Samsung 970 PRO M.2 512GB NVMe SSD review

Memory (DDR4/DDR5) and Storage (SSD/NVMe) 370 Page 1 of 21 Published by



Samsung 970 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
Bigger better stronger faster?

In this review we examine the Samsung 970 PRO M2 SSD, an SSD series that offers faster performance and increased endurance write values compared to the 960 series. The new M.2 Pro units is certainly among the popular ones for the professional desktop enthusiast end-users and can be purchased in volume sizes up-to 1TB. NVMe Storage technology has been advancing and developing in very fast paces as we now have reached the 970 series from Samsung. Armed with 64-layer (2-bits written per cell) MLC NAND flash memory, DRAM caching the new 970 series are based on the Samsung Phoenix controller, which have been introduced in there OEM PM981 already. Phoenix really is the Samsung Polaris Gen 2 controller now delivering up-to 3,500 MB/s sequential read speeds on even the smaller 500 GB version, with up to 2,700 MB/s sequential writes for this PRO series. For a little more shock and awe, Random 4KB numbers run up to 500,000 IOPS read and write, which is pretty spectacular. 

The 970 PRO has been fitted with 64-layer MLC NAND, we have received a 512GB model for testing. The product is only slightly faster compared to the EVO model (which can do 2300~2500 MB/s writes). Samsung is to release the new 970 Pro model in capacities of 250 GB, 500GB but also a 1 TB volume sizes. A 2TB version, however, has not been announced, there, however, is a 2TB 970 EVO model available. 

The precise performance values differ slightly per model/volume size though, the smaller the slower writes values are. We'll discuss and show you that on the next page. The 970 series is available in an M.2 (NGFF-2280) form factor (8cm). These units will require PCI-Express 3.0 with x4 lanes as the SSDs are using the latest iteration of the NVMe protocol, revision v1.3. The Samsung 970 Pro offers plenty of endurance, depending on volume size 1200 Terabytes written (TBW) for the 1 TB capacity, half that for the 500 GB version and again half of that (300TB) for the 250 GB model. The Pro series will receive a five-year warranty, or the TBW value - whichever one comes first. These new M.2 units use the NVMe protocol and that means storage technology at hyper-fast speeds while remaining competitive in pricing. The model we test today is capable of passing that 3.5 GB/s marker for reads and close to 2300 MB/second sequential on writes. The Samsung 970 Pro SSD is Samsung’s latest generation consumer-ready Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) M.2 form factor SSD with vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology (64 layers/128Gb/256Gb & stacked). Storage technology keeps advancing at the fast pace it does, the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply excellent as you can reach say 450 MB/s to 500 MB/sec on SATA3 which is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Next to that, over the past year, NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become much cheaper as well. 

DriveSeq ReadSeq Writeddr3-cacheEndurance in TBW
970 EVO 250GB 3400MB/s 1500MB/s 512MB 150TB
970 EVO 500GB 3400MB/s 2300MB/s 512MB 300TB
970 EVO 1TB 3400MB/s 2500MB/s 1GB  600TB
970 EVO 2TB 3500MB/s 2500MB/s 2GB  1200TB
970 Pro 512GB 3500MB/s 2300MB/s 512MB 600TB
970 Pro 1TB 3500MB/s 2700MB/s 1GB 1200TB

Samsung’s 970 EVO/PRO M.2 product line is powered by the company’s Phoenix controller. All models follow a smaller M.2 2280 form factor so it will fit on most ATX motherboards capable of M.2 just fine (or just use a PCI-Express daughter card but make sure you have x4 Gen 3.0 lanes available for it). IOPS numbers are in that 500K for read and writes marker (depends on volume size). At just one-tenth the weight of a traditional 2.5-inch SSD, the M.2 SSDs are ideal for users looking to upgrade their desktop or ultra-thin PCs with high-capacity, high-performance storage. Usability and compatibility then - remember, you do need a modern motherboard with capable NVMe supported M.2 (PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 lanes connected) interface though, please do check out your motherboard manufacturer for that.  Have a peek, and then let's head onwards into this review.

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