There is no denying that Samsung's EVO Series is facing stiff competition as competitors close the gap in 3-bit 3D flash technology. For the first time Toshiba/SanDisk and Intel/Micron have 3-bit 3D flash that can compete with Samsung's 3-bit V-NAND on the performance front. That said, Samsung is in no danger of losing the flash-based performance crown anytime soon. The reason? 2-bit V-NAND.
While other fabs are abandoning 2-bit flash production in favor of 3-bit, Samsung remains committed to furthering their 2-bit V-NAND technology because it gives them a perpetual advantage on the performance front. 3-bit flash can never deliver performance or endurance that is equivalent to 2-bit provided the underlying technology is also equivalent.
In 2015 Samsung introduced the world to M.2 NVMe SSDs with their 950 Pro Series. The 950 Pro dominated the enthusiast and professional landscape for one year before handing the torch to its successor the 960 Pro. The 960 Pro was the world's fastest consumer SSD at the time of its release and has carried the with it the flash-based performance crown until now.
Samsung has brought to market their third generation 2-bit V-NAND NVMe SSD 970 Pro Series.
The 970 Pro succeeds the 960 Pro as Samsung's flagship consumer SSD. The 970 Pro brings with it a new controller, new V-NAND, lower power requirements and improved thermal performance.
Like the 970 EVO, the 970 Pro is powered by Samsung's "Phoenix" NVMe controller. Phoenix, like its predecessor "Polaris", is a 5-core ARM-based processor. One core is dedicated for improving host communication and the other four service the drive's V-NAND array. Phoenix features increased core-clock speeds and enhanced thermal capabilities over Polaris.
Samsung's fourth generation 64-layer 2-bit V-NAND is faster and at the same time more power efficient than previous 48-layer V-NAND found on the 960 Pro Series.
As shown by the above chart, the 970 Pro's IOPS to watt efficiency has been dramatically increased in comparison to the 960 Pro. When reading random data, the 970 Pro is 41% more efficient than the 960 Pro. When writing random data, the 970 Pro is 50% more efficient than its predecessor.
Like its predecessor, the 960 Pro, the 970 Pro features a layer of copper film in the label on the back of the drive's PCB which helps dissipate heat faster. In addition, the Phoenix controller has a new nickel coating allowing it to dissipate heat faster which helps maintain peak performance better than ever before.
The 970 Pro's improved thermals and increased throughput allow more sequential write data to be transferred before throttling kicks in.
The algorithm triggered by Enhanced Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) allows the 970 Pro to transfer approximately 27% more data or 67GB during sequential writes before the DTG trigger point. The 970 Pro shows not only high performance, but also stable performance even after the DTG trigger point.
Samsung remains the only company with total vertical integration in the SSD business. Every major component (Controller, Flash, DRAM) are Samsung's own. This allows Samsung complete quality control, lower manufacturing costs and more efficient innovation than their competitors.
Samsung's vertical integration extends into the software front as well. Like all Samsung SSDs, the 970 Series is fully compatible with Samsung's own "Magician" SSD toolbox and Samsung data migration software. Samsung also provides a proprietary NVMe driver for the 970 Pro. Samsung's NVMe driver 3.0 significantly boosts performance and increases compatibility for Windows 7 users.
Let's get into the review and see for ourselves exactly what the 970 Pro is serving up.
Specifications, Features and Availability
Samsung 970 EVO NVMe 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Samsung's 970 Pro series is available at two capacity points: 512GB and 1TB
The 1TB 970 Pro we have on the bench sports the following factory specifications:
- Sequential Read: up to 3,500 MB/s
- Sequential Write: up to 2,700 MB/s
- Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 500,000 IOPS
- Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 500,000 IOPS
- 4K QD1 Random Read Speed: up to 15,000 IOPS
- 4K QD1 Random Write Speed: up to 55,000 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 Pro 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 Pro SSD. Samsung's NVMe driver 3.0 provides better performance, better data security and higher compatibility.
MSRP Samsung 970 Pro Series:
512GB = $249.99
1TB = $499.99
Note: The prices given reflect Samsung's updated MSRP.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
- 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]