Samsung 980 NVMe Gen 3 SSD Review – DRAM-Less SSDs Go Mainstream…and they are fast!


The SSD Review uses PCMark 8’s Storage test suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. With 10 traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games, it covers some of the most popular light to heavy workloads. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices. After an initial break-in cycle and three rounds of the testing, we are given a file score and bandwidth amount. The higher the score/bandwidth, the better the drive performs.

The result from this PCMark 8 Test is that second highest we have ever received…from a DRAM-less SSD.  Do we stand by the result?  Yup.  We ran it a number of times.  Is it time to retire PCMark 8?  Perhaps but if you look at the PCMark 10 result below, the Samsung 980 came back with great marks there as well.  Part of the reason we run so many different tests is because SSDs can be fine tuned to different benchmarks. The 980 seems to be fine tuned for all…as well as our True Data testing which you will see shortly.



PCMark 10 Storage Benchmarks produce an overall score as a measure of drive performance. Comparing devices is as simple as comparing scores. The tests also measure and report the bandwidth and average access time performance for the drive.  Each test uses traces recorded while performing real-world tasks such as booting Windows 10, starting applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, working with applications such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, and copying several large files and many small files.



We have put the Samsung 980 DRAM-less 1TB NVMe M.2 Gen 3 SSD NVMe SSD  NVMe SSD beside a number of  PCIe 3.0 SSDs for our true to life data testing.  In this test, we simply place 15GB files representing music, video, pictures and operating systems onto the target drive.  We then copy each file from one place on the target disk to another, recording the time taken for the transfer.

We wanted to include as many tested ‘Gen 3’ SSDs as possible so click on the chart to enlarge.  You will notice the ONLY other DRAM-less SSD is the HP900 right at the back of the pack.


Only through this test have we seen the Samsung 980 get pushed back just a bit.  It has been rock solid through all other testing, definitely not showing the lineage of a DRAM-less SSD.  Even here though, the ONLY other DRAM-less SSD to place on this chart is right there at the end, the HP EX900.


An update of Samsung Magician is expected to be released sometime in March 2021 which will have a new feature called ‘Full Power Mode’ that may provide even better performance results than we are seeing here.  There is little to speak of exactly how this will be accomplished, especially since this is a DRAM-less SSD, however maybe Samsung has found a way to accomplish what Intel has recently, as shown in our Intel 670p Report with their Intel MAS Performance Booster.  For now, we thought we might throw in the performance results of our new 980 series SSDs:





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