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Review Samsung 980 PRO review

UsandThem

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https://www.anandtech.com/show/16087/the-samsung-980-pro-pcie-4-ssd-review

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-980-pro-m-2-nvme-ssd-review

The 980 brings a significant change of different direction for Samsung, so it will be interesting to see what the pricing will be like on their new 980 EVO line (when/if released). While the 980 PRO still caries a price premium compared to most of their competition, the reduction in price of their flagship product is an indication that consumers are comfortable choosing competing products which are often significantly less expensive (and offer comparable quality, warranty, and performance).

They finally moved on from MLC NAND, and reduced the warranty to 5 years, along with much lower endurance ratings.

5.jpg
 
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biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
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So for consumers we need to wait for DirectStorage/RTX IO to be a thing, or move large sequential data around.
Looking forward to the phison e18 drives and some reviews.
 
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iCyborg

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Aug 8, 2008
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Judging from the comments, I'm not the only one disappointed with the move to TLC.
I'd be willing to pay a premium for MLC for my OS drive, but now I can't really make a case for Pro over EVO - extra features I don't care about and the speed difference largely negligible in practice. Unless EVO starts moving to QLC...
I'd pay more for 970 Pro than 980 Pro.
 

UsandThem

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It is sad to see them move away from MLC NAND since they were among the SSD manufacturers to release a drive featuring it, but I can see why they finally did.

While some corporate and prosumers would pay the premium they were charging for their PRO drives, I imagine their sales become softer over the last few years due to the competing products out there. Ever since competing products began hitting the market in late 2017 and 2018 (such as drives with the Phison E12 controller), their competition officered drives with higher TBW ratings, and performance that was not far behind.

At a MSRP of $230 for the 1TB version of the 980 PRO, I would at least consider it if I were looking to purchase a PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive. However, when I purchased various PCIe 3.0 drives over the last couple of years, the 970 PRO was never even considered because of the price premium. I think the change in direction for Samsung was something they had to do to at least slow down their market share decline. Anyways, that's the way I look at their move.
 

iCyborg

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Aug 8, 2008
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However, when I purchased various PCIe 3.0 drives over the last couple of years, the 970 PRO was never even considered because of the price premium.
I'm practically the opposite - my current OS drive is 8yrs old, so I'd be willing to pay a premium for better endurance/reliability of MLC.
For me, in a sea of TLCs, it was *the* feature that made if worth a premium in the first place. How big a premium should it command is arguable, but now 980 Pro isn't worth any premium, marginally better performance in benchmarks ain't doing it for me. And that's over 970 Evo Plus, I'm assuming 980 Evo will be PCIE4 too.

This is why I said this had the opposite effect - I've been considering Pro so far, it's only now that it has removed itself from consideration, it offers nothing substantial over a number of cheaper TLCs including Evo from their own lineup. I'd pay more for 970 Pro than 980 Pro, that's the sad part.
No wonder both of those reviews say 980 Pro is more like an upscaled 970 Evo. Unless they also make 980 Evo crappier than 970 Evo and drop the price too, I can make no case for the Pro anymore.
 
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Edrick

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Feb 18, 2010
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Going from MLC to TLC is a deal breaker for me. Endurance is important. Looks like I am back waiting for Optane Gen 2 drives.
 
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Campy

Senior member
Jun 25, 2010
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I'm more excited for the ADATA pcie4.0 drives at this point. Why have Samsung stopped offering MLC? Why did they stop offering 2TB MLC drives? It seems like they're regressing in some areas which makes no sense considering how dominant they've been in the SSD space.
 

UsandThem

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I'm more excited for the ADATA pcie4.0 drives at this point. Why have Samsung stopped offering MLC? Why did they stop offering 2TB MLC drives? It seems like they're regressing in some areas which makes no sense considering how dominant they've been in the SSD space.
My guess is their leadership realized they needed to be a lot more competitive in pricing. Back when they were so dominant over their competitor's offerings, they could extract the price premium for their products. Of course they are the only ones who know for sure, but I imagine they haven't liked the decline in market share over the years since the 850 EVO series first arrived.

Honestly, up unto 3 years ago or so, I would only buy Samsung SSDs when building. If a person wanted a fast/reliable SSD, Samsung was it. Now I have least 10 different brands to choose from, with all of them being a solid choice. The problem (for them) is all of their competition has either closed the performance gap (or have even surpassed them in many areas).
 

Soulkeeper

Diamond Member
Nov 23, 2001
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What's funny is their die sizes are so much larger than micron and hynix, they might as well have stayed with MLC. Personally I think the drives are an OK option, but I'd be more interested in 2TB or larger and MLC would be a big plus worth the $. The entire point of the PRO series was to be the best for those that have tons of $$ to throw around. Now it just looks like a refreshed evo.
 
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Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Yeah I am not that impressed compared to other upcoming PCIe Gen4 drives, and it is not even that cheap!
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I'm practically the opposite - my current OS drive is 8yrs old, so I'd be willing to pay a premium for better endurance/reliability of MLC.
For me, in a sea of TLCs, it was *the* feature that made if worth a premium in the first place. How big a premium should it command is arguable, but now 980 Pro isn't worth any premium, marginally better performance in benchmarks ain't doing it for me. And that's over 970 Evo Plus, I'm assuming 980 Evo will be PCIE4 too.

