Samsung’s newest SSD release is the 990EVO, a PCIe 5.0 SSD that runs at the lower end of PCIe 4.0 speeds. We have been running it through our test regimen for the last week or so and I have to say this SSD is a bit of an odd duck. It is forwards and backwards compatible as one might expect and runs well in both Gen 4 and Gen 5 systems as we have tested. It’s specification speak to 5000MB/s read and 4200MB/s write and Samsung speaks to the benefit of mobile use in their literature is the 990 EVO is up to 70% more power efficient than the former 970 EVO Plus.
The 990 EVO is now available in one and two terabyte capacities, is a M.2 style SSD of the 2280 form factor (22mm wide x 80mm long) and utilizes the latest NVMe Express 2.0 protocol. This SSD will use 4-lanes in a Gen 4 system and 2-lanes in a Gen 5 system as we are using today to achieve its speeds of 5000MB/s and 4200MB/s. Understanding lanes is a matter of importance in SSDs and a simple way to understand it is much the same as a highway, the more lanes available the faster things can get from one place to another. The speed of lanes doubles for every generation, a single lane accommodating 16Gbps in Gen 4 while Gen 5 is 32Gbps, twice fast, hence the reason we only need two-lanes in PCIe 5.0 vice four for the previous generation to achieve the same speed.
As with former gen Samsung SSDs, their are a number of common traits to include AES 256-Bit full encryption, TCG/Opal 2.0, IEEE1667 and this SSD comes with a 5-year warranty and has a 600 TBW (terabytes written) rating for the 1TB version that doubles for the 2TB version. In addition, the 990 EVO contains Samsung’s patented TurboWrite Technology which creates a high speed buffer within the memory that acts like much faster SLC (single-level cell) NAND.
The Samsung 990 EVO is a DRAM-less SSD which uses on board system memory via Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology in place of the DRAM cache chip. The controller is a very small Samsung S4LY022 ‘Piccolo’ DRAM-less NVMe SSD controller which sits along side two pieces of Samsung 3D TLC V-NAND NAND flash memory.
Checking Amazon, we can see the 990 EVO available now and at a much lower price than original MSRP pricing of $129.99 and $209.99. Pricing right now is $99.99 for the 1TB and $159.99 for the 2TB capacity. In addition, there is also Samsung Magician software available free of charge for your 990 EVO that assists in maintaining the SSD.
Samsung performance results on their own software show 5050MB/s read (slightly above spec) and 3733MB/s write (below spec) Lets dig a bit deeper into drive performance on the following pages…