Almost two years ago, Samsung brought to market the world's first 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD, the 960 Pro 2TB. The exotic MLC powered 2TB 960 Pro came with eye-popping $1,300 price tag that placed out of reach for the typical consumer. Now, Samsung is back with another 2TB single-sided M.2 NVMe SSD and this time it's much more affordable. Enter the 970 EVO 2TB. Like the 960 Pro 2TB, Samsung's 970 EVO is a desirable single sided design but thanks to advances in 3-bit flash technology, the cost of ownership isn't nearly as steep.
When the 2TB 960 Pro emerged on the scene, Samsung's own 256Gbit flash was the highest density in production. The 960 Pro employed four 512GB flash packages, each composed of sixteen 256Gbit (32GB) die. With 512GB flash packages at the top of the food chain, Samsung had to fit four flash packages, DRAM and a controller on one side of the 2TB 960 Pro's PCB to achieve a single-sided design. Not easy to do.
Samsung's 2TB 970 EVO is the first consumer NVMe SSD to arrive armed with 512Gbit V-NAND. The density afforded by 512Gbit flash allows Samsung to fit 1024GB (1TB) of storage on a single sixteen die flash package. With 1TB of V-NAND on a single flash package, a single-sided 2TB M.2 SSD with a conventional two-package flash array is possible.
Having already tested the 1TB 970 EVO, which earned an editor's choice award, we have high expectations for the 2TB model. However, we also know that with different flash (256Gbit vs. 512Gbit), there may be some performance differences as well.
The 970 EVO is powered by Samsung's "Phoenix" NVMe controller. Phoenix, like its predecessor "Polaris" is a 5-core ARM-based processor. One core is dedicated to host communication and the other four to the drives NAND array. Samsung's Phoenix controller features increased core-clock speeds and enhanced thermal capabilities over previous generations.
With Samsung's potent Phoenix controller powering a 64-layer V-NAND flash array, the 970 EVO delivers performance that is far better than the 960 EVO. The 970 EVO provides up to 32% faster sequential speeds and up to 36% faster random speeds than its predecessor.
Samsung's 64-layer 3-bit V-NAND is faster and more enduring than the previous generation 3-bit V-NAND. Material improvements and lower voltage requirements for cell programming have increased the 970 EVO's endurance rating by 50% at each capacity point over the 960 EVO. Additionally, Samsung has increased the EVO's warranty period from 3-years to 5-years.
Like the 960 EVO, the 970 EVO employs a copper infused label on the back of the drive's PCB for enhanced heat dissipation. In addition, the Phoenix controller is nickel plated allowing it to dissipate heat faster which helps maintain peak performance better than ever before.
The 970 EVO's improved thermal performance delays the trigger point of Samsung's Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) by 14 seconds in comparison to the 960 EVO.
Higher throughput and DTG triggering 14 seconds later than before allows the 970 EVO to transfer approximately 26% (approximately 32GB) more sequentially written data before thermal throttling is induced.
Samsung's 2TB 970 EVO is more about capacity than anything else. 2TB of super-fast NVMe storage on a tiny single-sided M.2 x 2280 SDD is very appealing and unique in the world of storage. As it stands, the 2TB 970 EVO has no direct competitor, because so far no one else has delivered a similarly configured M.2 SSD. Others are coming, but Samsung's 2TB 970 EVO is the first.
Let's get into the review and see how the world's first NVMe SSD equipped with 512Gbit flash performs.
Specifications, Features and Availability
Samsung 970 EVO NVMe 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Samsung's 970 EVO series is available at four capacity points: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB
The 2TB 970 EVO we have on the bench sports the following factory specifications:
- Sequential Read: up to 3,500 MB/s
- Sequential Write: up to 2,500 MB/s
- Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 500,000 IOPS
- Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 480,000 IOPS
- 4K QD1 Random Read Speed: up to 15,000 IOPS
- 4K QD1 Random Write Speed: up to 50,000 IOPS
- Endurance: up to 1,200 TBW
- MTBF: 1.5 Million Hours
- Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
Features: TRIM (Required OS support), Garbage Collection, S.M.A.R.T Monitoring, Samsung NVMe Driver 3.0.
Data Security Features: AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0, Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667).
Available Free Software: Samsung Magician SSD Toolbox, Samsung Data Migration Tool and Samsung NVMe driver 3.0.
Samsung, as they always do, provide value-add software for your 970 EVO available free via download. Samsung's Magician SSD Toolbox allows you to monitor the drive, tune your OS for optimized SSD usage, update firmware, Secure Erase, and test performance.
Samsung's Data Migration software makes it as easy as a couple of mouse clicks to migrate your Operating System to your new 970 EVO SSD. Samsung's NVMe driver 3.0 provides better performance, better data security and higher compatibility.
MSRP Samsung 970 EVO Series:
250GB = $109.99
500GB = $199.99
1TB = $399.99
2TB = $799.99
Note: The prices given reflect Samsung's updated MSRP.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [Drive Details]
- Page 3 [Test System & Drive Properties]
- Page 4 [Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 5 [Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 6 [Benches (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks 70/30 Mixed Workload & Sustained Seq. Write]
- Page 10 [Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]