Samsung Announces SSD 990 EVO Power Efficient Solid State Drives

Samsung SSD 990%20EVO news
Samsung officially announced its 990 EVO PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 SSDs today, after it was leaked earlier this month when it was accidentally listed on Samsung's own website. The 990 EVO is technically Samsung's first PCIe 5.0 SSD, though it is not a top-end drives capable of double digit GB/s. Instead, the 990 EVO is the successor to the 970 EVO Plus from five years ago, and offers mid-range PCIe 4.0 performance as well as a unique hybrid PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 interface configuration.

Samsung will be offering 1TB and 2TB models of the SSD 990 EVO, ditching the lower capacity 250GB and 500GB models that it previously offered with the 970 EVO Plus. These models carry MSRPs of $124.99 and $209.99, respectively, which is significantly more expensive than the 970 EVO Plus at $94.99 for the 1TB and $179.99 for the 2TB model at the time of writing.

Samsung 990 EVO specs news

On the other hand, Samsung boasts that the 990 EVO has a 43% improvement in performance over the 970 EVO Plus, though that is only a comparison of the two drives' rated sequential read performance. The new SSD 990 EVO's 5,000MB/s is 42.8% more than the 3,500MB/s of the 970 EVO Plus. Samsung also claims the 990 EVO is 70% more power efficient, though the company didn't reveal actual figures in its press release. Given that the 970 EVO Plus has just hit its fifth birthday, it's not surprising that the 990 EVO would be faster and more efficient.

samsung ssd 990 evo front

The 990 EVO would be considered a PCIe 4.0-class SSD were it not for the fact that it can be configured for either four PCIe 4.0 lanes, or two PCIe 5.0 lanes. The bandwidth between both interfaces is identical at roughly 8GB/s, meaning the 990 EVO couldn't hit the speeds that PCIe 5.0 x 4 SSDs can even if its controller and NAND were capable.

Samsung mostly cited compatibility reasons when discussing its motivations for including both PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 lanes, but a PCIe 5.0 connection with four lanes would have been backwards compatible with PCIe 4.0 devices anyways. Enabling only a pair of PCIe Gen 5 lanes is likely a move to save power. However, it's not clear how much of the 70% greater efficiency figure hinges on using two lanes instead of four.

samsung ssd 990 evo bundle

While the 990 EVO is competitive with Samsung's own 970 EVO Plus, it's not clear where it will fit in within the wider market. There are many PCIe 4.0 SSDs that offer similar or better rated performance than the 990 EVO for a lower price, though we'll have to see where street prices ultimately shake out once availability ramps. Still, there's more to storage performance than what spec sheets say, and the rated performance and potenital efficiency of the 990 EVO may make it very potent in laptops and other devices where power efficiency is paramount.