Introduction & Drive Details
The recent trend in Gen4 NVMe storage is to market the drive for not only PC use but also for PlayStation 5 internal storage expansion. This trend is easy to understand when you consider the PS5 comes stock with a woefully inadequate 667GB internal SSD with an actual usable space of about 580GB. With the size of many of today's popular games regularly exceeding 100GB for an install, more fast internal storage is almost a requirement for a good PS5 user experience.
Sony recommends a Gen4 SSD with a minimum sequential read speed of 5,500 MB/s, a heat sink no more than 8mm above the top of the SSD PCB, and no more than 2.45mm below the SSD PCB. Combined total height, including the SSD, not to exceed 11.25mm. There aren't a whole lot of Gen4 M.2 NVMe options out there that meet Sony's stated requirements and still cool the SSD effectively. Cooling the SSD effectively is paramount for not only sustained performance but for noise control as well. If the expansion SSD hits a temp of 80c, then the PS5 cooling fan switches into high gear, bringing with it up to 56dB of unpleasantness, as illustrated by the graph below:
As you can see from the above graph provided by Samsung, proper heat mitigation is essential for the best user experience possible. The same goes for PC enthusiasts, albeit with lower noise pollution in the mix. Proper cooling is a big deal in the world of Gen4 solid state storage. Samsung offers something for its 980 Series SSDs that no one else in the industry does, and we love it. When you buy a Samsung 980 PRO or 980 non-PRO, you can make firmware level changes using Samsung's award-winning Magician Software as demonstrated below:
Samsung grants the user of its compatible SSDs the ability to fundamentally change how the SSD behaves. The user can choose from Full Performance Mode, Standard Mode, Power Saving Mode, or Custom Mode. The less power, the cooler the drive will run at a small expense of performance that may or may not be perceivable to the user. Samsung's 980 Series SSDs are the only NVMe SSDs that the user can tailor in this manner to fit one's individual needs.
Now being who we are, we always seem to default to MAXIMUM power, which is exactly what we did when performing our own temperature testing. Below is a 980 PRO without heat sink set to Full Performance Mode (with no airflow) after running two sets of 9 iterations of CDM sequential:
We had no problem quickly bringing up the drive's internal temperature to a fiery 79c under these conditions. Next, we took our 980 PRO with Heatsink (with no airflow) and subjected it to the very same 18 iterations of CDM sequential:
The 980 PRO with Heatsink maxed out at a cool 57c. Impressive, especially considering we are running full power mode. Samsung's new heat sink is beautifully designed and absolutely effective, perfect for PC or PS5 applications.
Having already tested the 980 PRO many times, we know it to be an elite performer; however, we've not tested the 1TB 980 PRO with 3 series firmware, so we will again put it through our exclusive gauntlet of benchmarks and see if there are any improvements worth noting. Samsung did mention there will be a newer firmware specifically tailored for the heat sink edition coming in the near future.
Although not pictured, we will mention that Samsung adopted a new eco-friendly packaging for 980 PRO with Heatsink. The Samsung 980 PRO with Heatsink is packed using a certified eco-friendly pulp tray.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XIII HERO - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i9-11900KF - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Alphacool Eissturm Hurricane Copper 45 - Buy from Amazon
- RAM: XPG DDR4 D50 Xtreme 5000MHz 16GB (8GB x 2) - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: Zotac 2080Ti AMP Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PrimoChill's Praxis Wetbench - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1000W 80+ Gold Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit Buy from Amazon
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
CDM testing reveals current firmware to deliver that same record-breaking 102 MB/s 4K Q1T1 read that the 980 PRO is known for. Additionally, we are getting slightly better sequential write performance than we got with 2 series firmware.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
The 980 PRO is all about performance where we want to see it the most. Read. Compared with previous firmware, 3 series firmware takes a slight step back here. Still top of the heap, though.
ATTO also shows a slight regression with 3 series firmware.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10
Here, we essentially see no difference between the firmware revisions.
Again, essentially no difference between the firmware revisions, but we are delighted to see 4,000 MB/s read transfer as it's a milestone of sorts in the lab.
Game Level Loading
This is a nice improvement and one where it matters. Gaming is what the 980 Pro with HS is designed to do, so even a slight improvement here is worth noting. Outstanding.
PCM10 Storage Tests
PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.
The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
500 MB/s storage bandwidth is what we are looking for here, and the 980 PRO once again delivers the goods in an elite manner.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
Just a touch lower than before here as well, but the 980 PRO with Heatsink manages to deliver the 450 MB/s storage bandwidth we want to see here as well. Nice.
Samsung has done with the 980 PRO with Heatsink what Samsung always seems to do when they set out to do something; they do it right. Our testing shows Samsung's exquisitely designed PS5 compatible heat sink to be highly effective. Despite its compact size, it delivers cool temps as good as anything we've seen, even when running in full power mode. Impressive.
Even without a heat sink, the 980 PRO is inherently cooler running than most other Gen 4 SSDs for a few reasons. First, the 980 PRO is the most power-efficient SSD in its class:
Another reason being the 980 PRO is a single-sided SSD with all heat-generating components located on one side of its PCB. It is easier to cool than double-sided SSDs. Lastly, the 980 PRO, even the 2TB model, only has two flash packages on board when we commonly see other brands with up to eight flash packages at 2TB. Fewer components, less power draw, less heat, easier to cool.
We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. When an SSD scores 7,000 or more here we designate it as TweakTown Elite. The 980 PRO with Heatsink 1TB is a TweakTown Elite Performer. Outstanding.
Cool temps, PS5 compatibility, and certified TweakTown Elite, Samsung's 980 PRO with Heatsink has earned our highest award.
- Cool Temps
- Low Power
- PS5 Certified
The Bottom Line
Certified TweakTown Elite, cool under fire and ideal for PS5, the 980 PRO HS is hard to beat.