Earlier this year Samsung released the 970 Evo Plus which is the successor to the 970 Evo that was released last year. Samsung's new 970 Evo Plus series range from 250GB to 2TB and feature the company's new 96-layer 3D NAND flash. The new 96-layer NAND offers major improvements in speed and power consumption than its 64-layer predecessor. Today we will be reviewing the 970 Evo Plus 500GB model and comparing it against other NVMe drives on the market.
The 970 Evo Plus features a 5-year limited warranty and retails for $90 (250GB), $130 (500GB), $250 (1TB), and $600 (2TB). Samsung is shipping the 970 Evo Plus series in the M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe x4 form factor. The 970 Evo Plus is using the same Phoenix controller as its predecessor. The Phoenix controller has 5 cores and one dedicated core to improve communication between the host system and the controller.
Feature-wise, the 970 Evo Plus comes with hardware encryption, TRIM support, garbage collection and Intelligent TurboWrite technology which is used to accelerate sequential read and write speeds. Samsung also makes available their NVMe Driver 3.0 software which helps with compatibility between the user’s system and the SSD. For example, if you are using an old operating system such as Windows 7, Samsung's NVMe Driver 3.0 will make it possible for the 970 Evo Plus to work in Windows 7.
Samsung advertises the 970 Evo Plus 500GB with sequential read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 3,200 MB/s. Random read speeds are rated for up to 620K IOPS and 560K IOPS for random write speeds. The new 96-layer NAND along with firmware optimizations has significantly improved sequential write speeds and random write speeds. With the release of the 970 Evo Plus, Samsung continues to dominate the industry with the fastest SSDs on the market.
Samsung's 3D-NAND technology is built to endure 150TB (TBW) for the 250GB model which equals to about 82GB per day for 5 years. The 500GB and 1TB models can handle up to 300TB and 600TB (TBW) and this amounts to 164GB daily read/write for the 500GB model and 328GB for the 1TB model for 5 years. The 2TB model on the other hand can endure up to 1200TB (TBW) which equals to about 657GB per day for 5 years.
In this review we will be comparing the Samsung 970 Evo Plus to the Western Digital Black 3D NVMe to see which one offers the best performance. Western Digital's Black 3D NVMe SSDs max out at 1TB capacity so they don't have a 2TB model to compete with Samsung. Samsung clearly has an advantage in the industry with their 2TB capacity model.
Price-wise, the WD Black 3D SSDs are much cheaper than the 970 Evo Plus drives. If we look at the prices on Amazon and Newegg, you will find the 970 Evo Plus 500GB to be about $20 more expensive than the WD Black 3D NVMe 500GB drive. On Amazon, the 970 Evo Plus 500GB retails for $130 while the WD Black 3D 500GB sells for $110.
Western Digital has the upper hand in price but they also have a higher endurance with the 250GB model. Samsung's 970 Evo Plus 250GB SSD offers a 150TB write endurance while the WD Black 3D 250GB comes with 200TB write endurance. The other 970 Evo Plus models have the same write endurance as the WD Black 3D drives. Another slight difference between the WD Black 3D and Samsung 970 Evo Plus is the life expectancy of the drive. The 970 Evo Plus drives come with a life expectancy of 1.5 million hours while WD's Black 3D drives support up to 1.75 million hours.
The 970 Evo Plus supports many advance features such as Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART) which is basically a monitoring system used to perform an analysis of the drive for problems with the intent of anticipating hardware failures. It also supports garbage collection which is a form of automatic memory management that works by reclaiming previously written blocks of data so they can be rewritten with new data. TRIM support is included as well which basically means the operating system can inform the SSD which blocks of data are no longer in use and can be wiped internally.
Samsung's 970 Evo Plus features Intelligent TurboWrite technology which was introduced first with the 960 Evo. The Intelligent TurboWrite buffer size varies based on the capacity of the SSD; 13GB for 250GB model, 22GB for 500GB model, 42GB for 1TB model and 78GB for 2TB. With the TurboWrite technology, a part of the 3D V-NAND memory (3 bits per cell) acts as SLC memory (one bit per cell) and this portion of the NAND memory in the disk acts as a specific buffer through which all data write operations pass. In order for the dynamic SLC buffer to work, you need to have more than 18GB of free space.
|Samsung 970 Evo Plus|
|Sequential Write Performance||TurboWrite||2,300MB/s||3,200MB/s||3,300MB/s|
Samsung's Phoenix controller comes with support for Opal/TCG V2.0 encryption which you can use to keep your personal files and confidential data restricted from hackers and thieves with AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption. Being hardware-based means that the encryption engine secures your data without the performance degradation that you may experience with software-based encryption.
These are all the advanced features the Samsung 970 Evo Plus supports:
|Samsung 970 Evo Plus Series|
|Interface||PCIe Gen 3.0 x4|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Dimensions||80.15 x 22.15 x 2.38 mm|
|NAND||Samsung 96-layer 3D TLC|
|Sequential Read||3,500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||2,300 MB/s||3,200 MB/s||3,300 MB/s|
|SLC Cache (Min)||4 GB||6 GB|
|SLC Cache (Max)||13 GB||22 GB||42 GB||78GB|
|Random Read||250,000 IOPS||480,000 IOPS||600,000 IOPS||620,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||550,000 IOPS||560,000 IOPS|
|Endurance (TBW)||150 TB||300 TB||600 TB||1,200 TB|
|Operating Temperature||0°C to 70°C|
|Life Expectancy||1.5 Million Hours|
|Idle (ASPT on)||30 mW|
|Avg Power Consumption||5.0W||5.8W||6.0W||6.0W|
|Encryption||AES 256, TCG Opal 2.0, IEEE 1667|
|Launch Date||January 2019|
Samsung is using a similar packaging as they used with the 970 Evo. On the front you will immediately notice the 'EVO Plus' text in orange. We also see the NVMe M.2 interface located next to it and the model capacity located at the top right corner. On the back you will find a large sticker displaying similar information such as model, serial number, capacity and warranty information. The 970 Evo Plus comes in a black PCB design with label cover most of the PCB.
