Samsung 970 EVO vs 970 EVO Plus vs 970 PRO: Which is the Best?

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Winner
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Best Price
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 512GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7P512BW), Black/Red
Samsung (MZ-V7E500BW) 970 EVO SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology, Black/Red
Model
970 EVO Plus
970 PRO
970 EVO
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.2/10 Very Good April 2020
Test Result 8.9/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Samsung
Samsung
Samsung
Storage Capacity
1 TB
512 GB
500 GB
Reading
3500MB/s
3.500 MB/s
3.400 MB/s
Write
3300MB/s
2.300 MB/s
2.300 MB/s
IOPS 4K Read / write
600k/550k
370K/500K
370K/450K
Cache
1GB (LPDDR4), SLC-Cache (6-42GB)
512 MB LPDDR4
512 MB LPDDR4
Performance
Value for money
Dimensions
0.87 x 0.9 x 3.15 inches
0.87 x 3.15 x 0.90 inches
0.87 x 3.15 x 0.9 inches
Pros
  • Close to theoretical Performance Maximum of SSDs
  • Cheap Per Gigabyte Price
  • High transfer Rates
  • Good Transfer Rates
  • Long Endurance
  • High Performance
  • Good for Everydays Use
  • 5 years Warranty
  • Encryption supported
Cons
  • Expensive
  • If too heated, less Performance
  • If too heated, less Performance
Winner
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Model
970 EVO Plus
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
Samsung
Storage Capacity
1 TB
Reading
3500MB/s
Write
3300MB/s
IOPS 4K Read / write
600k/550k
Cache
1GB (LPDDR4), SLC-Cache (6-42GB)
Performance
Value for money
Dimensions
0.87 x 0.9 x 3.15 inches
Pros
  • Close to theoretical Performance Maximum of SSDs
  • Cheap Per Gigabyte Price
  • High transfer Rates
Cons
  • Expensive
Best Price
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 512GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7P512BW), Black/Red
Model
970 PRO
Test Result
Test Result 9.2/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Samsung
Storage Capacity
512 GB
Reading
3.500 MB/s
Write
2.300 MB/s
IOPS 4K Read / write
370K/500K
Cache
512 MB LPDDR4
Performance
Value for money
Dimensions
0.87 x 3.15 x 0.90 inches
Pros
  • Good Transfer Rates
  • Long Endurance
  • High Performance
Cons
  • If too heated, less Performance
Samsung (MZ-V7E500BW) 970 EVO SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology, Black/Red
Model
970 EVO
Test Result
Test Result 8.9/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Samsung
Storage Capacity
500 GB
Reading
3.400 MB/s
Write
2.300 MB/s
IOPS 4K Read / write
370K/450K
Cache
512 MB LPDDR4
Performance
Value for money
Dimensions
0.87 x 3.15 x 0.9 inches
Pros
  • Good for Everydays Use
  • 5 years Warranty
  • Encryption supported
Cons
  • If too heated, less Performance

The 970 SSD family from Samsung gets in 2019 with the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus an addition. Just like the well-known Samsung SSD 970 EVO and Samsung SSD 970 PRO, the NVMe drive is aimed at professional users and gamers who expect the maximum from the SSD hard drive due to its high performance.

But what are the exact differences between the SSD 970 EVO Plus and SSD 970 EVO or SSD 970 PRO? How do the M.2 SSDs with the PCIe interface from Samsung compare with each other? Which SSD from Samsung is the best? To see the results, check out our Ranking at the top. Below you will find all the differences of the different Samsung SSDs and a complete Data sheet of all of them.

We provided you with the in-depth reviews of each Samsung SSD below the Comparisons.

Differences of Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus vs 970 EVO vs 970 PRO

Advantages of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus compared to SSD 970 EVO

  • Modern flash memory
  • Optimized firmware
  • Better performance values

Advantages Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus over SSD 970 PRO

