Advance in flash technology enables larger capacities to be attained in smaller SSDs such as the M.2. When it all started in 2007, consumer SSD storage maxed out at 32GB with the SanDisk U5000 SSD. That SSD in a Dell XPS started it all for us in fact, and that was a 2.5″ 9mm thick notebook SSD, something that has become somewhat extinct. That SSD also contained single level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory, which later developed into multi-level cell (MLC), triple level cell (TLC), all the way to the latest quad-level cell (QLC) which allows us to get a massive 8TB of storage on a M.2 SSD, measuring the size of a stick of gum. Stick of gum… I think I just dated myself as I don’t think gums such as Juicy Fruit have sold in the form for some time.
As we move to higher density NAND, we can store more data within a smaller space, enabling higher SSD capacities at a much lower price. Think of your cell phone storage today, compared to 5-6 years ago. Yes, your phone contains flash. The trade off is that endurance has been cut significantly as well as durability, and as well, manufacturers have had to come up with hardware and software methods to, not only maintain, but increase performance. And they have. I guess the key to all of this in today’s world is that, if you are looking into SSD storage, TLC is just about as good it gets at business and consumer level, while the now emerging QLC SSDs are geared towards the consumer and typical PC use.
The best example we can give actually falls into place with Samsung. Samsung began using MLC NAND flash memory prior to 2011 and through the 830 Series (our review), 840 Series, 950 Pro, 960 Pro, and their 970 Pro. TLC was introduced with the Samsung 840 EVO in 2013 and that SSD is still found at Amazon today in the Samsung Store. In short, Samsung has used MLC NAND flash memory in every Pro series…until the Samsung 980 Pro NVMe SSD we are reviewing today, This 980 Pro is the first to use Samsung’s newest latest 6th Generation 128-layer 3-bit TLC V-NAND.
Not to get your hopes up, but we have reviewed the 980 Pro in 250GB and 1TB capacities back in September 2020, hence the reasoning for our bit of a history lesson to break the ice. This article is meant to make you aware that Samsung has just released the 2TB capacity 980 Pro, as well as to again demonstrate benchmarks which pretty much match that of our Samsung 980 Pro SSD Review in 2020.
The Samsung 980 Pro is a PCIe 4 (Gen 4×4), M.2 SSD that is of the 2280 (80mm) form factor and uses the NVMe 1.3 protocol. It is available in 250GB, 500GB. 1 and 2TB capacities and we are testing the just released 2TB version in this report. Performance is listed at 7GB/s read and 5.1GB/s write with up to 1000K read and write IOPS at low 4K disk access. A full specification sheet can be found here.
The 980 Pro is built on a black PCB (printed circuit board) which contains Samsung’s newest Elpis Gen 4 NVMe controller, a Samsung 2GB LPDDR4 DRAM chip, along with two 1TB pieces of Samsung’s latest 6th Generation 3-bit 3D TLC V-NAND. The 980 Pro has AES 256-bit full disk encryption and this is a one-sided SSD. With respect to security, it is also accredited TCG/Opal V.20 Encrypted Drive.
MSRP pricing for the Samsung 980 Pro Gen 4×4 2TB SSD is $429.99 and they must be moving fast as Samsung e-mailed me today stating they are available on Amazon but it looks like they are sold out right now. Check Amazon stock again.