Samsung’s NVMe PCIe solid state drive (SSD) a likely candidate for upcoming Macs

Samsung Electronics has begun mass producing what it says is the industry’s first NVMe PCIe solid state drive (SSD) — the PM971-NVMe — in a single ball grid array (BGA) package, for use in next-generation computers and “ultra-slim” laptops.

Apple has used Samsung SSDs in past Macs. It’s very possible we’ll see the new version in iMacs, MacBook Pros, and MacBooks in the near future.

The new BGA NVMe SSD triples the performance of a typical SATA SSD with storage capacity reaching 512GB, according to Jung-bae Lee, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering Team, Samsung. It features an extremely compact package that contains all essential SSD components including NAND flash memory, DRAM and controller while delivering outstanding performance, he adds.

The new SSD is 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm and weighs only about one gram (an American dime by comparison weighs 2.3 grams). The single-package SSD’s volume is approximately a hundredth of a 2.5” SSD or HDD, and its surface area is about a fifth of an M.2 SSD.

In addition, Lee says the PM971-NVMe SSD delivers a level of performance that easily surpasses the speed limit of a SATA 6Gb/s interface. It enables sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,500MB/s (megabytes per second) and 900MB/s respectively, when TurboWrite technology is used. The performance figures can be directly compared to transferring a 5GB-equivalent, Full-HD movie in about 3 seconds or downloading it in about six seconds. 

It also boasts random read and write IOPS (input output operations per second) of up to 190K and 150K respectively, to easily handle high-speed operations. A hard drive, by contrast, will only process up to 120 IOPS in random reads, making the new Samsung SSD more than 1500 times faster than an HDD in this regard.

The PM971-NVMe SSD line-up will be available in 512GB, 256GB and 128GB storage options. Samsung will start providing the new SSDs to its customers this month worldwide.