Samsung switches up with the lightning-fast PCie 4.0 PM9A1 client SSD

Samsung has launched the PM9A1, a super-fast PCIe 4 client SSD with 2TB capacity, that matches Western Digital’s Black SN850 at 1 million random read IOPS and 7GB/sec sequential read bandwidth.

Jaejune Kim, corporate SVP of memory marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, said in a statement: “The PM9A1 represents a big step forward for SSD technology. From our newest generation V6 NAND, to the custom firmware and controller, everything is developed in house to deliver the best performance available in the market.”

The company is shipping the drive to the OEM market. Jim Nottingham, GM for the advanced compute and solutions unit at HP, a Samsung customer, said there is “clear demand for PCIe Gen 4’s capabilities and HP is working closely with Samsung to offer future support for the PM9A1, delivering increased bandwidth for even greater performance and seamless workflows for data-intensive users.”

Samsung PM9A1 M.2 drive

Life in the Fast Lane

Blocks & Files thinks that the PCIe Gen 4 interface, twice as fast as PCIe Gen 3, is a performance landmark for laptop, desktop and server systems. The NVMe interface running over the PCIe Gen 4 bus helps to produce low latency and high speed drives that leave SATA and SAS and PCIe gen 3 SSDs in the slow lane.

The PM9A1 delivers up to 850,000 random write IOPS and its sequential write speed is up to 5.2GB/sec. WD’s Black SN850 just pips it on sequential write speed, as it reaches up to 5.3GB/sec. The drive uses Samsung gen 6 V-NAND with 128 layers and TLC format (3 bits/cell). The gumstick format drive has a Samsung Elpis controller and firmware, and a DRAM buffer.

A prior Samsung PM981a gumstick drive with a PCIe Gen 3 interface provided up to 580,000/500,000 random read/write IOPS and up to 3.5/3.0 GB/sec sequential read/write speed, which emphasises the PCIe Gen 4 speed boost.

Samsung has not yet released endurance, warranty or reliability numbers.