  • Lower Costs Per Gigabyte
  • Lower price
  • Comparable performance
Product NameSamsung SSD 970 EVO PlusSamsung SSD 970 EVOSamsung SSD 970 PRO
Form factorM.2 2280 SSDM.2 2280 SSDM.2 2280 SSD
InterfacesPCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Storage Capacity250 GB
500 GB
1 TB
GB 250
500 GB to
1 TB
2 TB
512GB
1TB
Dimensions (WxHxD)80,15 x 22,15 x 2,38 mm80,15 x 22,15 x 2,38 mm80,15 x 22,15 x 2,38 mm
ControllerSamsung Phoenix controllerSamsung Phoenix controllerSamsung Phoenix controller
NAND flash memory typeSamsung V-NAND 3-Bit MLC (TLC)Samsung V-NAND 3-Bit MLC (TLC)Samsung V-NAND 2-Bit MLC (MLC)
DRAM cache memory512 MB LPDDR4 (250 GB, 500 GB)
1 GB LPDDR4 (1 TB)
512 MB LPDDR4 (250 GB, 500 GB)
1 GB LPDDR4 (1 TB)
2 GB LPDDR4 (2 TB)
512 MB LPDDR4 (512 GB)
1 GB LPDDR4 (1 TB)
Sequential reading3.500 MB / s3.400 MB / s (250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB)
3.500 MB / s (2 TB)
3.500 MB / s
Sequential writing2.300 MB / s (250 GB)
3.200 MB / s (500 GB)
3.300 MB / s (1 TB)
1.500 MB / s (250 GB)
2.300 MB / s (500 GB)
2.500 MB / s (1 TB, 2 TB)
2.300 MB / s (512 GB)
2.700 MB / s (1 TB)
Random Reading (QD1)17.000 IOPS (250 GB)
19.000 IOPS (500 GB, 1 TB)
15.000 IOPS15.000 IOPS
Random Writing (QD1)60.000 IOPS50.000 IOPS55.000 IOPS
Random Reading (QD32)250.000 IOPS (250 GB)
480.000 IOPS (500 GB)
600.000 IOPS (1 TB)
200.000 IOPS (250 GB)
370.000 IOPS (500 GB)
500.000 IOPS (1 TB, 2 TB)
370.000 IOPS (512 GB)
500.000 IOPS (1 TB)
Random Writing (QD32)550.000 IOPS350.000 IOPS (250 GB)
450.000 IOPS (500 GB, 1 TB)
480.000 IOPS (2 TB)
500.000 IOPS
Reliability (MTBF)1.5 million hours1.5 million hours1.5 million hours
Resilience (TBW)150TB (250GB)
300TB (500GB)
600TB (1TB)
150TB (250GB)
300TB (500GB)
600TB (1TB)
1,200TB (2TB)
600 TB (512 GB)
1,200 TB (1 TB)
Power consumption hibernation30 mW30 mW30 mW
Power consumption operation (read / write, average)5.0 W / 4,2 W (250 GB)
5.5 W / 5,8 W (500 GB)
5,5 W / 6,0 W (1 TB)
5,4 W / 4,2 W (250 GB)
5,7 W / 5,8 W (500 GB)
6,0 W / 6,0 W (1 TB, 2 TB)
5.2 W / 5.2 W (512 GB)
5.2 W / 5,7 W (1 TB)
Warranty5 years5 years5 years
Scope of deliverySSDSSDSSD
Part numbersMZ-V7S250BW (250 GB)
MZ-V7S500BW (500 GB)
MZ-V7S1T0BW (1 TB)
MZ-V7E250BW (250 GB)
MZ-V7E500BW (500 GB)
MZ-V7E1T0BW (1 TB)
MZ-V7E2T0BW (2 TB)
MZ-V7P512BW (512 GB)
MZ-V7P1T0BW (1 TB)

Differences between Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and SSD 970 EVO

Memory size and flash memory

urrently, the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus is offered in the capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB. A version with the storage size of 2 TB is supposed to follow in a few months, though. The Samsung SSD 970 EVO, on the other hand, is already available today with 250 GB to 2 TB.

As a flash memory type, Samsung is relying on the TLC NAND, which is common today and holds 3 bits of data per memory cell, for both the SSD 970 EVO Plus and the SSD 970 EVO. In both cases, the internal control of the SSD is handled by the in-house Samsung Phoenix controller, but with the drive with the “Plus” suffix, the firmware is optimized.

Speed and Performance

The performance of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO is on a very high level, although the manufacturer was able to increase it again with the first one. The EVO Plus now achieves up to 3,500 MB/s in sequential reading in all memory sizes.

The values for sequential writing are still dependent on the capacity of the drive, but Samsung has been able to increase them significantly compared to the previous generation. The Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus also impresses with its improved performance in random operations.

TurboWrite and SLC Cache

For the convincing performance values, Samsung uses writing acceleration technology called TurboWrite for the SSD 970 EVO Plus and the SSD 970 EVO. The written data is first stored in a designated area of the SSD with one bit per memory cell. The re-sorting to 3 bits per cell then takes place in the idle phases.

The size of this SCL cache remains the same for the SSD 970 EVO Plus compared to the SSD 970 EVO with 13 GB for the 250 GB model and 42 GB for the 1 TB variant, but Samsung improves the performance of the new SSD generation if the buffer is not sufficient.

For example, the write speed outside the TurboWrite range with the EVO Plus is 900 MB/s in the 500 GB version instead of 600 MB/s with the EVO SSD.

