Samsung 970 EVO Plus Review: Totally Fast and a Bit More

The new Samsung 970 EVO Plus looks just like any other Samsung's NVMe solid-state drives. (The hand is quite unique, however.)
The new Samsung 970 EVO Plus looks just like any other Samsung’s NVMe solid-state drives. (The hand is unique, however.) Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The name says it all. The new Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe solid-state drive (SSD), released today, is indeed what its older brother — the 970 EVO — is, plus a bit more. It has enough more for Samsung to decide to use it in the place of the 970 EVO going forward.

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The new internal drive pushes the performance of mainstream NVMe SSDs a bit further while having low suggested retail pricing at launch. Depending on the capacities, it costs between 25 cents to 36 cents per gigabyte, making it quite a great deal, considering its performance.

To cut to the chase: If you have already had an NVMe SSD, there’s no need to rush to upgrade, but if you’re thinking of moving your computer to NVMe, the new 970 EVO Plus is an excellent buy.

Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe solid-state drive

8.3

Performance

9.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance at affordable pricing
  • High endurance
  • Easy to use with lots of features

Cons

  • Can't handle sustained sequential writes at high speed

Samsung 970 EVO Plus vs. 970 EVO: The difference that matters

On the outside, the 970 EVO Plus looks the same as the 970 Evo. It’s an M.2 2280 NVMe SSD that uses x4 PCIe Gen 3 to connect to a host computer. The new drive is also available in four capacities, including 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The first three are shipping now at the suggested retail price of $89.99, $129.99, and $249.99, respectively. The 2TB version won’t be available until April.

The Samsung 970 EVO Plus in its rightful place.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus in its rightful place. Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Familiar Samsung Magician software

The 970 EVO Plus uses the same Samsung Magician software available in all previous Samsung SSDs, including the 970 Evo. The software is one of the best SSD utilities that enables users to efficiently manage the SSD, such as checking on its condition, upgrading its firmware, or customizing the over-provisioning.

Higher density

On the inside, the 970 EVO Plus now uses Samsung’s latest MLC V-NAND with up to 96 layers of flash memory cells (compared to 64 layers in the case of the 970 EVO). Thus, it can deliver more space for less.

What’s more, Samsung’s home-grown Phoenix controller used in the Plus drive said to be “more optimized” to deliver faster performance. The controller has a layer of nickel coating to dissipate heat. Furthermore, there’s the Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology that proactively prevents overheating.

According to Samsung, the changes in flash memory and controller, among other things, allow the 970 EVO Plus to achieve noticeable performance improvements – up to 57 percent in write speed — over the 970 EVO.

Specifications

High endurance, Intelligent TurboWrite

The 970 EVO Plus has the same high endurance rating as its predecessors, which is very high.

Take the lowest capacity — the 250GB –, for example, Samsung says you can write 75 GB per day and every day to it, and the drive will still last more than five years. Higher-capacity drives have progressively higher endurance ratings. To put this in perspective, most of us don’t write more than 10GB per day, and most days, we don’t write much at all.

Similar to most Samsung SSDs, the 970 EVO Plus sports TurboWrite which uses caches to deliver fast write speeds. The amount of cache changes depending on the capacities from 13 GB (250GB) to 78 GB (2TB). Basically, in a single sequential write (copy) operation, the drive enjoys super-fast speed until the cache runs out.

According to Samsung, the 970 EVO Plus’ base write speed (after TurboWrite cache has depleted) is 400 megabytes per second, 900 MB/s, and 1700 MB/s for 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB, respectively. (The 2TB version’s specs are not fully available until April.)

In short, when you write a small amount of data, the 970 EVO Plus is always super-fast. But when you write a lot, expect the base write speed during the writing of data above the cache levels, which proved to be the case in my testing.

Samsung 970 EVO Plus: Excellent performance

I loved the 970 EVO’s performance, and the 970 EVO Plus did even better. I tested the 500GB version, and it did well in most cases.

Specifically, in sequential (copy) tests, the drive topped the chart with almost 2800MB/s and nearly 3000MB/s for writing and reading, respectively. However, in tests where it needs to do both writing and reading at the same time, it was about average at about 1050MB/s.

It’s also interesting to note that, in a big copy test, where I used 20GB of data or more, the drive didn’t maintain the fast write speed for long. Instead, it slowed down to around 800MB/s and remained that way for the rest of the test. This performance was consistent with how TurboWrite works, and 800MB/s is still plenty fast.

In the random access test, the 970 EVO Plus proved to be excellent at heavy tasks, where the drive fulfilled many requests simultaneously. In daily tasks, however, it was just slightly above the average. But overall, this is a fast SSD.

In real-world usage, the performance improvement was evident. I used the drive in a budget Dell laptop that has an NVMe slot — there are more and cheaper laptops equipped with this slot nowadays — and it made a huge difference. The machine had the same bootup time as those with much higher specs, taking just a few seconds to start up. Most applications, including resource-taxing games, required a little time to launch.

Conclusion

The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is indeed a refreshing upgrade to the 970 EVO. And the fact most of its capacities enjoy more affordable pricing doesn’t hurt, either. That’s not to mention you can expect its price to go even lower the longer it’s available on the market.

There are quite a few cheaper alternatives on the market, such as the Crucial P1, but none can outdo the 970 EVO Plus when you consider its performance, endurance, and features.

That said, even if you pay the full price to get it now, you will not be disappointed. And if you have a budget computer, the 970 EVO Plus will be the best upgrade that turns your machine into a total powerhouse.

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