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.
There have been problems reported with the use of earlier Samsung PCIe SSD drives and Dell XPS 8920 desktops that won’t boot in the AHCI mode. This has been reported in the Dell.com User Forums. The 8920 only recognize the Samsung drives in RAID mode. Any word on this with the latest Samsung PCIe drives?
Hey Richard and thanks for writing. I was not familiar with that issue so dug this up. I hope it helps, but unfortunately cannot comment on that and newer drives:
Having said that, I don’t believe the issue will be with the SSD so much as the system bios and setup. SSDs all follow the NVMe protocol to minimize configurability issues. Any SSD should work, or cause that same problem. I could be wrong.
Thank you very much for your detailed review on the Samsung 980 Pro. could you please make a review about the new “AORUS Gen4 AIC SSD 2TB ” from Gigabyte. it is claimed to reach 15GB/s in read speed and 9.5 GB/s in write speed. it has the capacity to include 4 NVMe M.2 SSD’s and get connected to a PCIe Gen 4.0 slot on a motherboard. the link to this product is:
it would be interesting to see it’s performance against those single SSD’s in the article table.
I would love nothing more than to test that SSD, as would a number of reviewers but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. Ig you have any contacts…please let them know!
If you could review the new drives such as the Adata XPG Gammix S70 which are based on the Phison E-18 it would be appreciated. Thanks.
Les, For those lowly mortals still on PCIE 3 (or even 2!) can you include some benchmarks comparing PCIE 4 ssd’s at these lower speeds, also does PCIE x 8 give the same performance as 4 x 4? Thanks.
would be nice to have this PCIe 4.0 / 3.0 Spec mentioned in the real world overview graph (note very body has this directly in mind when reading the names of the devices)
In addition would be awesome to always have the winner of The PC Mark Standard benchmark also in this graph, just to compare new exppensive memory technology (xpoint) to the evolution of nand…
Many thanks for all your great work!
With the price of the 970 Pro 1TB dropped to $270 on Amazon it becomes an interesting comparison with the 980 Pro which is only $40 less.
Simple choice between mlc and tlc memory. I have always been one to also push getting the right SSD for your needs so, unless you are getting the 980 Pro for PCIe 4…