Differences between Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and SSD 970 PRO

Performance and storage type

While the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and EVO are also suitable for normal users thanks to the reasonable price-performance ratio, the Samsung SSD 970 PRO is primarily aimed at professional users due to the significantly higher costs per gigabyte, but also the strong performance even under constant load.

The unique selling point of the SSD 970 PRO, which is only available with 512 GB and 1 TB capacity, compared to its EVO siblings is the MLC NAND Flash used by Samsung, which stores 2 bits per cell and is therefore considerably more expensive to produce due to the lower storage density.

Equipment and Warranty

There are no differences in the interface between the three SSDs of the 970 series. Samsung relies here on the PCI Express 3.0 connection with four lanes for the maximum achievable performance. The 970 SSD hard disks are also similar in terms of external dimensions, with around 80 mm in length, 22 mm in width and 2.38 mm in height.

Only the SSD drive can be found in the packaging boxes, but the useful Samsung Magician software is available for free download on the website. The manufacturer grants a warranty period of 5 years to the three drives in comparison, whereby the TBW values for the Samsung SSD 970 PRO are twice as high as for the EVO SSD.

Conclusion SSD comparison – Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and 970 EVO/PRO differences

In the end, it remains to be said that the Samsung SSD 970 PRO is only suitable for enthusiasts and professionals who depend on maximum performance and don’t have to look at the budget due to its high price.

On the other hand, the two EVO SSD drives are definitely attractive for the average user thanks to the fair price-performance ratio. Although the improvements of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus are noticeable on paper, buyers can still confidently choose the Samsung SSD 970 EVO (without Plus) with a good offer.

Ranking First: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung 970 EVO Plus review


Pros

  • Close to theoretical Performance Maximum of SSDs
  • Cheap Per Gigabyte Price
  • High transfer Rates

Cons

  • Expensive

In the last review of the Samsung 970 EVO, we already noticed that Samsung comes close to the previous Pro series even with its new mid-range, but the Korean manufacturer is now making further progress with its new EVO Plus series.

The data sheet promises a healthy increase of up to 53% over the 970 EVO, read and write speeds are supposed to reach the limit of the current third PCIe generation. We’ll see how far Samsung can keep this promise in our review of the 500 GB version.

With the latest 3-bit MLC V-NAND and an enhanced Phoenix controller, Samsung is now launching the latest incarnation of its popular 9×0 EVO family. But instead of the usual name update and the expected 980 series, Samsung is changing its previous naming scheme a little and adding a “plus” to it.

However, the manufacturer doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to praise the improvements in full-bodied terms. An increase in performance of up to 53% over the already very popular 970 EVO can be expected according to Samsung, and the new Plus is expected to lead the performance level at least until the release of the fourth PCIe generation.

Samsung intends to achieve this by using its new 3-bit MLC V-NAND memory chips with 96 layers, which are installed in all four new models with 250 GB, 500 GB, 1,000 GB and from April onwards also 2,000 GB. The two smaller models use 512 MB of LPDDR4 memory, while the larger models have twice as much.

Samsung 970 EVO Plus in Detail

Samsung 970 EVO Plus review

While the 970 EVO non-Plus has changed a lot in comparison to its predecessor, a closer look might reveal why Samsung doesn’t speak of a 980 EVO in its latest version. Thus, even in the latest incarnation of the M.2 SSD, the greatest distinguishing feature from the Pro version remains: TLC chips are still used, which Samsung itself refers to as 3-bit MLC.

However, the Plus version is also referred to as V-NAND, as the general structure remains virtually identical to the 970 EVO. Thus, the 970 EVO Plus also benefits from the increased memory density and efficiency, as well as the extended lifetime compared to the 960 generation. The dimensions and the design remain of course well known, only the “Plus” lettering allows to distinguish the two versions at a quick glance.

While the increase in the expected lifetime of the 970 EVO was still a strong 50%, the values of the new Plus generation remain unchanged. As usual, the TBW value also has more to do with the limitation of the guarantee than with the actual expected durability, which is often many times higher in the new SSD.

This is because the five-year guarantee is only valid as long as the TBW values are not exceeded. For the MTBF, 1.5 million hours are mentioned.

TurboWrite technology has been used by Samsung for some time now to speed up writing processes. While the basic principle – data is first collected in an SLC cache and then actually written – has not changed in recent years, the fixed cache size was abandoned with the 960 EVO.

Although there is still a clearly defined cache, it can now be expanded by a certain amount of TLC memory if necessary. Samsung distinguishes between default cache, intelligent cache and total cache. The capacity of the individual memories depends on the total size of the SSD.

Unchanged from its predecessors, the SSD 970 EVO Plus offers full drive encryption according to TCG Opal standard using AES 256-bit algorithm. It should also be noted that the emptying of the device write cache must be disabled for full performance on the new Samsung SSD.

