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Samsung 970 SSDs: New Height of NVMe Performance

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Samsung today announced its latest non-volatile memory express solid-state drives (SSDs), the 970 SSD NVMe Series, including the 970 EVO and 970 PRO. These are super-fast internal drives, not to be lumped together with the recently released 860 EVO and 860 PRO SATA drives. 

Indeed, the new 970 series belongs to the next-gen SSDs that use the M.2 interface and is the replacement of the 960 series that came out two years ago.

Dong's note: This post was updated on May 7th, 2018, as Samsung lowered the pricing of the NVMe SSD Pro drive to $249.99 (from $329.99) and $499.99 (from $629.99) for the 512GB and 1TB capacities, respectively.

Thanks to the M.2 design, the the new Samsung SSD is tiny.
Thanks to the M.2 design, the new Samsung NVMe SSD 970 is tiny.

Furthering the cause of NVMe

In case you don't know, NVMe SSDs are tiny physical forms capable of delivering speeds many times faster than traditional SATA SSDs. (Read more about SSDs here.)

The 970 EVO and 970 PRO share the mainstream M.2 2280 design, meaning they are 22 mm wide and 80 mm long, and use four lanes of PCIe Gen 3 to connect to a host computer. Both drives are single-sided—their memory chips reside on only one side—and therefore are very thin. In all, they are about the size of a stick of chewing gum.

They both use Samsung's 64-layer V-NAND and its new Phoenix controller, which has a nickel layer that helps dissipate heat faster.

What's more, the two drives share a new dynamic thermal guard (DTG) trigger point that's more efficient than the previous generation. Specifically, more data—26% or 32GB in the case of the EVO and 27% or 67GB with the Pro—is transferred during sequential writes before the DTG is triggered. As a result, users can use both drives in extended operations without worrying about performance degradation.


Samsung aims the Evo drive toward mainstream savvy users and the Pro toward those wanting top-notch non-compromising performance with extreme endurance. That said, these new SSDs have a few differences.

The Samsung NVMe SSD 970 Evo drive.
The Samsung NVMe SSD 970 Evo drive.

NVMe SSD 970 EVO: 3-bit V-NAD with Turbo Write

Most noteworthy, the NVMe SSD 970 EVO uses Samsung's latest 2nd generation 3-bit MLC NVMe flash memory that delivers high capacities at a low-cost. The drive is available in sizes ranging from 250GB to 2TB. 

The 970 Evo uses Samsung's TurboWrite technology, available in earlier Samsung SSDs, such as the 860 Evo. TurboWrite used in the 970 Evo is more advanced, however, and uses up to 78GB  of buffer size to increase its sequential write speeds.

Samsung says the 970 EVO has very high endurance. Specifically, if you write 50GB per day and every day to the 250GB version of the drive, it'd take you more than eight years to deplete its endurance. Capacities versions have even higher endurance. That said, you can expect the 970 EVO to last a very long time.

The Samsung NVMe SSD 970 Pro is also a single-sided M.2 SSD.
The Samsung NVMe SSD 970 Pro is also a single-sided M.2 SSD.

NVMe SSD 970 PRO: 2-bit V-NAND with extreme endurance

Yet, if you want an even longer-lasting drive, the 970 PRO is for you. This drive's endurance, according to Samsung, doubles that of the 970 Evo, thanks to the fact it uses Samsung's more expensive 3rd generation 2-bit MLC NVMe flash memory.

The difference in flash memory also translates into faster performance. The 970 Pro is, therefore, expected to be one of the fastest consumer-grade NVMe drives. Compared to the 960 Pro, Samsung says the 970 Pro is about 30 percent faster in sequential speeds and 50 percent faster in random access speeds.

Fans of high storage space should note that the 970 Pro is available in only two capacities: 512GB and 1TB.

Samsung 970 NVMe SSDs hardware specifications
Samsung 970 NVMe SSDs hardware specifications


On May 7th, you can purchase both the Samsung NVMe SSD 970 EVO and the Samsung NVMe SSD 970 PRO.

NVMe SSDs are generally more expensive than SATA drives. At launch, the 970 EVO costs some .45 cents per gigabyte, while the 970 PRO is about $.5 per gigabyte more expensive. Check back for the new SSDs' reviews.

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