Samsung 990 EVO Gen 5 2TB SSD Review


UL Solutions has created a new storage gaming benchmark that we will start to use as new SSDs come in. The 3DMark Storage Benchmark DLC extends 3DMark Advanced Edition with a dedicated component test for measuring the gaming performance of SSDs and other storage hardware. It supports all the latest storage technologies and tests practical, real-world gaming performance for activities such as loading games, saving progress, installing game files, and recording gameplay video streams.


Samsung’ entry of the 990 EVO  is rather odd as they draw the comparison to their 970 EVO Plus and the fact that this SSD up to 70% more power efficient than that SSD, that SSD being a DRAM based SSD in comparison to their more recent 980 release which is not.  Perhaps Samsung is wanting to keep the EVO line in its own space as a basis for comparison, but it is noteworthy to mention that the 990 EVO is actually a much better SSD all around than both the 970 EVO or the 980.  We need to keep in mind, however, that the Samsung 990 EVO is a DRAM-less SSD, as is the previous 980, and we will see great performance in tests that lie their strength in reading data, vice writing data where DRAM-less SSDs might fall short.

That question then brings up the old adage that the typical consumer does not rely on writing data nearly as much as they do reading data, and may never even notice the low write performance that became apparent in our testing today.  This was more than obvious in our True Data Testing Chart where the 990 EVO still placed middle of the pack in a comparison amongst other DRAM-less SSDs, and the realization of how far removed these results are from some of the niche SSDs we see today.  Checking out the result of the 990 Pro in this linked chart, we can see the Samsung 990 Pro is miles ahead of the 990 EVO in true data transfers.  That being said, one is not getting a 2TB 990 Pro for $159.99 as we see with the 990 EVO.  It is actually $10 more.


This is why we need to understand our needs with respect to SSDs, a common thought that has been suggested in so many of our reports over the years.  The right SSD for the right job.  Although we would never recommend a 990 EVO for  high end media manipulation tasks, there just may be a place for this in today’s consumer world, especially considering it is a fully backward compatible Gen 5 SSD.  In fact, it did unexpectedly well in some of our testing even breaking the Top 10 in the PCMark 10 Quick System Storage Benchmark.  As much as we might mention that we could not find a way to get its write speeds up to listed spec, its game loading result landed at #12 in Final Fantasy testing which we never expected.

It is also worthy of mention that, for our testing of the Samsung 990 EVO, we ran the tests four times in total which is somewhat unusual in itself.  The 990 EVO spent much time in two current evaluation systems and was put through its paces in both Gen 5 and Gen 4 mode for each.  We found all results to be virtually identical which gives us confidence in the fact that we could never hit the listed 4200MB/s write speeds at spec in CDM.  As for pricing, our recommendation for this SSD lies more so in ones need for a Gen 5 SSD, rather than its price.  The Samsung 990 Pro is only $10 more for the same capacity.

When all is said and done, the Samsung 990 EVO is the first value minded Gen 5 SSD that can demonstrate speeds above 5GB/s and comes with a 5-year warranty.  We are certain it will find its right place in the SSD market fairly quickly.  samsung always seems to pull that off.



Samsung 990 EVO Ratings

Product Build
5-Year Warranty
Price and Availability

Value-Minded Gen 5 SSD

The Samsung 990 EVO is a Gen 5 value minded SSD that achieves performance above 5GB/s with decent pricing and a 5-year warranty.

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