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Samsung 970 EVO 2TB SSD Review

In the time frame between the SSD 960 and SSD 970 launches, the NVMe market has become a much more competitive place with drives like WD’s Black NVMe offering serious competition to Samsung’s once dominant 960-series in various market segments.

Not only that, but in the same time frame, the value market segment for NVMe drives has sprung up from nowhere and already is a fiercely competitive arena.


The new SSD 970 series upgrades the NAND of the previous generation SSD 960 and sees the introduction of a new controller. The SSD 970 EVO uses Samsung’s latest 64-layer 3-bit MLC (or TLC to you and me) V-NAND rather than the 48-layer version the SSD 960 EVO used, while the new controller goes under the name of Phoenix. Phoenix is an 8-channel, 5-core controller with of the five cores used as a dedicated communication link between the Phoenix and the host system.

Also upgraded for the 970 EVO is Samsung’s TurboWrite technology. First introduced with the 960 EVO, TurboWrite basically uses a portion of the NAND as an SLC write buffer to boost write performance. The 2TB drive has a default TurboWrite region of 6GB but if the drive is being asked to write more than 6GB, the 970 EVO can use up to 72GB of dynamic SLC buffer to give a total SLC buffer of 78GB. This dynamic SLC buffer takes advantage of idle capacity so will not work, in the example of the 2TB drive, if there is less than 72GB of free capacity.

Performance wise the 970 EVO is a very quick drive. Samsung quotes sequential read/write figures for the 2TB drive as up to 3,500MB/s and 2,500MB/s respectively. When tested with the ATTO benchmark our review drive came up a little shy of the maximum quoted read speed at 3,154MB/s, while the tested write speed was bang on the mark at 2,506MB/s.

Random 4K read/write performance is quoted at up to 500,000 IOPS and 480,000 IOPS at a queue depth of 32. We couldn’t match those figures either, but the tested drive’s 366,265 IOPS for reads is the fastest we’ve seen to date from a consumer NVMe SSD, while the tested write speed of 316,863 IOPS is the third fastest we’ve seen.

We found the 2TB 970 EVO on Overclockers UK for £749.99 (inc VAT) HERE.

Pros

  • 64-layer NAND technology.
  • Overall performance.
  • 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • We couldn’t match Samsung’s quoted sequential read figure.

KitGuru says: It has taken a while but the successor to the immensely popular 960 EVO is here. The 970 EVO performs very well and has increased endurance compared to its predecessor, but we couldn’t quite hit Samsung’s quoted read speeds.

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Rating: 8.5.

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