So… on our PCIe Gen 4 Test Bench today we have an SSD that is rather exciting. It is the Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD and, not only is it the smallest and fastest SSD on the planet right now, but also, it’s…very cool! By cool, we don’t mean that is trendy or awesome per se, but rather, its temperature is something that we don’t think anyone really expected. You see, up until today…there has only really been one company to market a PCIe 4.0 SSD controller and that is Phison with their PS5016-E16 NVMe Gen4 controller. The competition.
To say the E16 is hot is just a bit of an understatement. Hot, of course, meaning that it has been the be all and end all of PCIe 4.0, at least until today. Manufacturers quickly latched on to the E16 and we have seen it in our reviews of the Corsair MP600, Seagate FireCuda 520, Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 and Silicon Power US70, each reaching 5GB/s and making things such as editing 8K video that much more fluent. The norm, or so we thought, was that PCIe 4.0 would mean much faster data transfer creating a much higher heat threshold which required some form of passive or active cooling solution. Up until today, PCIe 4.0 SSDs had to have a heatsink to take away the heat created by the Phison controller. But wait…
That is not the case with the Samsung 980 Pro. This SSD reaches an unheard of 7GB/s and I have had it running in my system for a few days, without any heatsink whatsoever. For typical PC operations, it’s temperatures are just like any other at 42°C. Don’t get caught though. If you are moving a lot of data, you will find out soon enough that the 980 Pro’s temperature will spike to just over 80°C and there doesn’t seem to be any thermal throttling within the firmware that cuts the speed…and temperature. And because of this, Samsung recommends the 980 Pro be partnered with some sort of cooling solution. Forward looking however, it gets just a bit easier to conceive of a Gen 4 SSD contained ultrabook being brought to market sooner than later.
The Samsung 980 Pro is available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB and 1TB with 2TB to be added on at a later date. It is a PCIe 4.0 x4 (4 lane) NVMe 1.3c form factor 2280 (80mm) M.2 SSD and the 1TB 980 Pro we are testing today can reach speeds of 7GB/s read and 5GB/s write with up to 1 million IOPS at low 4K random read and write data transfer. It also has AES 256-bit full disk encryption and is TGC/Opal V2.0 and IEEE1667 compliant. Performance is variable, depending on the capacity purchased as shown here:
As nice as it is to see this performance in a SSD, it is just a bit of a let down that the 2TB capacity hasn’t become the standard for first releases as of yet. We would love to continue with this as our boot drive but it simply hasn’t the space for what we need to store.
The 980 Pro is built on Samsung’s latest Elpis 8nm PCIe 4.0 x4 (four lane) NVMe 1.3c controller and this SSD contains two pieces of Samsung’s latest 6th Generation 3-bit TLC V-NAND which boasts faster speed and lower power than the previous generation. As well, there is a 1GB package of LPDDR4 DRAM cache. As unfortunate as it is seeing the Pro line move from MLC to TLC memory, the price-point of this SSD could never have been achieved otherwise. The 980 Pro also comes with the standard 5-year limited warranty with a Total Bytes Written rating of 150TB (250GB), 300TB (500GB) and 500TB (1TB).
The 980 Pro leverages both the DRAM cache as well as a dynamic SLC buffer and performance drops substantially once the buffer is filled as shown in this chart that speaks to Samsung Intelligent Turbowrite 2.0:
MSRP pricing for the Samsung 980 Pro is $89.99 for the 250GB capacity, $149.99 for the 500GB and $229.99 for the 1TB capacity. As much as we might mention that these prices are just a bit high in comparison, one could never state prior that they could achieve 7GB/s performance from a PC for under $100. Besides, this is Samsung’s premium SSD which has always held the reputation of being amongst the best. Check Amazon for availability and pricing.