Samsung 970 EVO Plus Benchmark Test

As the name suggests, the AS SSD Benchmark was developed especially for SSDs. It uses completely incompressible data, so this benchmark is practically a worst case scenario for compressing controllers. Sequential and 4K testing takes place at a queue depth of one. For desktop systems, the 4K test with QD 1 is again most important, whereas the test with QD 64 again shows the maximum (with activated NCQ).

With the achieved 59.91 MB/s in 4K reading, the Plus doesn’t only clearly set itself in front of its predecessor, but also beats the previously superior 970 Pro, whereas the write performance is behind the EVO non-Plus with over 10% and clearly behind the Pro.

The opposite picture is seen in 4K-64Thrd reading and writing, where the Plus initially lags behind its siblings, only to put them clearly in their place when writing. Impressive are of course also the sequential writing values, which are clearly above those of the predecessors, although not as clear as the data sheet suggests.

The CrystalDiskMark looks different. As already mentioned in the past, the manufacturer’s values are often confirmed here, which in the case of the Samsung EVO Plus is of course mainly reflected in the sensational sequential Q32T1 write value, which is not only more than 30% above the predecessor, but actually comes close to the maximum of the current PCIe generation and even exceeds the enclosed data sheet.

Nevertheless, the Plus version is not necessarily the faster choice in every discipline. Especially the 4KiB.Q32T1 values are astonishing, which rather reminds of the QLC SATA variant 860 QVO than of the previous top models.

The PCMark 8 “Expanded Storage” test consists of two parts, the “Consistency test” and the “Adaptivity test”. The latter tests how well a storage system can adapt to a particular load. More interesting for us is the first test, which measures the performance loss of a storage system.

In the first phase, the drive is completely filled twice, whereby the second run should ensure that the storage not accessible to the user is also filled. In the second phase (Degrade), the drive is loaded a total of eight times in a row with random write accesses, whereby the first pass lasts 10 minutes and each further pass lasts five minutes longer. Performance is measured after each pass.

In the third phase (Steady state), five further runs with 45 minutes write time each take place, and performance is also measured here. In the last phase (Recovery), performance is measured after an idle time of five minutes. This measurement is repeated five times, including the idle time, and should give the drive the opportunity to regenerate.

The following two diagrams show how long different drives take on average in the different phases to answer a read or write access. Here we restrict ourselves to the largest part of the trace benchmark, namely the “Photoshop Heavy” profile, where 468 MB are read and 5640 MB are written.

These benchmarks also show the familiar picture that the new Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus does some things significantly better, but also some things worse than its predecessor. For example, if the latencies are still at a comparable level, the transfer rates only show a visible advantage for the new Plus in the recovery tests. In general, it has to be said that, as usual for Samsung, a high level is always achieved.

Conclusion

One of the first questions that came up after receiving the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus was the name. Why does Samsung on the one hand break with the proven scheme and what can one expect from the “Plus”? The data sheet clearly speaks of a very high performance. Sometimes impressive values, close to the theoretical maximum of the interface are promised and also achieved. But not always. Synthetically measured, more than 3,200 MB/s stand in opposition to other benchmarks, which see the performance level more on par with or even below that of the predecessor.

Power users, who are always looking for the maximum possible performance, have to pay attention and select as exactly as possible which load comes closest to their usage behavior. Pleasingly, the SSD’s recommended retail price is only slightly above the street price of the 970 EVO right from the start.

In any case, it is clear that Samsung is indeed fulfilling its promise to reach the limits of the current PCIe standard, at least in some aspects, with the new EVO Plus. That’s not only impressive, but perhaps also a hint as to why it has “only” become a 970 EVO Plus and not a 980 EVO – especially since Samsung already points to the upcoming fourth PCIe generation in the data sheet. But until the introduction of this standard, the Plus remains a very good choice in the search for an M.2 PCIe SSD in any case.

In the coming months, it remains to be seen whether Samsung’s new flash memory will behave as reliably as it did in previous iterations. If this is the case, there is little to be said against Samsung’s new SSD, provided that the usage pattern is suitable and the price will adjust somewhat in the coming weeks. But the latter is to be expected.

Best Price: Samsung SSD 970 PRO

Samsung SSD 970 PRO review


Pros

  • Good Transfer Rates
  • Long Endurance
  • High Performance

Cons

  • If too heated, less Performance

One and a half years after the launch, Samsung is replacing the SSD 960 PRO and sending its successor into the race. It should not only offer even higher speed, but also be more durable. At the same time, the technical innovations are kept within limits, with the new controller being the main focus. But whether the Samsung SSD 970 PRO can really set itself apart from its predecessor and leave the competition behind is shown by the test of the 1 TB version.

