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Samsung 970 PRO 512GB and 970 EVO 250GB, 500GB, 1TB NVMe SSD Review

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

We have been overdue for a Samsung NVMe SSD refresh, and with the launch of their 860 PRO and EVO back in January, folks have been itching for the 970's to come out. The 950 and 960 (PRO) lines were separated by about a year, but we are going on 18 months since the most recent 960 EVO launch. Samsung could afford to wait a bit longer since the 960 line already offered outstanding performance that remained unmatched at the top of our performance charts for a very long time. Recently, drives like the WD Black have started catching up, so it is naturally time for Samsung to keep the competition on their toes:

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Today we will look at most of the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO lineup. We have a bit of a capacity spread for the EVO, and a single PRO. Samples are hard to come by so far since Samsung opted to launch both lines at the same time, but we tried to get the more common capacities represented. EVO 2TB and PRO 1TB data will have to come at a later date.

Specifications:

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Specs come in at just slightly higher than the 960 lines, with some welcome additions like OPAL and encrypted drive (IEEE1667) support, the latter being suggested but never making it into the 960 products. Another welcome addition is that the 970 EVO now carries a 5-year warranty (up from 3).

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The 970 EVO includes 'Intelligent TurboWrite', which was introduced with the 960 line. This setup maintains a static SLC area and an additional 'Intelligent' cache that exists if sufficient free space is available in the TLC area.

Packaging:

Packaging is in line with the previous 960 series parts. Nice packaging. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Read on for our full review of the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO!

 

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: These product are on loan from Samsung for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the products after review: The product remains the property of Samsung but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Samsung had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Samsung for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Samsung has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Samsung is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 

April 24, 2018 | 10:28 AM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

$.10 per GB or GTFO

April 24, 2018 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Particle (not verified)

It's hard to take comments like yours seriously.

People considered $1.00/GB a breakthrough affordability price point right up until it was reached. Then people considered it offensively expensive and said $0.50/GB was the affordability point. We passed that point as well and much the same thing occurred.

Now here we are with people complaining that disks are not $0.10/GB. If this new disk -were- that cheap, I suspect that you'd be complaining that it's not $0.05/GB. Please recognize that you're unlikely to ever be satisfied at any price point. Setting realistic expectations goes a long way toward fulfillment.

April 24, 2018 | 01:57 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

In the OP's defense, $0.10/GB is a bit of a running joke on our podcast. Ryan want's it to happen yesterday, and I keep reminding him that we're just not there yet.

April 24, 2018 | 03:06 PM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

If not yesterday, how about tomorrow? :)

April 24, 2018 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

haha, glad someone got the reference.

I think this is not limited to just Ryan wanting it to be $.10/GB, I am pretty sure everyone wants that(by everyone, I mean customers).

April 24, 2018 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Cyclops

So, 970 series is slightly better than the 960 series. That's what I got from this review.

April 24, 2018 | 11:34 AM - Posted by dragosmp (not verified)

Nothing escapes you

/s

April 24, 2018 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

That's pretty much it.

April 24, 2018 | 11:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous2 (not verified)

LOL @ prices.

April 24, 2018 | 12:13 PM - Posted by RamGuy (not verified)

Some misinformation going on here. IEEE1667 finally made it to the Samsung 960 EVO and Pro with the latest firmware. Or actually, the two latest in terms of the Pro but the previous got pulled.

The sad thing is that Samsung keeps complaining about UEFI firmware issues with most motherboards making it impossible to get IEEE1667/Microft Edrive to work with the 960 EVO and Pro as boot drives which is likely what they are being used as 99% of the time.

It's not working with neither my Asus Maximus IX Apex or my Asus Maximus X Apex both running the latest BIOS/UEFI Firmware version and when contacting Asus about the problem they claim they don't know anything about such a issue.

It works perfectly when the drive is being used as a secondary drive. So there seems to be something going on with the NVMe module in the UEFI firmware and how it loads in terms of Windows 10.

The big question is.. How does this all work with these new drives? Do they magically work without a UEFI Firmware fix like Samsung keeps claiming is needed for the 960 EVO and Pro and if so how is it that these new ones don't require the same fix from motherboard manufactures?

Hopefully PC-Per and others can do some digging here.

April 24, 2018 | 12:46 PM - Posted by Palorim12 (not verified)

Seems to be an issue with the BIOS chipset manufacturers like Megatrends, Phoenix, etc, and Samsung has stated they are working with them to resolve the issue.

