Samsung SSD 970 EVO NVMe 1TB SSD Review

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970 EVO Gets Some Phoenix Controller Action

Samsung today introduced the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO, the third generation of their NVMe SSD lineup. The Samsung SSD 970 EVO series is available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities ranging in price from $119.99 to $849.99. The 970 EVO series is equipped with Samsung’s latest 64-layer 3-bit TLC V-NAND Flash and the brand new Samsung Phoenix controller. That combination allows for blistering sequential read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 2,500 MB/s while being backed by a 5-year warranty and endurance ratings of 150TBW for every 250GB of storage space. The 4K random performance is up to 500,000 IOPS read and 480,000 IOPS write on the Samsung SSD 970 EVO series, so these drives are aimed at consumers looking for next-level performance on their PCs.

Samsung SSD 970 Series

Most all SSD makers have switched to TLC NAND for all of their drives, but Samsung continues to offer MLC-based drives under their PRO brand and TLC-based drives under the EVO brand. The Samsung SSD 970 PRO series comes at a premium price and aimed at a small niche of users, but has the highest performance and endurance ratings. The Samsung SSD 970 EVO series is aimed at the mainstream market with very respectable performance numbers and endurance ratings at much lower price points. Take a look at the table below to see the key differences between the past several series of Samsung M.2 PCIe NVMe drives.

Samsung NVMe SSD Comparison
970 PRO 970 EVO 960 PRO 960 EVO 950 Pro
Controller Samsung Phoenix Samsung Polaris Samsung UBX
Form Factor M.2 2280
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Protocol NVMe
NAND Samsung 64-layer MLC V-NAND Samsung 64-layer TLC V-NAND Samsung 48-layer MLC V-NAND Samsung 48-layer TLC V-NAND Samsung 32-layer MLC V-NAND
Capacity 512GB, 1TB 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 512GB, 1TB, 2TB 250GB, 500GB, 1TB 256GB, 512GB
Sequential Read 3500 MB/s 3500 MB/s 3500 MB/s 3200 MB/s 2500 MB/s
Sequential Write 2700 MB/s 2500 MB/s 2100 MB/s 1900 MB/s 1500 MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD32) 500k IOPS 500k IOPS 440k IOPS 380k IOPS 300k IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 500k IOPS 480k IOPS 360k IOPS 360k IOPS 110k IOPS
Endurance (500GB/512GB) 600TBW 300TBW 400TBW 200TBW 400TBW
Launch Date April 2018 October 2016 October 2015

The new 970 EVO series offers 50% higher endurance than the 960 EVO series thanks to Samsung’s new 64-layer 3bit V-NAND being faster and having more endurance than Samsung’s 48-layer 3bit V-NAND. On the performance front, the 970 EVO has up to 32% faster sequential speeds and up to 36% faster faster random speeds than the 960 EVO series. Samsung also also bumped up the warranty from the 3-years offered on the 960 EVO series to a more generous 5-years on the 970 EVO series. The other nice thing about the 970 EVO series series is that Samsung is offering a 2TB version, which is the highest capacity of either 970 series model. Samsung SSD 970 EVO Retail Packaging

Samsung SSD 970 EVO Performance, Endurance & Pricing:

Model MZ-V7E250 MZ-V7E512 MZ-V7E1T0 MZ-V7E2T0
Capacity 250GB 500GB 1TB 2TB
Cache 512MB LPDDR4 1GB LPDDR4 2GB LPDDR4
Controller Samsung Phoenix
3bit TLC NAND Samsung 64-Layer
Max Sequential Read 3,400 MB/sec 3,500 MB/sec
Max Sequential Write 1,500 MB/sec 2,300 MB/sec 2,500 MB/sec
After TurboWrite (Min Seq. Write) 300 MB/sec 600 MB/sec 1,200 MB/sec 1,250 MB/sec
4KB Random Read QD1/1T 15,000 IOPS
4KB Random Write QD1/1T 50,000 IOPS
4KB Random Read QD32/4T 200,000 IOPS 370,000 IOPS 500,000 IOPS
4KB Random Write QD32/4T 350,000 IOPS 450,000 IOPS 500,000 IOPS
Avg. Active Read 5.4W 5.7W 6W
Avg. Active Write 4.2W 5.8W 6W
Idle (ASPT on) 30 mW
DevSLP Power (L1.2 mode) 5 mW
MTBF 1.5 million hours
Endurance / TBW 150 TB 300 TB 600 TB 1200 TB
Warranty 5-Years, Limited
MSRP in USD $119.99 $229.99 $449.99 $849.99

The exact model that we’ll be testing today is the Samsung SSD 970 EVO 1TB that is sold under part number MZ-V7E1T0 for $449.99 shipped or $0.45 per GB. This particular model has sequential speeds of 3400 MB/s read and 2500 MB/s write. With regards to 4K Random Read/Write performance, you are looking at 500k IOPS read and 450K IOPS write. The 600 TBW endurance ratings means you can write 328 GB of data to the drive per day for 5 years and still have a sliver of endurance left.

Samsung SSD 970 EVO 1TB M.2 Drive

The Samsung SSD 970 EVO has a black PCB design with a black label covering the major components. in fact, the Samsung SSD 970 EVO and 970 PRO share the same PCB, controller and LPDDR4 DRAM cache technology, so the only difference is really the NAND being used and the firmware that runs everything. The top of the Samsung Phoenix controller is silver since it has been nickle coated to help dissipate heat better.

Samsung SSD 970 PRO 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD

The back of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO doesn’t have any components on it since this is a single-sided ‘gum stick’ drive, but there is a special sticker on the back that has thin copper film inside to help dissipate heat. Samsung says that the new components along with the nickle coated controller have allowed for better thermal performance. The algorithm Samsung uses to trigger the Enhanced Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) has been also been raised. Internal testing done by Samsung has shown that the 970 EVO DTG trigger point comes 14 seconds later than the 960 EVO series. That means consumers can transfer approximately 26% more data (roughly 32GB) during sequential writes before this safeguard is kicked on.

970 EVO Dynamic Thermal Guard

The Samsung SSD 970 EVO series has an AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption engine built-in to ensure that your personal files remain secure and is TCG Opal v2.0 and Encrypted Drive-IEEE1667 (MS eDrive) compliant. Samsung has also launched Samsung NVMe Driver 3.0 with the released of the 970 series. This driver should be used on all Windows builds over the built-in driver for optimal performance, but also allows the 970 EVO to work properly on Windows 7 for those that still don’t want to move to Windows 10. Samsung Magician and Data Migration Software are included with the 970 series, but have no new features introduced.

Samsung NVMe Driver 3.0

Now that we’ve covered all that, let’s take a look at the test platform and get straight to the benchmarks!

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