It represents the top model at least at the sales start of the SSD-970-PRO series. Because unlike its predecessor, only two versions, 512 GB and 1 TB, have been announced so far. It’s not yet known if Samsung will be releasing a spin-off with 2 TB.

For enthusiasts this should be at least a small disappointment. After all, the number of suitable interfaces is still limited, so those who need a lot of SSD storage space will have to rely on large drives. Samsung has recognized this with the 860 EVO and 860 PRO, for example, and has launched 4 TB versions on the market. So the question is: Does the Samsung SSD 970 PRO offer enough arguments to compensate for the (temporary) lack of a larger model?

Samsung SSD 970 PRO in Detail

With the 970 PRO, Samsung once again relies on its own 3D-V-NAND, which offers higher storage density than planar memory, but also improved efficiency, performance and life expectancy. In contrast to the 960 PRO, however, it no longer relies on 48 layers, but on 64 – as in the PM981.

This ensures a further increase in efficiency, as the voltage can be reduced from 3.3 V to just 2.5 V. But it remains with 2-bit MLC chips with a capacity of 256 Gigabit. Two stacks of either 16 (1 TB model) or eight chips (512 GB model) are mounted on the approximately 80.1 x 22.2 x 2.4 mm board.

Also known from the PM981 is the new controller for the 9xx-PRO series. It goes by the name of Phoenix and follows the last Polaris controller installed. However, Samsung is sparing with information. All that is known is that, just like the Polaris controller, it has five CPU cores, which can now clock higher and address eight memory channels.

Nevertheless, there is talk of a completely new controller compared to the 960 PRO. It’s quite possible that Samsung is mainly referring to a possible performance or efficiency increase or the new coating. This consists of nickel and is supposed to enable improved heat dissipation. The Phoenix controller is supported by a 512 or 1,024 MB (512 GB/1 TB) LPDDR4 cache.

All hardware changes are intended to ensure that the SSD 970 PRO has an improved durability. Compared to the 960 PRO, the TBW value has been increased by 50%, which means 600 TB for the 970 PRO with 512 GB and 1,200 TB for the larger version with 1 TB.

As usual, the TBW value for the new SSD has more to do with the limitation of the warranty than with the actual expected durability, which is often many times higher. This is because the five-year warranty is only valid as long as the TBW values are not exceeded. For the MTBF point, 1.5 million hours are mentioned.

Elsewhere there are only minor improvements. Because even the SSD 970 PRO does not manage to deliver high performance over a long period of time. Because high temperatures are also quickly reached here, with a peak of almost 80 °C; Samsung names 70 °C as the limit for general operation.

The initial write speed of around 2,300 MB/s is then only turned into between 1,500 and 1,900 MB/s. At least the new SSD performs a bit better in this respect than its predecessor. However, Samsung could probably easily find a remedy, an effective heatspreader should only slightly increase the price of the drive.

Those who are dependent on sustained high transfer rates should plan an appropriate investment. Samsung is not alone with this problem. Because the small surface of the M.2 board generally prevents rapid heat dissipation.

Like the 960 PRO, the SSD 970 PRO also offers complete drive encryption according to the TCG Opal standard using the AES 256-bit algorithm. It should also be noted that the emptying of the device write cache must be disabled for full performance on the new Samsung SSD. This option can be found in the drive’s properties.

The power consumption values specified by Samsung cannot quite be achieved. The drive promises 5.2 W for reading and 5.7 W for writing. In contrast, about 6 and 7 W were measured in the test. In idle mode, the energy consumption was below the measurement threshold. Samsung names 5 mW for the L1.2 mode.

Samsung SSD 970 PRO in Benchmark test

Samsung SSD 970 Pro

Iometer is a fairly universal benchmark that can be used to examine the raw performance of a drive with almost any access pattern imaginable. The current version also adds the possibility to select the data pattern. Of particular interest here are the options “Repeating bytes” and “Full random”.

The first option always generates the same data pattern, so that a controller can compress this data heavily. Not all controllers do this by far, but some (e.g. SandForce) have a transparent compression and thus achieve, depending on the data pattern, a higher or lower data transfer rate.

The second option creates a 16 MB buffer with high entropy data, making compression very difficult (but not completely impossible). Controllers that compress are therefore tested with both data patterns and the results are marked accordingly with the “Full random” setting. The default setting is “Repeating bytes”, so the manufacturer’s specifications are usually also determined.

While the minimum request depth (also called Queue Depth, or QD) of one is typical for a desktop system (it can also be slightly higher, but is usually well into the single-digit range), the test with QD 32 shows the maximum of what the SSD is capable of. Under normal circumstances, such high query depths are only achieved in multi-user or server environments.