April 24, 2018 | 01:55 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I consider IEEE1667 broken for 960 until the community reports that it is working (especially after the firmware back and forths). Same goes for the 970. I'm taking Samsung at their word for this launch, but that will change if the community feedback is the same as it was for the 960. We have a limited sample size of systems that it may or may not work on, so this particular niche use case is better left to those more experienced in using it.

April 24, 2018 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous4356 (not verified)

Would like to see a test measuring write speed using full disk encryption. The results would probably be similar to the saturated write on a full drive, but given that this is not an unusual setup these days, it might be interesting.

May 6, 2018 | 01:06 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Modern SSDs encrypt to the disk regardless. Enabling encryption at the host level just changes the key.

April 24, 2018 | 05:50 PM - Posted by Mr.Prayer

Page "Performance Focus - Samsung 970 EVO 250GB, 500GB, 1TB", under sequential 250GB graph reads "1TB shows a cached (burst) write speed of 1.5GB/s, with sustained (saturated) writes falling off to ~300MB/s.".

Probably needs to be changed to "250GB shows a cached [...]".

May 2, 2018 | 08:58 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Thanks for the catch. Fixed!

April 25, 2018 | 10:32 PM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

What was the NVME driver version used? Tom's claims to get lower perf on the newest 1.3 drivers.

May 2, 2018 | 08:58 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

We used Samsung 3.0 drivers.

April 25, 2018 | 10:56 AM - Posted by drops77 (not verified)

Im a little disappointed you guys weren't able to do the same with the new WD Black . For friends,family, and myself i usually dont go higher than purchasing the 250GB. I then always use for storage a regular HDD. I see that the 1TB is on here , i already purchased the WD 250 and installed it last week. Would been cool to see both the WD 250GB VS the new Evo 250GB since there price the same. Like a budget to budget which should you get kinda deal since the better performance is usually is seen on the high capacity drives which is what was tested.

May 1, 2018 | 07:23 PM - Posted by Wackster (not verified)

Were you able to use WD Black 250 GB as a Windows 10 boot drive?

May 2, 2018 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

That was all we were sampled. I did ask for lower capacities...

April 26, 2018 | 05:12 AM - Posted by Anonymousssssss (not verified)

$0.01 per GB or GT*O

/s

April 27, 2018 | 03:51 AM - Posted by Simon (not verified)

Any chances of a HP EX920 review? A few reviewers actually put it slightly faster than the 970 EVO at some tasks, especially real world testing and low queue depths all the while being much cheaper.

April 27, 2018 | 04:50 PM - Posted by John Hardy (not verified)

Allyn, I love how hyped you are on storage, it's ridiculous and awesome! I will not purchase a drive without it getting your "Editor's Choice" stamp. ( my own money, sometime server budgets say otherwise ) Keep it up man!

May 1, 2018 | 12:45 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

Yes, we will soon be crowd-funding a prototype that will clone multiple copies of Allyn Malventano, for exclusive competitions against AI robots falsely claiming comparable knowledge, experience and analytical capabilities -- kinda like famous chess matches with Russian masters of times past. My money is on Allyn (and clones), every time!

April 28, 2018 | 12:26 PM - Posted by Andrey Papesa (not verified)

Hi guys, really appreciate your work. It would be really interesting to compare Samsung 970 with Seagate Nytro 3730 SSD Dual 12 Gb/s SAS 3D eMLC 400gb. Maybe in raid combination too. Just a thought that tickle senses. :) Keep up the good work.

April 29, 2018 | 09:44 PM - Posted by Tommi (not verified)

Alan, money no object someone is giving you a SSD for free. What do you choose Optane P900 or 970 Pro?

May 2, 2018 | 09:01 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Money no object, I'd probably do the 900P, but only in a >480GB capacity and if I had a spare slot to support it. M.2 is way more convenient for client storage.

May 4, 2018 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Anthony D (not verified)

Great review. Thank you for the context on scenarios wrt write speed after fast write. It shaped my purchasing decision. I always check w pcper Allyn before making a storage decision! I'm going to try one of these puppies on my trusty Z77 board which actually has an NVMe UEFI for M.2 boot. I'll post results re: IEEE1667.

May 11, 2018 | 12:05 PM - Posted by mainedan

So, Allyn, upgrading from a 950pro 256 to a 970evo 1 gig much of an improvement besides the capacity? I have 3 950 pros in a soc force Mobo.

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