Samsung 980 Pro 500GB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Benchmarks Review

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SPECworkstation 3.0.2 Storage Benchmark

SPECworstation benchmark is an excellent benchmark to test systems using workstation type workloads. In this test, we only ran the Storage component, which is fifteen separate tests.

Samsung 980 Pro 500GB SPECws
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB SPECws
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB SPECws Chart
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB SPECws Chart

The 980 Pro 500GB is a great performer in SPECworkstation, taking the top score in many of the subtests.

Temperatures

We monitored the idle and maximum temperature during testing with HWMonitor to get some idea of the thermal performance and requirements of the drive. Please keep in mind that our test bench is an open frame chassis in a 22C room and is thus not representative of a cramped low-airflow case.

Samsung 980 Pro 500GB Temps
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB Temps

One advantage of the new wave of PCIe 4.0 SSDs is going to be better electrical efficiency over the first generation of drives, and that shows in the thermal performance of the Samsung drive. Topping out at 66C, the 980 Pro gets warm but not to a concerning level.

Final Words

When it comes to pricing, the Samsung 980 Pro 500GB is flat out expensive at $150 for a 500GB drive. Our previously reviewed Seagate Firecuda 520 500GB is $119, as is Sabrent’s Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB unit. High-quality PCIe 3.0 500GB drives are even less expensive, with the SK hynix Gold P31 drive at $75. With that said, this is the fastest drive we have tested overall, and so perhaps an argument could be made for getting what you pay for. With that said, all the money spent seems to be going towards performance, since the rated endurance on this drive is nothing special.

Compared to the previous PCIe 4.0 SSDs we have reviewed, the 980 Pro 500GB sets the absolute standard for sequential transfer rates. With that said, random read and in particular random write performance is still good but in no way a generational leap over previous drives like the sequential performance.

Samsung 980 Pro 500GB
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB

If you want the best consumer PCIe 4.0 SSD money can buy right now, the Samsung 980 Pro is your choice until more second-gen 4.0 drives hit the market. With sky-high sequential transfer rates, it was rare to see this drive anywhere other than the top of our charts, and we look forward to testing more drives of this caliber in the future.

13 COMMENTS

  1. This card is a cheap TLC instead of the mote expensive but also more durable and less error prone MLC! #PieceOfCrap #SoSad

  2. Can they just make a 1TB drive out of the same stuff they’re using for the SLC cache inside this? I’d buy that.

  3. Chris usually they are using the same NAND, they are just operating a portion of it as SLC until the capacity is needed. Modern NAND you can select how the NAND runs and re-configure the drive as SLC, MLC, TLC and so forth

  4. Chris,
    There is a capacity penalty to doing so. If you take a 1TB TLC SSD and run it in “SLC” mode, it would only have ~333GB of available disk space. TLC pretends to be SLC by only using 1 out of 3 bits per cell, thus imposing the capacity penalty. 99.999% of users would not make this choice, and the only drives with configuration options like this are in the enterprise space.

  5. Also – just to add, usually this is controlled by the SSD manufacturer and firmware not at the consumer level. But if you want to make your own SSD, you can tune this how you like via controller/ firmware.

  6. I was thinking what would happen if one were to simply over-provision the drive so that only the SLC (cache) is used.

  7. I understand the capacity implication, and I guess I’m the 0.001% who would totally make that choice. I have a working drive for editing large (multi-gigabyte) photos, where performance and reliability matter far more than capacity. I’ll take two in RAID1! I was curious about Optane DCPMM, but it doesn’t seem accesible to normal “enthusiast” system builders, and I ended up going with a Threadripper system anyhow, with a couple Corsair MP600’s and an Optane 905P – which I’m looking forward to reading about the new Alder Stream Optanes soon 🙂

  8. As many will find a home sitting flat on a mobo & w/ poor cooling prospects, single sided does seem a big plus.

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