Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Hard Drive (NVMe M.2 SSD)
$329.00 (for the 1TB model tested)
Anyone who’s built a new PC in the last couple of years would have at least considered an M.2 form factor SSD to house their operating system at the very least. Visually, the NVMe M.2 SSD sits directly on the motherboard, taking up one of the high-speed PCI express slots allowing for just about the fasted memory transfer speeds that money can buy. Compared to traditional SSD drives, which take up a SATA-port and a physical slot in a way that mimics how internal drives have been housed for decades, the difference is immediate.
In the case of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, the result is also uniformly impressive even when talking about M.2 drives. With its competitively priced range of storage options, generous warranty, and 96-layer V-NAND technology it cements the company as one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the hard-drive space.
So then, what’s a V-NAND and why does it need 96-layers? Well, without getting too technical it’s in reference to the teeny tiny physical blocks of data associated with flash memory as seen in SSDs. V-NAND is the latest version of this but with the ability to stack layers vertically, dubbing the tech 3D or V-NAND. With the Samsung 970 EVO Plus including 96-layers the result is faster speeds in a solution that is not only affordable but cutting edge. Case in point, the 1TB model of the 970 EVO Plus we were sent for review has a read speed of close to 3,500 MB/s.
Compared to say a traditional drive found in a console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, or a large old-school platter drive – the loading times in games with a 970 EVO Plus effectively goes down from tens of seconds to only a handful. Even Anthem’s load times are drastically improved.
"The 1TB model of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus we were sent for review has a read speed of close to 3,500 MB/s"
The other innovation found in this upgrade from Samsung is a focus on reliability. In terms of SSDs, over the past decade Samsung has quickly become one of the most trusted and reliable names in the field, something that it leverages into the design of the 970 EVO Plus. Using Dynamic Thermal Guard, the physically small drive can offer superior heat management and dissipation over competing brands – which has a flow on effect on performance and how long the drive will last even with heavy usage. As seen in competing drives, performance the Guard part of the equation means that speed is throttled if things gets a little too hot in the data kitchen.
- Form Factor: M.2
- NAND: Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC
- Interface: PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
- Sequential Read: Up to 3,500 MB/s
- Sequential Write: Up to 3,300 MB/s
- Average Power (In-Use): 6.0 W
- Storage Sizes: 250GB, 500Gb, 1TB, 2TB
With the 3,500 MB/s sequential read speeds mentioned in the official product notes this was something that we were able to test using software packages like Crystaldisk and Samsung’s own Samsung Magician – which has the added tools of drive management, firmware updates, and overall periodic health checks.
"The loading times in games with a Samsung 970 EVO Plus effectively goes down from tens of seconds to only a handful."
With the above in mind the 3,500 MB/s is not only accurate but just about the new standard in affordable M.2 SSDs. On the other side of the equation, that being the purported sequential write speeds of 3,300 MB/s our tests put this closer to the 3,200 MB/s range. Being able to benchmark performance and see drive health in real-time through Samsung’s Magician software is a definite plus. Samsung also offers its own custom driver for the 970 EVO Plus that does improve performance over the standard Windows driver.
In the end it’s hard to fault the direction Samsung has taken with the new Samsung 970 EVO Plus. In fact, if anything it exceeds all expectation. An affordable M.2 with high storage capacity and speeds that a year ago would be limited to the higher end and pricier drives on the market - something akin to Samsung’s own Pro line. The fact that this comes from a brand known for its reliability makes the 970 EVO Plus an easy choice for new builds. If these sorts of updates continue, then in the years to come loading screens in games are bound to become a Wikipedia footnote.