HP SSD EX950 M.2 1TB NVMe Review – Performance You Didn’t See Coming

Apr 29, 2020
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PRODUCT INFO

HP SSD EX950 M.2 1TB NVMe

Type NVMe SSD
Price 147.97

When you're in the market for a new high-performance NVMe drive I'm sure HP isn't the first to come to mind, but once you see how the HP SSD EX950 M.2 stands up in the crowd you might think a bit differently. In collaboration with their partner BIWIN, who has 25 years worth of R&D in storage and microelectronics, HP has brought the SSD EX950 to be a serious contender in the market segment offering their 1TB model (at the time of writing) for roughly $150 putting them right in the middle of the current pricing structure for 1TB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe drives.

The HP SSD EX950 is aimed at the high-performance gaming and consumer market and aims to deliver on blazing fast access to your games and more. They're marketing it to have speeds reaching up to 3.5GB/s of read speeds and 2.9GB/s of write speeds. the HP SSD EX950 1TB model comes packed with a Silicon Motion SM2262EN and pairs that with Micron 64 layer TLC Flash. It does boast a 1GB DDR3 DRAM module to help facilitate the rapid transport of file sizes that fit within that space.

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HP SSD EX950 Lineup

 HP SSD EX950 512GBHP SSD EX950 1TBHP SSD EX950 2TB
Capacity512GB1024GB2000GB
Form Factor Double sided M.2 2280Double sided M.2 2280Double sided M.2 2280
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3
ControllerSilicon Motion SM2262ENSilicon Motion SM2262ENSilicon Motion SM2262EN
DRAM512MB DDR31GB NANYA DDR32GB NANYA DDR3
MemoryMicron 64 Layer TLCMicron 64 Layer TLCMicron 64 Layer TLC
Sequential Read3,500 MB/s3,500 MB/s3,500 MB/s
Sequential Write2,250 MB/s2,900 MB/s2,900 MB/s
Random Read390,000 IOPS410,000 IOPS410,000 IOPS
Random Write370,000 IOPS370,000 IOPS380,000 IOPS

First Look At The HP SSD EX950 M.2 1TB NVMe – Unboxing And Closer Look

Packaging for the HP SSD EX950 is all business, no cheap feeling blister pack here. You get a nice box that is very clear on the capacity but is completely void of performance expectations. This could be a problem for shoppers who are buying off the shelf. The internals of the packaging is very well put together and the additional M.2 screw is more than beneficial. I don't know how many people have decided to add in an M.2 drive only to realize they had misplaced the screw for the small standoff.

The HP SSD EX950 drive itself is your standard M.2 NVMe drive affair. They built it on a very attractive black PCB, but they managed to hide it all behind a very 'businessy' looking sticker that ends up being upside down in most applications. This, of course, isn't an issue if you're using a motherboard with an M.2 heatsink cover to hide it behind.

Testing Setup

Our test bench is now using the EVGA Z370 Classified K paired with an Intel Core i9-9900K at 5GHz paired with 16GB DDR4 3200 RAM and decided to go sans dedicated GPU.  The reasoning for this was simple as I had to remove the GPU to access the secondary m.2 slot so that I could run the tests.  Before starting the tests I loaded the NVMe drive up to 60% capacity so that the testing would not be run on a clean empty drive.

ComponentModel
CPUIntel Core i9-9900K @5GHz
MemoryMushkin Redline 2x16GB (32GB) DDR4 3600 CL18
PSUCooler Master V1200P
OSWindows 10-64 Bit
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
CaseLian Li T70X

HP SSD EX950 M.2 1TB

ATTO Disk Benchmark

As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid-state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

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The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

 

Crystal Disk Mark 6.0

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software Made by a Japanese coder named Hiyohiyo and is one of the simplest and most frequently used tests for storage due to its simple and easy to understand UI. It measure sequential reads/writes speed,measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed,select test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill).

AS SSD

AS SSD is the opposite of ATTO as it uses incompressible data rather than compressible data and simulates the worst possible scenario imaginable for an SSD which gives the best understanding of performance when pushing the drive to its limits.

We separate the IOPS and MB/s in the results for ease of reading.

ANVIL's Storage Utilities

Anvil's Storage Utilities benchmark may be a bit of an older benchmark, but it's still very much relevant today.  It takes various performance and response time metrics and gives them a score in reads and writes then delivers an overall rating, which is useful to see where an HDD or SSD slots in general performance.

Conclusion

The HP EX950 M.2 NVMe SSD comes into a rather crowded market but doesn't try to segment itself by using any crazy gimmicks, and that kind of works for it. The EX950 is able to show it can stand up to the best of them on the market today making it an attractive proposition. It may not have the fun and well-known names like EVO or Black Edition, but the performance is to the point you likely couldn't tell the difference. The pricing comes in right about where it should so there aren't any complaints there. The lack of software is going to be dependent on the customer and whether or not you see value in those addons. If there were any solid complaints on the aesthetics is that they built it on a nice black PCB and then slapped a massive boring white sticker across it, and 9 times out of 10 the text is going to be upside down in a build, thank goodness most modern motherboards have built-in heatsinks to cover that up.

Products mentioned in this post

Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i9-9900K
USD 514.99

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Pros

  • Good performance
  • Black PCB
  • Comes with additional screw

Cons

  • No software
  • Anesthetic sticker coving nice PCB
The links above are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Wccftech.com may earn from qualifying purchases.
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