It's easy to recommend a Samsung solid-state drive (SSD) to someone who's building a new PC or just wants to upgrade the drive in an existing one.
Samsung's reputation for making SSDs is well founded and well respected. When reviewing a new laptop, hearing there's a Samsung drive inside is music to the ears. Indeed, in my own rig, I only run Samsung SSDs, and that's unlikely to change any time soon.
The top of the consumer lineup is the 970 range, split into the EVO and the Pro models. Both are fast, but naturally, the Pro is the king. The latest arrival is the 970 EVO Plus. It sits between the two, and my first question was: "Why does this exist?" Turns out, there's a pretty easy answer to that, and once again, Samsung has delivered a barnstorming SSD.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus specifications
|Capacity||250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Interface||PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3|
|Sequential read||Up to 3,500 MB/s|
|Sequential write||Up to 3,300 MB/s|
|Random read||Up to 620,000 IOPS|
|Random write||Up to 560,000 IOPS|
|NAND||5th generation Samsung V NAND|
|Controller||Samsung Phoenix Controller|
|Endurance||150 TBW (250GB)
300 TBW (500GB)
600 TBW (1TB)
Where the 970 EVO Plus fits into Samsung's lineup
As I said, the first question was to why this exists. The 970 EVO and 970 PRO are different enough, but in the case of many PC users, not so different as to make the more expensive SSD the recommendation. Indeed, the Samsung 970 EVO is one of our favorite SSDs for desktops and laptops. The Plus, then, you would expect to be a mild upgrade from the EVO?
Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers rapid, yet affordable SSD performance.
Not quite. As it happens, the 970 EVO Plus is a match for the 970 Pro in sheer performance, and in some cases, beats it handsomely. It's all about the write speed.
The 970 EVO has a top sequential write speed of 2,500 MB/s, while the 970 PRO maxes out at 2,700 MB/s. The 970 EVO Plus tops out at a whopping 3,300 MB/s. The same can be said of random write performance, where the EVO Plus again sits above the PRO and the EVO.
The 970 EVO Plus is based on Samsung's latest 96-layer V NAND memory, and with prices starting at just $89.99 for the 256GB storage capacity, this is an extremely enticing SSD.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus performance
Many of the features of the 970 EVO Plus are on par with Samsung's other NVMe SSDs, including the five-year warranty and the endurance of the drive. Where this little black stick differs is in its performance, in particular, if you're chasing the fastest write speeds possible, this is the one for you.
First, I checked the numbers in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark tool and compared our 500GB 970 EVO Plus with the 970 Pro.
It's also, as expected, significantly faster than the 970 EVO which we've previously seen hitting 3,519 MB/s and 2408 MB/s sequential read and write respectively. The 970 EVO Plus is also handily better for random read and write performance.
The results are similarly pleasing in the ATTO Disk Benchmark.
Samsung has mentioned folks who work with 4K video and 3D modeling as the kind of PC user this SSD is geared towards, and based on its performance I have to agree. If you work with large files, the write speeds on offer here are pretty mindblowing.
The 970 EVO Plus is compatible with the Samsung Magician app, though some of the features, notably RAPID Mode, isn't available (you don't need it on this drive!).
It's a nice little tool that I do recommend downloading, as it's a quick way to ensure your drive has the latest firmware, as well as being able to automatically ensure its performance is optimized and run a benchmark to see just how speedy it really is. It's especially handy if you're running multiple Samsung drives.
The bottom line
Once upon a time, an SSD with the performance like that of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus would have required a significant investment. Prices are no longer astronomical, and when you can get this drive at a starting price of $90, it's impossible to ignore. The only fault, if you can even call it that, is that the 2TB version won't be on sale until April.
As we've come to expect from Samsung's SSDs you're getting insane levels of performance, and it no longer requires emptying your wallet to get a piece of the action. Back the performance up with a five-year warranty and proven reliability and you're left with a no-brainer. If you want a fast SSD, get this one.
The Samsung 970 EVO will be on sale beginning January 22 with prices starting at $89.99.
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