The 4K test is performed over an area of eight million logical sectors (512 bytes), the sequential test is performed over the entire capacity of the drive.

The Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB finishes high in almost all Iometer individual tests and thus ahead of its predecessor. However, this doesn’t apply in cases with low query depth in connection with small files, for example; even the 950 PRO passes here. On the other hand, the new SSD is unbeatable in sequential writing and reading, with an increase of up to 10% over the 960 PRO.

As the name suggests, the AS SSD Benchmark was developed especially for SSDs. It uses completely incompressible data, so this benchmark is practically a worst case scenario for compressing controllers. Sequential and 4K testing takes place at a queue depth of one. For desktop systems, the 4K test with QD 1 is again most important, whereas the test with QD 64 again shows the maximum (with activated NCQ).

In AS SSD the Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1 TB behaves largely as in Iometer. However, there are less conspicuous features when handling small files and low query depth. Overall, this benchmark also attests a performance increase in comparison to the Samsung 960 PRO.

The CrystalDiskMark’s result can be seen as confirmation of the manufacturer’s specifications. With up to 3,553 and 2,726 MB/s in reading and writing, the SSD 970 PRO is even slightly faster than advertised by Samsung.

The copy benchmark indicates how quickly data can be copied within the drive. The patterns used correspond to typical scenarios: ISO (two large files), program (many small files), game (large and small files mixed).

Thanks to higher peak speeds, which play a greater role in the copy benchmarks, the Samsung SSD 970 PRO ends up in the top spot in two out of three cases and well ahead of the last generation.

Samsung SSD 970 PRO Benchmark Performance in Everydays Use

Samsung SSD 970 Pro review

In the PCMark storage rating, the new SSD just misses the 960 PRO and – not surprisingly – ends up in second place behind the Intel Optane SS 900P, which is a bit out of competition.

The following diagrams show the transfer rate of the individual drives in the respective individual disciplines. The two game tests consist of the login, in Battlefield 3 the loading of a score and finally the start of the game.

To test the speed of the drives in an office scenario, Powerpoint, Excel and Word from Microsoft’s office suite are used. A document is opened, edited, saved and the program closed again.

In the less demanding office tests, the Samsung SSD 970 PRO puts up a neck-and-neck race with the 960 PRO and thus belongs to the top group in this area as well.

It looks a bit different in the partly very demanding Adobe applications. Here, the SSD 970 PRO 1 TB can only set itself apart if the read and write load is very high. But in the other individual tests it still ends up in the top group.

Samsung SSD 970 PRO in stress Test Benchmark

The following two diagrams show how long different drives take on average in the different phases to answer a read or write access. Here we restrict ourselves to the largest part of the trace benchmark, namely the “Photoshop Heavy” profile, where 468 MB are read and 5640 MB are written. Both this and the previous tests with HDTach and Iometer have their raison d’être, but these results should be more relevant to everyday life.

In comparison to the 960 PRO, Samsung has managed an improvement in latencies. In reading, the SSD 970 PRO 1 TB scores best in all stages of the test in comparison to the competition. When it comes to writing, it’s enough for a second place behind Intel at first, but in the recovery phases many drives hardly take anything – the new Samsung SSD can’t set itself apart in this respect.

When it comes to the transfer rate, the Samsung SSD 970 PRO is once again alone at the top. What’s striking is the comparatively strong increase with the beginning of the recovery phases, which was recently only seen to a similar extent on the Samsung 960 EVO.

Verdict

Anyone who has expected large leaps in performance after one and a half years will not find what they are looking for in the SSD 970 PRO 1 TB. However, this is primarily due to the values which the 960 PRO reached in the fall of 2016 and which are still high up. In this respect, it is remarkable that Samsung has tickled out a plus of about 10 to 20% in large parts.

But that alone is not enough to lure buyers. That is why Samsung has also turned its attention to durability. A 50% higher TBW value provides more composure when writing large amounts of data frequently. Above all, this is a clear message to the competition, which in most cases doesn’t even come close to offering similar values. Samsung, on the other hand, offers nothing special with a five-year warranty.

More annoying, however, is that Samsung has once again not sufficiently addressed the heat problem that has been occurring for years. The 960 PRO and 950 PRO have already been criticized for the throttling of the transfer rates, which in part already starts after a very short time.

Even a simple heatspreader could help, but Samsung leaves the user alone with this. It is of little consolation that the Samsung SSD 970 PRO starts braking a bit later than its predecessor and that more data has been written up to that point due to the higher overall performance.

Another point of criticism, however, is new – and can possibly only be mentioned temporarily: The lack of a drive with a capacity of more than 1 TB. According to the current state of affairs, Samsung will only release the 1 TB version tested here, as well as a 512 GB version; the predecessor also had a 2 TB model available. If you need a lot of space and high transfer rates, you’ll have to resort to the 960 PRO in case of doubt.

