The competition is fierce because the options are plentiful. 2019 will be a great year for shoppers with an eye on accelerating PC performance through an often-needed storage upgrade. We have the drives you need to see to make an informed buying decision. The starting point this year, like many others, is Samsung's highly praised EVO series. Today we look at the latest in the series that takes advantage of new V-NAND technology.
The 970 EVO Plus is the first to use 96-layer memory technology that may not be exactly 96 layers. The company calls it 9x-layer, but we prefer the generic 96 number since that's the target for most companies. Samsung is the first company to build a NAND stack this high without using string-stacking technology that virtually glues two small die together. It's really a technological marvel but outside of tech nerds, most people could care less about the fine details.
The broad strokes that people care about revolve around three key areas, performance, reliability, and cost. Samsung's 96-Layer NAND features the fastest bus speed with 1.4Gbps throughput between the controller and the flash. The memory uses less power than the previous generation while breaking records for 3-bit per cell latency.
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 and a full 1,000 MB/s more than the 500GB EVO released less than a year ago.
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 pricing. 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.
The 970 EVO Plus series works with Samsung's Magician and Data Migration tools.
A Closer Look
The 970 EVO Plus didn't change much on the outside compared to the previous generation. The drive still packs the components on one side making it usable in notebooks that cannot accept a double-sided M.2 SSD. On the back of the drive, there is a special sticker that uses a copper strip inside to spread the heat generated by the components on the other side.
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