Samsung 980 Pro Review

Samsung 980 Pro SSD Review

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Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel

Samsung’s new 980 Pro SSD is the first SSD to take advantage of PCIe 4.0, a technology that made its mainstream debut with AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processor and the X570 chipset. This increased bandwidth results in much faster SSD speeds than even the best SSDs could offer before. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Samsung 980 Pro is the fastest SSD we’ve ever tested.

With any major SSD launch, the Samsung 980 Pro is available in three storage capacities: 250GB for $89, 500GB for $149, and 1TB for $229. At first glance, these prices seem expensive, especially if you’ve been following SSD prices over the last few months. However, compared to competing SSDs such as the $199 Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 SSD and the $229 Sabrent Rocket at the same capacity, the Sabrent Rocket is a great deal cheaper. We don’t yet know how much the 2TB model will cost, but it will be introduced soon.

By waiting so long to launch a Gen4 SSD, Samsung was able to combine its latest V-NAND technology with the new Elpis controller, so there is nothing holding this drive back. While we never fully reviewed the Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 SSD, we did run some speed tests through CrystalDiskMark for our Ryzen 9 3900X review, and that drive gave us a sequential read speed of 4,996MB/s. Comparatively, the Samsung 980 Pro is much faster, at 6,783MB/s – a 35% increase in speed.

TEST SYSTEM SPECS

This is the system we used to test the Samsung 980 Pro

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 360P Silver Edition
  • RAM: 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum @3,600MHz Motherboard: AsRock X570 Taichi
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
  • OS SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro @ 1TB
  • Power Supply: Corsair AX1000
  • Case: Praxis Wetbench

Samsung 980 Pro: Performance

samsung 980 pro

It is important to understand that the Samsung 980 Pro is 90% faster than the Samsung 970 Pro, which has 3,556MB/s of sequential read speed and is also 12 times faster than the fastest SATA SSD we’ve tested, the Samsung 860 Pro.

In many ways, this is a true generational leap, and it’s no surprise that SSDs like the Samsung 980 Pro will be used in next-generation consoles. While Gen4 SSDs are a bit pricey right now, their speed is definitely worth the investment if you need that level of bandwidth for work. Additionally, PC gaming will benefit from faster I/O once the Xbox Series X and PS5 mature a little bit.

It’s still important to mention software optimization for faster drives. We notice when we run the PCMark10 SSD test, which simulates real-world day-to-day storage workloads, that the score isn’t much greater than we would see with a comparable PCIe 3.0 SSD.

There’s no doubt it’s higher, but you likely won’t notice much of a difference in performance when you’re moving around your desktop. If you’re transferring files or running data-intensive applications – like Adobe Premiere – this drive will shine.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that system compatibility is important. Samsung’s 980 Pro supports PCIe 3.0, which is great. Its speed drops to a theoretical 3,500MB/s when it is connected to a PCIe 3.0 platform – like older AMD or Intel motherboards. You’re better off with a PCIe 3.0 SSD that can reach the same speed if you don’t have a PCIe 4.0 system.

In addition, the drive should last for quite some time. In addition to a 5-year warranty, the Samsung 980 Pro we received for review is rated at 300TB (terabytes written). Rating scale with the capacity of the drive, reaching 1,200TB for the 2TB model. The majority of people won’t reach that capacity.

Samsung launching a PCIe 4.0 SSD at a price around the same as other Gen4 SSDs is an absolute win for everyone, especially since interest will increase as new consoles arrive. It’s likely that many PS5 buyers will buy drives like these to supplement the meager 1TB of storage that comes stock with that console.

Samsung 980 Pro: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Good endurance rating PCIe 3.0 users better off with a cheaper drive
Extreme performance
Competitive price

It’s a good buy if…

The fastest SSD is what you need

With a speed of 980 MB/s, it’s easily the fastest SSD we’ve ever tested. The SSD you need if you want to future-proof your system.

You are ready for a Gen4 SSD

Whether you are using an AMD Ryzen 3000-series desktop or an Intel Ice Lake laptop, you can take advantage of the Samsung 980 Pro’s high performance.

Get ready to expand your PS5 storage when it launches

This is the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD we’ve tested for PS5. Consider this option if you feel 1TB of built-in storage won’t be enough for you.

Avoid buying it if…

The system you have is not PCIe 4.0-compliant

Your computer won’t be able to utilize this drive to its fullest potential if it isn’t compatible with PCIe 4.0. Although it will work on PCIe 3.0 systems, you’d be better off buying a cheaper SSD.

You have a limited budget

You would be better off going with a PCIe 3.0 SSD or even a 2.5-inch SATA drive if you want something that offers a ton of capacity for a low price.