Prices only get cheaper if performance losses are accepted. For the Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1 TB, however, the following applies: performance has its price. Those who want to see for themselves can do so from 7 May. That’s when sales of the two new flagship SSDs will start.

Ranking Third: Samsung SSD 970 EVO

Samsung 970 EVO review


Pros

  • Good for Everydays Use
  • 5 years Warranty
  • Encryption supported

Cons

  • If too heated, less Performance

Not only does Samsung want to attract financially strong enthusiasts, but also a segment further down the line they do not want to lose buyers to the competition. Accordingly, not only the PRO line is refreshed, but also the middle class with the SSD 970 EVO.

It should not only achieve higher transfer rates than its predecessor, but also be more durable. Both of these factors, as well as a third reason, could, however, ensure that many a person will forego the expensive sister model and prefer to use the new EVO series. Why, the test of the 1 TB version of the SSD 970 EVO shows.

Despite various changes, which will be discussed elsewhere, Samsung is sticking to the previous hierarchy in the consumer retail sector. At the top is still the 9×0 PRO series in the form of the new 970 PRO, directly below it is the 9×0 EVO family. The 860 PRO and 860 EVO are followed by SSDs that are again less expensive, but also slower due to the SATA interface.

So far announced is the SSD 970 EVO in four expansion stages with 250 and 500 GB as well as with 1 and 2 TB. The latter drive could become at least a small problem for the 970 PRO. Because if Samsung still offered the 960 PRO as a 2 TB version, you’ll have to be content with 1 TB after the generation change.

If you need more space, you’ll either have to buy two copies of the current top model or reach for the largest SSD 970 EVO and possibly sacrifice a bit of speed. There isn’t a huge difference, at least according to the data sheet.

Samsung SSD 970 EVO in Detail

The main distinguishing feature between the EVO and PRO families will remain the same in 2018. While Samsung is still relying on 2-bit MLC chips for the 970 PRO, the SSD 970 EVO, like its predecessor, has to make do with TLC chips; Samsung speaks of 3-bit MLC. However, it may also carry the addition V-NAND, since the memory is not planar.

Among other things, this ensures a higher memory density and efficiency as well as a longer life expectancy. As with the 970 PRO, 64 instead of 48 layers are used for the first time, allowing the voltage to be reduced from 3.3 to 2.5 V. And the design of the M.2 board has also been adopted, which means that the SSD 970 EVO can now measure 80.1 x 22.2 x 2.4 mm.

In the tested 1 TB model, the memory is divided into two stacks of 16 chips each on the front, which take up almost half of the board. Another quarter is taken up by the controller named Phoenix, which is also used in the 970 PRO. Like the Polaris controller used up to now, five CPU cores are also available here, but these are now to achieve higher clock rates.

One core is specifically responsible for communication between the controller and the host system; Samsung is not revealing any further data apart from a new nickel coating for more effective heat dissipation. What is clear, however, is that eight memory channels can be addressed. As usual, the size of the cache available to the controller depends on the capacity of the SSD. The variants with 250 and 500 GB must manage with 512 MB, the drives with 1 and 2 TB get 1 and 2 GB. In all cases, the memory is of type LPDDR4; the 960 EVO had to make do with LPDDR3.

Similar to the 970 PRO, Samsung does not use the hardware changes to increase performance over the previous generation, but also to extend the life expectancy. The TBW plus is 50% each, which means 150, 300, 600 and 1,200 TB (drive with 250 and 500 GB and 1 and 2 TB).

As usual, the TBW value for the new SSD has more to do with the limitation of the warranty than with the actual expected durability, which is often many times higher. This is because the five-year warranty is only valid as long as the TBW values are not exceeded. For the MTBF point, 1.5 million hours are mentioned.

TurboWrite technology has been used by Samsung for some time now to speed up writing processes. While the basic principle – data is first collected in an SLC cache and then actually written – has not changed in recent years, the fixed cache size was abandoned last year with the 960 EVO.

Although there is still a clearly defined cache, it can now be expanded by a certain amount of TLC memory if necessary. Samsung distinguishes between default cache, intelligent cache and total cache. The capacity of the individual memories depends on the total size of the SSD.

In the tested 1 TB model of the SSD 970 EVO, the break-in occurs as expected after about 42 GB. From before about 2,300 MB/s writing, just under 1,200 MB/s remain. The fact that there is another big speed slump in the TurboWrite test after about 113 GB is due to the SSD’s temperature.

The SSD 970 EVO also has problems with too high temperatures – like many other M.2 SSDs. With continuous sequential writing, the performance collapses from about 2,300 to 1,400 MB/s after one and a half minutes. At this point, the measured temperature is above 70 °C.

