The long awaited Samsung 980 PRO SSD lineup is now available and known.

  • M.2 2280
  • PCI Express 4.0 x4
  • NVMe 1.3e
  • Samsung 128L 3D TLC
  • Samsung Elpis Controller S4LV003
  • 1.5 Million Hours Reliability
  • AES-256 support
  • 9% overprovisioning
  • 5 year warranty
Max Sequential ReadUp to 6,400 MB/sUp to 6,900 MB/sUp to 7,000 MB/sUp to 7,000 MB/s
Max Sequential WriteUp to 2,700 MB/sUp to 5,000 MB/sUp to 5,000 MB/sUp to 5,100 MB/s

The endurance of the 980 PRO is half the endurance of the 970 PRO. For most gamers this will not present much of a problem at all as even after 5 years most SSD installed have still got over 75% of the wear remaining. Most SSD are heavily over provisioned and the typical gaming PC does not write much data on a day to day basis. The generous 9% overprovisioning means the 980 PRO will last a long time for gaming.

SSD Endurance is simply the warranted value. The SSD will continue to function fine however once the SSD reaches the maximum its advisable to consider replacing it. The performance of worn cells will degrade and eventually the SSD will run out of space blocks. Samsung has its own custom controller which handles the functions needed. The LPDDR4 provides a cache that makes the 980 PRO run more efficiently.

Some commenters questioned the need for a 4TB SSD. These are available and there are even 8TB models. These are all QLC SSD which are slower than the 980 PRO. The TLC NAND based Samsung 980 PRO is aimed at the system volume for Windows 10. QLC SSD are now slowly eroding the smaller capacity hard disks as price per GB has fallen.

The Samsung 980 offers extreme speeds which is the high end of the market. Windows can boot in less than 30 seconds from a cold power on start.

AMD kicked off the transition to PCIe 4.0 last year with the release of their Zen 2 family of CPUs. This started the first phase of PCIe 4.0 SSDs, starting with Phison E16. The Turbo write can reach 5000 MB/s which is extraordinary. This is Samsung’s new PCIe Gen 4 controller called “Elpis.” It is produced on a 8 nm production process in Samsung’s foundries, same as NVIDIA’s Ampere GPUs. Compared to previous controllers, Elpis can process 128 queues at the same time (Phoenix had 32, UBX only 8).

The AS SSD benchmark shows the high performance read and write for the Samsung 980 PRO 2TB SSD. The read speeds are above the ideal PCIe 3.0 speeds which is why the Elpis controller is designed for PCIe 4.0 which affords 7.8 GB/s maximum read/write. The AS benchmark is designed for SSD products which is why its is so popular with hardware reviews.

Windows 10 has full support for NVM Express. The NVMe provides the BIOS and the operating system the interface needed for a true high performance random access device. NVMe allows far more threads and queue lengths over ACPI which is designed for sequential hard disks. NVMe leverages the RAM like nature of flash memory.

In the real world, even with an AMD X570 system, leveraging the full performance of the Samsung 980 PRO is hard to do. The SSD is so powerful it could run a small database server.