended for use in HP workstations