About half a minute later the limit is reached, according to the tool at 83 °C. The write rate then fluctuates between about 1,400 and 1,800 MB/s. This problem should occur rather rarely in everyday life, as quite a few GB have been written in one go until the 70 °C mark is reached. Nevertheless, delivery with a heatspreader would be desirable to lower the temperature. As with the 970 PRO, Samsung saves this issue.

Like the 960 EVO, the SSD 970 EVO offers full drive encryption according to the TCG opal standard using AES 256-bit algorithm. It should also be noted that the emptying of the device write cache must be disabled for full performance on the new Samsung SSD. This option can be found in the drive’s properties.

The power consumption determined in the test only partially corresponds to the values specified by Samsung. The SSD 970 EVO should require 6 W each for writing and reading; about 8 and 7 W were measured. The company promises 30 mW for idle mode, and only 5 mW in L1.2 mode. Both values are below the measurement threshold.

Samsung SSD 970 EVO Benchmark Tests

If one refrains from sequential writing with simple query depth, the SSD 970 EVO always lands just before its predecessor. More striking, however, is how close the new SSD comes to the 970 PRO. In almost all passes, the more expensive drive is only 3 to 5% faster. One reason for this is the TurboWrite technology, which is fully effective in Iometers.

Also in AS SSD, the SSD 970 EVO almost always ends up before the 960 EVO, but unlike in Iometer, the plus is partly also in the two-digit range. Moreover, it shows at least to some extent why the investment in a 970 PRO can pay off. The SSD 970 EVO reveals at least a small weakness when reading small files with a simple query depth.

As usual, CrystalDiskMark serves as a confirmation of the manufacturer’s specifications. However, the SSD 970 EVO even performs a bit better than Samsung promises. But also here, the following applies: The SSD also profits from TurboWrite technology in this benchmark due to the file size.

The copy benchmarks show that TurboWrite technology can play a major role in everyday life. In two out of three tests, the EVO 970 scores as well as the 970 PRO. Only the gaming scenery with large and small files makes the SSD a bit out of step. Nevertheless, it’s still enough for a very good placement. Especially the increased speed in comparison to the 960 EVO is remarkable.

Even if the three office tests of the PCMark 8 make comparatively few demands on the SSD, the differences between the SSD 970 EVO on the one hand and the 970 PRO and 960 EVO on the other hand are big. It’s not enough for the top group in this category.

The Adobe tests show very clearly where the strengths and weaknesses of the SSD 970 EVO lie. In the two Photoshop runs, the SSD only lands just behind the 970 PRO.

The SSD 970 EVO performs better than its predecessor in terms of latencies, even if not to the same extent. Thus, the progress in reading is rather of a low nature, and in writing the reaction time was roughly halved, depending on the test sequence.

A look at the transfer rates also reveals a small, but still noticeable improvement. Because while the 960 EVO achieved lower and lower values from degrade phase to degrade phase, the new model loses far less speed. On the other hand, the jump is much smaller when switching to the recovery phase.

Verdict

If the increase in performance of the 970 PRO is rather small in comparison to its predecessor, the SSD 970 EVO, on the other hand, makes some big leaps. This is not because the 960 EVO from the previous year was and is a bad SSD – on the contrary. Much more likely Samsung has recognized that the pressure in the middle class has increased. More and more drives with a touch of upper class are being brought onto the market at low prices, the Plextor M9Pe being one example.

But Samsung hasn’t just turned the performance screw, but also promises a longer life expectancy. At least that’s how the 50% increased writing load in comparison to its predecessor and the extended warranty from three to five years can be understood.

Whether the Samsung SSD 970 EVO is the right SSD depends on the usage profile. The less data volumes in the high two-digit gigabyte range are written in one go, the more attractive the new model becomes.

Because then the TurboWrite technology can fully develop, which results in very high write rates. On the other hand, if you constantly move extensive backups and the like from A to B, you should look out for another drive. Not only does the transfer performance then drop considerably: The temperatures that arise under load give the SSD 970 EVO a hard time.

And this is the only weak point worth mentioning. As with the 970 PRO, Samsung saves the investment in improving the heat dissipation, although this problem has been around for a long time and is well known: If that doesn’t bother you, the SSD 970 EVO is a good SSD overall, which is fortunately offered in four capacities.

Especially the 2 TB version should be interesting, as it is priced below the 960 PRO. It could take revenge here that Samsung offers the 970 PRO with a maximum of 1TB. However, the manufacturer provides for a clear price hierarchy: The 970 PRO is between 30 and 40% more expensive with comparable capacity. And even a 960 PRO is still about 20% more expensive.


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