If you’re a fan of high-end storage at affordable prices, 2019 is shaping up to be an exceptionally good year. Yesterday we discussed the new Western Digital SN750, a new SSD with a bit more top-end performance but substantially lower prices. Now, Samsung has dropped its own 970 EVO Plus, with a larger performance gain compared with its predecessor and better per-GB pricing.
The 970 EVO Plus is built on new, high-density 3D NAND flash. Samsung oddly isn’t revealing how many layers it uses, opting to call its new NAND 9x-layer rather than 96-layer as its competitors are doing. Like its predecessors, the 970 EVO Plus uses an SLC (single-level cell) cache to accelerate write performance. The new drives offer between 4-6GB of dedicated SLC cache and 13-42GB of cache in total depending on how full the drive is (the 250GB model tops out at 13GB, the 500GB model is a 22GB design, and the 1TB drive has 42GB of cache). A 2TB model is coming later this year.
According to Samsung, the new 9x-layer NAND in the 970 EVO Plus is significantly faster than the 970 EVO, with support for the Toggle 4.0 interface, 1.4GT/s operation, and 256Gb densities per die (the 2TB drive will use 512Gb NAND). Peak sequential performance is brushing up against the limit for the M.2 x4 PCI 3.0 connection, which tops out at ~3.94GB/s. The 1TB 970 EVO Plus’ Turbo Write cache can hit 3.3GB/s of sequential write performance. Performance once you exit the cache is significantly slower (1.7GB/s) due to the use of TLC NAND, but still quite speedy compared with conventional spinning disks or even SSDs of a few years ago.
Overall performance from both the 500GB and 1TB models is excellent. The drive trades shots with several others depending on the benchmark in question (it’s not unusual for drives to trade positions depending on the test), but at the same time, the gaps themselves are often very small. The performance gap between the fastest and slowest SSDs in the Sysmark 2014 software install time test is 1.09x. The gap between the slowest SSD and a 2TB Western Digital Blue HDD is 1.24x. You are quite literally far better off with even the slowest SSD on the chart than with a regular hard drive.
The consensus from reviews, including THG and our own PCMag, is that the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is an excellent drive overall. Tom’s writes “Overall, Samsung’s new 970 EVO Plus offers you plenty of performance, endurance, and security. It comes backed with a five-year warranty, too. Samsung Magician and the data migration software are also a big plus.” PCMag awarded the drive Editors’ Choice and concludes, “Samsung’s SSD 970 EVO Plus is less expensive and just as capable as its predecessor, making it an excellent choice for installation in a gaming rig or high-end PC upgrade.”
SSD prices should only improve throughout the year thanks to a glut of new capacity and a demand downturn. You don’t need to worry about pulling the trigger instantly to be certain of a good storage deal in 2019, but be aware that this year is likely going to be a good time to make a purchase overall.
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