Today we are taking a look at the Samsung 980 1TB SSD. This drive is pitched as a successor to the 970 EVO line of drives and is a PCIe 3.0 SSD, unlike the 980 Pro which is PCIe 4.0. Samsung’s 980 is essentially their entry-level NVMe SSD, with a number of major departures from the 970 EVO line, chief among which is the lack of a DRAM cache.
Samsung 980 1TB NVMe SSD
The Samsung 980 1TB comes in a single-sided M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor.
Beneath the product label is Samsung’s 4-channel Pablo controller, a single NAND package, and not much else. This design is very reminiscent of the WD Blue SN550 1TB, with the single NAND package and physical separation between the NAND and the controller.
Since this is a single-sided drive, the back has nothing but a product label. Samsung claims this label is a heat spreader, and indeed it appears to be a thin copper strip. However, its function as a heat spreader seems to mostly be marketing since it is both on the wrong side of the drive and also physically distant from the controller.
Samsung 980 Specs
The Samsung 980 line of SSDs is available from 250GB to 1TB.
The 1TB drive we are looking at is at the top of the product stack, and clocks in at 3500MB/s read and 3000MB/s write per the spec sheet. The Samsung 980 1TB drive employing Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to offset the lack of on-drive cache. 3500MB/s is a bold claim on the PCIe 3.0 interface, so we will have to see how it holds up.
In addition, once again Samsung has decided to refer to TLC as “3bit MLC” the same as they did on their 980 Pro drive. While the M in MLC does stand for “multi” and thus is not strictly defined to refer to only 2 bits per cell, all pre-existing industry norms would expect 3 bits per cell NAND to be referred to as TLC. Just as before, I feel that the “3bit MLC” descriptor is at best confusing.
Finally, we have endurance, which for the 1TB drive is rated at 600TBW or 0.3 DWPD. These endurance figures match the previous generation 970 EVO Plus drives, and will generally be sufficient for most desktop workloads.
CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, and confirms we are operating at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds using NVMe 1.4.
Test System Configuration
We are using the following configuration for this test:
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (12C/24T)
- RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200 UDIMMs
Our testing uses the Samsung 980 1TB as the boot drive for the system, installed in the M.2_1 slot on the motherboard. The drive is filled to 85% capacity with data and then some is deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.
Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.