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Samsung 970 EVO 2TB SSD Review

Rating: 8.5.

We've been waiting quite a while to find out what Samsung had in mind to replace the hugely popular SSD 960 series, after all, it was launched back in 2016 – which seems like an eternity given how fast the NVMe market has been moving. Well, the wait is over as the new drives are here, and today we assess the 2TB 970 EVO.

The new SSD 970 series uses the latest Samsung 64-layer TLC V-NAND rather than the 48-layer used by the previous generation SSD960 series. Along with the new NAND, the new drives get a new controller called Phoenix, which replaces the Polaris controller of the SSD960. Samsung has kept details of the new controller pretty close to its chest but what is known is that it uses five cores (one of which is dedicated to communication duties between the controller and the host system) and has 8 NAND channels. With the launch of the SSD970 series Samsung has also introduced the 3.0 version of their NVMe driver.

The 970 EVO comes in a range of four capacities; 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and the flagship 2TB drive which Samsung kindly supplied for review. All the drives are built on a single sided M.2 format, and to enable the 2TB drive to be single sided it uses the 512Gb die version of the 64-layer NAND, while the rest of the range uses 256Gb die NAND.

Official performance figures for the 970 EVO are pretty impressive. Sequential read/write figures for the 2TB are drive are up 3,500MB/s and 2,500MB/s respectively. Incidentally the 1TB drive has the same write figure, while the 500GB drive is quoted as up to 2,300MB/s and 250GB entry model is 1,500MB/s. All three have the same 3,400MB/s read rating.

Random read/write performance, at a queue depth of 1 with a single thread, is up to 15,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS across the range. However, up the number of threads to 4 with a QD of 32 and the drives separate out. The 2TB and 1TB drives are rated at up to 500,000 IOPS reads, but with writes at up to 480,000 IOPS for the 2TB drive and 450,000 IOPS for the 1TB drive. The 500GB drive has the same write rating as the 1TB drive but with a 370,000 IOPS read figure. The 250GB drive has read/write figures of 200,000 IOPS and 350,000 IOPS respectively.

With the new NAND, Samsung has upped the warranty length for the drives, rising from the 3 years of the previous drives to 5 years with the 2TB drive having an endurance TBW rating of 1,200TB.

Physical Specifications:

  • Usable Capacities: 2TB
  • NAND Components: Samsung 64-layer 512Gb TLC V-NAND
  • NAND Controller: Samsung Phoenix
  • Cache: 2GB LPDDR4
  • Interface: PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Dimensions: 80.15 x 22.15 x 2.38mm
  • Drive Weight: 8g

Firmware Version: 1B2QEXE7

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