Samsung SSD 980 Pro Review: Blazing Fast PCIe 4.0 Storage

Samsung SSD 980 Pro: Additional Benchmarks And The Verdict

EFD Software's HD Tune is described on the company's website as such: "HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more." The latest version of the benchmark added temperature statistics and improved support for SSDs, among a few other updates and fixes.

HD Tune v5.75 Pro
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The Samsung SSD 980 Pro's performance in HD Tune was a mixed bag. Average reads were strong, but trailed the Gigabyte Aorus NVMe PCIe Gen 4 drive. The 1TB Samsung SSD 980 Pro's read bursts were very good as well, but latency landed in the middle of the pack, behind the 970 Pro according to the workloads in this benchmark.

CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers using incompressible data. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to SSD performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

CrystalDiskMark x64 Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests

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The Samsung SSD 980 Pro drives were top performers throughout all of CrystalDiskMark's various tests, leading the pack in all but the high-queue depth 4K transfer benchmark -- at least with respect to reads. Writes with the 250GB drive trailed the higher capacity drives, as expected. Overall performance was quite good, though.

We like PCMark 10's new quick storage benchmark module for its real-world application measurement approach to testing. PCMark offers a trace-based measurement of system response times and bandwidth under various scripted workloads of traditional client / desktop system use cases.
Futuremark's PCMark 10 Storage

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The new Samsung SSD 980 Pros offered the best latency characteristics, highest bandwidth, and ultimately the highest overall scores in the PCMark 10 storage test. Even the lower capacity 250GB drive was able to outrun the previous-gen 970 Pro and PCIe Gen 4 Gigabyte drive with PCMark's workloads.

Samsung SSD 980 Pro Summary And Verdict

Although it wasn't a clean sweep across the board, Samsung's new SSD 980 Pro series of drives are arguably the fastest consumer SSDs currently available, for now. The 250GB and 1TB drives we tested offered the best overall read performance we have seen from a consumer SSD to date, especially at lower queue depths, which is key for traditional desktop / mobile use cases. Writes for the 1TB drive are also strong, but the 250GB model's smaller TurboWrite cache means lower average write speeds, at least with larger transfers that will exhaust the cache. For smaller transfers, it's not an issue at all. The trace based tests also had the Samsung SSD 980 Pro's finishing at the top of the heap.

It's not all positive news, though. Samsung's previous-generation Pro series NVMe SSDs didn't need TurboWrite for optimal write performance because they featured MLC NAND flash memory. Previous-gen Pro series drives also had much higher endurance ratings as a result. The new Samsung SSD 980 Pro series is actually more in-line with their EVO-branded siblings, which use older TLC V-NAND and also leveraged TurboWrite to optimize write performance. That said, looking back through the numbers, Samsung SSD 980 Pro series drives are clearly strong performers with some of the best latency characteristics, low queue depth 4K reads, and sequential transfer speeds currently available.

Pricing for the Samsung SSD 980 Pro series is competitive, but lands somewhat at the higher end of the spectrum, as you would expect given their high performance. The 1TB drive has a $229 MSRP, and the 500GB  and 250GB drives arrive at $149 and $89, respectively. Those prices fall somewhere in the middle of the current crop of PCIe Gen 4 NVMe drives, but somewhat higher than most Gen 3 drives. Given Samsung's strong track record in the space and the 980 Pro's strong overall performance, however, pricing is not out of line and we suspect these drives will be just as popular as their predecessors.

  • Great Performance
  • Super Fast Sequentials
  • Strong Trace-Based and 4K Read Results
  • Good Endurance
  • Better Built-In Cooling
  • Price Premium
  • Endurance Lower Than Previous-Gen Pro Series Drives

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