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Samsung SSD 980 1TB Review

It seems to have taken an eternity but Samsung has finally launched the successor to the venerable SSD 970 EVO in the shape of the SSD 980.

The new drive is the company’s first DRAMless design. Instead of using a DRAM chip, the drive relies on Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology. HMB uses the Direct Memory Access (DMA) feature of the PCIe interface to allow the drive to access part of the system memory (up to 64MB) to use for the mapping table.

The SSD 980 is also supported by Samsung’s Intelligent TurboWrite 2.0 technology to aid write performance. The default TurboWrite region of the 1TB drive is 160GB, over three times bigger than the region in the 970 EVO.


The SSD 980 is a PCIe Gen 3 drive unlike its sibling the SSD 980 PRO which is a full blown PCIe Gen 4 model. At launch, the SSD 980 range comes in just three capacities, 250GB, 500GB and the flagship 1TB drive, which is a little disappointing as we might have expected the range to top out at 2TB these days. The drive uses the latest Samsung 1** layer 3-bit V-NAND (TLC NAND) in combination with an in-house Pablo controller, the same controller found in the T7 external drive.

Samsung quote Sequential performance figures for the 1TB drive as up to 3,500MB/s reads and 3,000 for writes. Using the ATTO benchmark we couldn’t quite hit these official maximums, the best we saw was 3,230MB/s for reads and 2,790MB/s for writes. However, we did match the maximum read figure with the CrystalDiskMark benchmark with a best figure of 3,572MB/s. As with the ATTO benchmark, we couldn’t quite match the official write figure, the fastest we saw was 2,907MB/s from the CrystalDiskMark 7 Peak Performance test.

Two sets of figures are officially quoted for random performance; QD1 with 1 thread and QD32 with 16 threads. The QD1 read figure is up to 17,000 IOPS while the QD32 performance is stated as up to 500,000 IOPS for reads. Our 4-threaded read tests produced figures of 50,660 IOPS at QD1 and 250,960 IOPS at QD32. We did a quick test at QD32 with 16 threads and got the best result of 422,133 IOPS (1,729MB/s).

Random write performance for the drive is quoted at up to 54,000 IOPS for QD1 and up to 480,000 IOPS for QD32. In our tests with 4-threads, we got a figure of 53,054 IOPS at QD1, peaking at 89,416 at QD4.  As with random reads we did a quick test at QD32 with 16 threads to see if we could match the official 480,000 IOPS. The best we saw was 458,059.1 IOPS (1,876.21MB/s) still shy of the official maximum.

We don’t yet have a buy link but he 1TB SSD 980 is priced at £119.49.

Pros

  • Sequential performance.
  • Endurance.
  • 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • Current line-up tops out at 1TB.
  • Tested 4K performance couldn’t match the official maximum figures in some tests.

KitGuru says: It has taken a while but at last Samsung has brought out a drive to take the place of the highly successful and popular SSD 970 EVO. Only time will tell if it matches its predecessor’s popularity and it is entering into a fiercely competitive market segment.

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Rating: 8.0.

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