You can download the Samsung Magician software that helps enhance the performance of your SSD by allowing you to update the firmware, over-provision, secure-erase, and track the health of the SSD as well as see how much storage you’ve used. When you are inside the Samsung Magician software, make sure to head over to the OS Optimization screen to configure your OS to work best with the SSD and you can manually toggle options on/off. By default, index searching, prefetch, superfetch are enabled so you can disable them because they are not needed if you are using an SSD and I would also set the power options to high performance.
Samsung's Phoenix controller is enclosed inside a nickel-coated heatspreader to help dissipate heat more efficiently. Samsung has also included Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology which ensures that the drive operates at optimal temperatures by throttling the performance if the drive gets too hot. According to Samsung, the Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) has been significantly improved with the 970 Evo Plus and it can transfer 86% more data (134GB) during sequential writes before DTG is triggered.
Samsung's 970 Evo Plus is single-sided so there aren't any components on the back side but Samsung has added a thin copper film on the back to help dissipate heat. You will find the Samsung Phoenix controller and a DRAM chip next to it which basically provides the SSD controller with RAM. The 250GB/500GB models get 512MB DRAM cache buffer while the bigger 1TB and 2TB models come with 1GB and 2GB DRAM cache buffer, respectively.
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (3.8Ghz)|
|Motherboard:||MSI X370 xPower Titanium (BIOS v1K)|
|RAM:||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200 MHz|
|Graphics Card:||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070|
|Storage:||Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB|
Samsung 970 Evo 500GB
Samsung 860 Evo 500GB
Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
Samsung 850 Evo 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
Western Digital Black 3D 500GB
Crucial P1 1TB
Crucial MX500 1TB
Crucial MX500 500GB
Crucial BX300 240GB
Crucial BX300 480GB
Crucial MX300 525GB
Crucial MX300 1TB
Toshiba TR200 480GB
|Power Supply:||Seasonic Focus Plus 750W Gold|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit|
|Thermal Compound:||Noctua NT-H1|
|Case:||Fractal Define Nano S|
To make sure these drives perform at their maximum performance, we will be disabling all the power saving features in the BIOS (C6-state, etc). The testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit with the latest windows updates installed. We disabled a bunch of unnecessary services such as drive indexing, Prefetch, Superfetch, Defrag and removed all the bloatware from Windows 10 to make sure there were as few processes running as possible during the testing.
We'll be using the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processor overclocked to 3.8Ghz and the MSI X370 xPower Titanium motherboard
with the latest BIOS version which at the time of writing this is v1K.
Installing and using an NVMe SSD is pretty straight forward, simply connect your NVMe SSD to the M.2 port
in your motherboard. After you have installed it, make sure to check for firmware update.
+ Windows 10 Startup
+ HD Tune Pro
+ ISO File Copy
+ AS SSD Read/Write
+ AS SSD Score
Windows 10 boot times are measured from the time it takes between hitting the power button to reaching the Windows desktop.
The AS-SSD software is a popular benchmarking software used to measure the performance of an SSD. In this test we are measuring the overall score.
Once again, we are using the AS-SSD software to measure sequential read and write speed of each drive.
In this test, we are using IOMeter which is one of the best application for stress testing the random IO performance of an SSD. IOMeter is set to use 4KB file size chunks and will stress the SSD with random 4 KB files.
Here we are using HD Tune Pro to measure read and write IOPS. HD Tune Pro is a Hard Disk Utility with many functions such as error checking, S.M.A.R.T and benchmarking.
To represent a large file usage scenario, we are copying a 10GB ISO image to a different folder on the same drive.
I am very impressed with the performance of the 970 Evo Plus.
Its performance was outstanding and it easily outperformed all the other drives without breaking a sweat.
Samsung's 970 Evo Plus 500GB is an amazing product that offers mind-blowing performance at an attractive price.
It comes loaded with plenty of attractive features such as hardware-based encryption, class-leading performance and high write endurance.
+ Fantastic Performance
+ Samsung Magician
+ High Endurance
+ Hardware-Based Encryption
+ Five-Years Warranty
- Slows Down During Long Writes
While Samsung tends to price their SSDs more than the competition, the new 970 Evo Plus series are much more affordable than the company's previous generation. The 970 Evo Plus is the fastest SSD I have tested and has a better performance, efficiency, and lower price than its predecessor. At $130, the 970 Evo Plus 500GB costs about $70 less than the 970 Evo 500GB when it was released.
If you're looking to buy the best performing NVMe SSD on the market right now, the new Samsung 970 Evo Plus drives are what you should be looking at. If you are looking for a large capacity NVMe drive, Samsung has you covered there too. The older 970 Evo 2TB sold for $800 when it was first released while the new 970 Evo Plus 2TB sports a $600 price-tag making it much more affordable than its predecessor. Overall, I believe the Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB SSD deserves our Gold award.
Final Score 9.8