Sony should be detailing its next-gen PlayStation 5 console in full in the coming weeks, but our friends at LetsGoDigital have been ahead of that for a while now -- so much so that they think Samsung will be providing a new NVMe-based 980 EVO SSD.
Samsung unveiled its new PCIe 4.0-based 980 PRO SSD at CES 2020 earlier this year, touting huge 6.5GB/sec speeds -- but that's a new flagship NVMe M.2 SSD and we shouldn't expect the very best that isn't even available to consumers on the PC, inside of a mass-produced next-gen console. This is where the 980 EVO SSD comes into play.
The difference between the EVO and PRO ranges of Samsung's NVMe-based SSDs is that the EVO family of drives uses TLC triple-level cell VNAND memory chips. This means Sony could be asking for mass-produced 980 EVO drives from Samsung, offering larger capacities but it could come at a (slight) cost in terms of performance and the life of the SSD. We're still talking about crazy 6GB/sec speeds that will see games loading in less than 10 seconds, and in some cases -- even less than 1 second with a PlayStation 5 prototype running Spider-Man.
There's another option -- a QVO-based Samsung SSD that would be a quad-level cell storing, but this would reduce speeds and longevity of the drive inside of an expensive new PlayStation 5 even further. Samsung could do this, but I think we'll see (if these rumors are true) the faster 980 EVO-based offering.
Now, then we have to talk price... a new PCIe 4.0-based Corsair MP600 drive at 1TB costs around $250, while a Samsung 970 PRO costs $350. But, Sony would be negotiating a much better price on securing 10s of millions of these drives for 10s of millions of PlayStation 5 consoles over the next 5 years. There is a big difference between selling a few thousand drives to enthusiasts with PCIe 4.0-based motherboards (Ryzen 3000 series boards only) and upwards of 100 million next-gen PlayStation 5 consoles.
Surely Samsung would love to have a gigantic multi-billion-dollar order of next-generation console sales for its SSDs versus some enthusiasts, and that's where much better prices can come from through negotiations and multi-year deals. Sony wouldn't want to re-do any of its fabs to make its own (which it could) and would instead go to a storage leader like Samsung.