This is why I said this had the opposite effect - I've been considering Pro so far, it's only now that it has removed itself from consideration, it offers nothing substantial over a number of cheaper TLCs including Evo from their own lineup. I'd pay more for 970 Pro than 980 Pro, that's the sad part.
No wonder both of those reviews say 980 Pro is more like an upscaled 970 Evo. Unless they also make 980 Evo crappier than 970 Evo and drop the price too, I can make no case for the Pro anymore.
I've been buying pro drives for the endurance as most of the computer builds I do are for >10 year lifespan scenarios, and while on paper TLC should easily last the course, reality isn't quite so forgiving/linear. I guess I'll need to start doing my homework when the 860 pro is disappearing off the market.

@UsandThem

Which brands do you consider to be solid choices?
 

UsandThem

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Which brands do you consider to be solid choices?
Samsung, Intel, Western Digital/Sandisk, Seagate, Adata, HK Hynix, Crucial, Corsair, MyDigitalSSD, Kingston, and PNY.

There's a few others that seem to be good products, but I'd like to see their track record a little while longer before being comfortable enough to buy their products for something as sensitive as data storage. Those brands would be Sabrent, Team Group, Silicon Power, Inland, and Addlink
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Sep 13, 2008
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These days I would not be so sure about PNY and Kingston. I would rather buy a good Sabrent drive, or even Inland, if the controller is good. Honestly, I feel it comes down to the length of warranty, and performance, for SSDs at least. And that is generally done by controller, which many brands will actually use a certain one, such as the Phison E12 or E16.

For upcoming buys, I would probably go with either a Phison E18 drive, or a drive with a Silicon Motion equivalent. These should have 5 year warranties I suspect. The actual brand doesn't make a whole lot of difference outside of toolbox and RMA support, and warranty terms. It is the controller that matters, and the drive itself is rebranded with little difference it seems.
 
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UncleJoe1985

Junior Member
Sep 28, 2020
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Apparently many people are disappointed by the loss of write endurance. That doesn't affect me.

I just want to know from a speed perspective, are those gains actually achievable in real world apps?

I've studied the benchmarks on Anandtech's excellent review, and the most disappointing thing is the sequential read speed of 7000 MiB/s is only attained at queue depths > = 16. At QDs 1 to 4, there's hardly any improvement over PCIe 3 drives like the SK Hynix Gold P31, which beats the 980 PRO in many categories.
1601280930592.png




Do games that do upfront loading or any consumer apps take advantage of that parallelism? What about games that continuously stream like Rage or GTA?



For random reads/writes, they claim 1M IOPs vs 500k for the 970 PRO, but the benchmark doesn't show it, at least for QD=32. Only 345K.
1601280874310.png

It also made me realize how much faster Optane is, especially at low queue depths. Intel is releasing Optane 2 hybrid SSDs soon. Is that a better alternative? I hope they pair the Optane with TLC NAND, not that terrible QLC. Also hope the Optane size is much > 32GiB of Gen1. The 980 Pro has a whopping ~114 GiB of SLC!
 
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amback

Junior Member
Apr 8, 2019
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If Samsung wanted to become more competitive they had their EVO and their QVO products to play around with instead of crippling their pro series product to become more competitive. getting a 970 pro if possible just so i can get quality DURABLE mlc nand flash. instead of yet another TLC drive with the fake paint of PRO.....
samsung is trying to sand and wool the eyes of the normal consumers even in their marketing '3-BIT MLC'.

The pro just became EVO.
 
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biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
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#15 as I already pointed out, implementing DirectStorage and RTX IO, will be the next thing for gaming and that should be able to load data via multiple queues. For the software already available, a sata ssd and nvme drive have very similar load times.
 

KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
7,951
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#15 as I already pointed out, implementing DirectStorage and RTX IO, will be the next thing for gaming and that should be able to load data via multiple queues. For the software already available, a sata ssd and nvme drive have very similar load times.
I have only seen a few game that has leveraged the throughput advantage of NVMe over a SATA SSD and one was just a poorly optimized mess.
 

biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
15,219
494
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I have only seen a few game that has leveraged the throughput advantage of NVMe over a SATA SSD and one was just a poorly optimized mess.
Since it is being ported from the new xbox and the PS5 is deploying a similar system, the game developers should be able to implement it far better than in previously released titles.
 

Rakehellion

Lifer
Jan 15, 2013
12,181
29
91
Going from MLC to TLC is a deal breaker for me. Endurance is important. Looks like I am back waiting for Optane Gen 2 drives.
I don't know why people say this. Its write endurance isn't any higher than competing drives.

 

TitusTroy

Senior member
Dec 17, 2005
308
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so is buying a PCIe 4.0 NVMe pretty much a waste of time?...I currently have a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD...for my upcoming Zen 3 5800X build should I keep that drive or upgrade to a PCIe 3 NVMe?...this is mostly for gaming
 

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