While the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe SSD was promising at first, after its quick failure I decided to try out the Toshiba/OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2 SSD. For the 256GB model (RVD400-M22280-256G) this high-performance solid-state drive will set you back just $149 USD.
For the latest fun NVMe SSD Linux benchmarking on Phoronix is the RD400 256GB (RVD400-M22280-256G) drive. This 256GB drive is rated for sequential reads up to 2600MB/s, sequential writes up to 1150MB/s, random reads up to 210k IOPS, and random writes up to 140k IOPS. The TBW rating is 148 TB and the daily usage guideline puts it at 81 GB/day. The RD400 drive makes use of MLC flash memory.
Toshiba/OCZ does advertise the RD400 series as supported by Linux. There's rarely drive compatibility issues these days with Linux, but great to see them mention Linux support. They specifically list as supported: Linux, Fedora 21, Mint 17.1, ElementaryOS Freya, OpenSUSE 13.2, Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10.
For comparing the Toshiba RD400 performance under Ubuntu Linux, I compared its performance to the following NVMe M.2 devices: Intel 600p 256GB, Samsung 950 PRO 256GB, and Samsung 960 EVO 256GB. SATA 3.0 SSDs tossed into the mix were the Samsung 850 EVO 120GB, VisionTek 240GB, Toshiba TR150 120GB, and PNY CS1211 120GB. All tests were done on the same Ubuntu 16.04 system with the Linux 4.9 kernel and each SSD formatted to EXT4. All of the benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.