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Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD Review - The 96-Layer Refresh (Page 1)

Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD Review - The 96-Layer Refresh

Samsung has high-speed 96L memory and isn't afraid to use it. The EVO Plus is the first workstation-class TLC SSD.

By Chris Ramseyer | Jan 30, 2019 01:25 pm CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Samsung


On paper, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is the fastest consumer SSD shipping today. By the end of this review, we will both be convinced the new EVO Plus is the first true workstation-class 3-bit per cell SSD to hit the market. The drive is so fast that Samsung hasn't mentioned anything about a 970 Pro refresh, and with this level of performance, the company may never have to.


The source of the new 970 EVO Plus's power comes from the 5th generation V-NAND with 1.4 Gbps bus speed, the highest released thus far. The bus speed is 40% faster than the previous generation (64-layer). To put the bus speed in light, the Western Digital Black SN750 we tested the other day uses a flash to controller bus speed of 533 Mbps.

Samsung made other enhancements to the new 96-layer release. The data write speed is now 500µs, a 30% improvement. The response time to read signals is now 50µs. The last known improvement comes from the operating voltage. The new 96L memory uses just 1.2v compared to the 1.8v on the previous generation.

The 970 EVO Plus's story isn't just about technical marvel or a cluster of numbers. Samsung wants the full fairytale; a tale of redemption. For several generations, Samsung SSDs were the envy of the market. Everyone wanted a Samsung SSD for a number of reasons, but performance was always at the top of the list.

IMFT's 64L TLC caught everyone off guard. For the first time in the modern SSD era, Samsung couldn't claim the fastest consumer SSD (when you put the 970 Pro in the prosumer category with a price to match). In consumer applications, drives like the HP EX920, ADATA SX8200, Mushkin Pilot and Intel SSD 760p overshadowed the 970 EVO's performance. The new Samsung 970 EVO Plus is here to right the ship but in order to succeed, to have the happy-ending Samsung wants; it has to outperform its new challengers.



On paper, the new Samsung 970 EVO Plus is an absolute beast. There are four capacities like the original 970 EVO, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and a 2TB model.

Samsung tapped the Phoenix controller that powers most of the modern NVMe drives from the company including the 983 ZET "Z-NAND" enterprise SSD that rivals Intel's Optane in responsiveness. Still, the controller is the same as the previous generation, and the newfound performance comes from the memory that we already discussed.

The sequential read performance peaks at the upper atmosphere of PCI Express 3.0 x4, 3,500 MB/s. The sequential write performance is the highest on record yet, 3,300 MB/s. This is 300 MB/s higher than the new drives with the Phison E12 and Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2262EN controllers.

The random performance also breaks new ground. Samsung claims up to 620,000 read and 560,000 write IOPS for all four capacities.


A 970 EVO Plus carries over support for TCG Opal and Microsoft's eDrive. There are very few retail consumer SSDs shipping today with self-encrypting drive (SED) technology on the market today. The EVO Plus features AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption to keep your data safe while also keeping performance high compared to software-based encryption engines.

Samsung made enhancements to Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) to deliver longer sustained writes, at a higher speed, before throttling the drive.

Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance

Samsung only released pricing details on the 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB models. The 2TB will come to market later this year and market conditions will determine the price. For now, the 970 EVO 250GB costs $89.99, and that increases to $129.99 for the 500GB. The 970 EVO 1TB carries an MSRP of $249.99.

The endurance ratings stayed the same as the previous generation with 150 TBW for each 256GB block of memory.

Value-Add Accessories


The 970 EVO Plus series works with Samsung's Magician and Data Migration tools.

A Closer Look


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Chris Ramseyer

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

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