Samsung 970 PRO NVMe M.2 SSD9.5/10 (Expert Score)
M.2 2280 1TB PCIe Gen3. X4, NVMe 1.3
Unlike most competitors, Samsung still insists on building consumer-oriented SSDs with MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash. This is a more expensive type of memory that – all other things equal – offers much better endurance as well as performance compared to the more common TLC NAND. Although the 970 PRO has many things in common with the more affordable (and popular) 970 EVO and EVO Plus there are some key differences due to the choice of memory chips.
Memory Type, Controller and Cache
Just like the 970 EVO, the 970 PRO is equipped with Samsung’s proprietary Phoenix controller, which is also used in a few other Samsung NVMe SSDs such as the PM981 (an OEM disk) and the enterprise models PM983 and SZ985. It is a successor to the Polaris controller used in the 960 series.
Thanks to its use of 64-layer MLC ‘3D’ (vertically stacked) NAND, the Samsung 970 Pro will perform better than the TLC-based 970 EVO in nearly all synthetic and real-world benchmarks. In this regard, it has more in common with its predecessor, the 960 PRO.
Also, because it uses higher-end memory, the 970 PRO doesn’t have – or need – an SLC cache to speed up write transfers. However, both of the available capacities have an LDPPR4 DRAM cache: 512 MB in the 512 GB model and 1 GB in the 1 TB drive.
Few M.2 PCIe drives from 2018/2019 can compete with the Samsung 970 PRO. It’s sequential performance (512 GB capacity) is 3500/2700 MB/s (read/write), while random performance is up to 370K/500K IOPS (read/write) at a queue depth of 32.
Power Consumption (Laptop Suitability)
The two currently available capacities, 512 GB and 1 TB, are quite similar in terms of power consumption, with a slight increase as you move to the larger drive. According to Samsung, the 512 GB uses on average 5.2 W – 8.5 W on load, versus 5.7 W – 8.5 W for the 1 TB model.
Idle power consumption should be no higher than 30 mW.
These figures are neither very high nor very low compared to the competition. .
Warranty and Endurance Rating
Last but not least, the endurance ratings in TBW (terabytes written) are twice those of the TLC model, or about 0.6 full drive writes per day throughout the 5-year warranty period.
Samsung 970 PRO TBW ratings:
- 600 TBW for 512 GB model
- 1200 TBW for 1 TB model
As our testing revealed, Samsung’s 970 Pro 1TB is without question the best performing flash-based consumer SSD you can buy at this time and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The 970 Evo and 970 Pro are not a revolution, but evolution: 3d-nand with a higher density and a higher clocked controller are the most important changes.
- Best M.2 SSD 2018/2019
- Great performance
- Excellent durability
- Somewhat expensive
Specification: Samsung 970 PRO NVMe M.2 SSD