Samsung Electronics America announced the new 980 NVMe SSD, the company’s first consumer drive without DRAM, aiming to make blazing NVMe speeds more accessible to a wider range of users.
If you’re a heavy user, you’ll probably be better with the Samsung 980 Pro, which costs more but is faster than this new Samsung 980 NVMe SSD, which aims to bring the speed of NVMe to the masses. You see, this is Samsung’s first DRAM-less SSD, meaning it will use your computer’s memory as its primary cache. Yes, it may be, as Samsung notes, able to deliver “the highest performance among DRAM-less SSDs”, but affordability comes at a price, and if you look at alternatives available on the market, you’ll probably find them, without the limitations present on this solution.
The reasoning behind the Samsung 980 NVMe SSD seems to be that it will serve well those who have not yet tried the NVMe slots in their computer, because of price, and do not need the fastest NVMe solutions now available. It’s a step to expand the use of the format, but it’s nowhere a good choice if you need the highest speeds that many like to pair with heavy workloads.
Enhanced sustained performance
“Through both hardware and software innovations, our new 980 SSD brings greater value without compromising the high-end NVMe performance,” said KyuYoung Lee, vice president of Memory Brand Product Business team at Samsung. “The 980 offers an excellent blend of speed, power efficiency and reliability, making it suitable for everyday PC users and gamers as well as content creators.”
Previously, DRAM-less designs have presented a disadvantage in speed without the short-term memory at hand for fast access to data. Samsung’s 980 utilizes Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology, which links the drive directly to the host processor’s DRAM to overcome any performance drawbacks. This technology, coupled with the company’s latest sixth-generation V-NAND as well as optimized controller and firmware, enables the 980 to provide NVMe performance with six times the speed of SATA SSDs. Sequential read and write speeds come in at up to 3,500 and 3,000 MB/s, while random read and write performances are rated as high as 500K IOPS and 480K IOPS, respectively.
Still, it’s a compromise that those interested in the new Samsung drive should keep in mind. Samsung says that technology developments have enabled more users to experience NVMe speeds at affordable price points and claims that the newly upgraded Intelligent TurboWrite 2.0 also offers significantly enhanced sustained performance over the previous iteration by allocating a much larger buffer storage area inside the drive. In fact, according to the information available, TurboWrite region has been increased significantly, from up to 42GB in the 970 EVO to up to 160GB in the NVMe SSD 980, which will, no doubt, help to keep to the promise.
Advanced thermal designs
Samsung also adds that “for users working with extremely large files or running graphics-heavy games, the new ‘Full Power Mode’ added to Samsung’s Magician 6.3 software allows the drive to continuously run at peak performance for uninterrupted work and play” and notes that “additionally, consumers will no longer have to worry about their drive overheating, thanks to its advanced thermal designs. Users can enjoy stable and reliable performance even during prolonged use thanks to the same Dynamic Thermal Guard technology, nickel-coated controller and heat spreader label solutions available in Samsung’s high-end 980 series.
The SSD also features improved power efficiency of up to 56% when compared to the previous 970 EVO, says the company, allowing laptop users to better manage power usage.
The Samsung 980 SSD is available for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $49.99 for the 250GB, $69.99 for the 500GB and $129.99 for the 1TB. For more information, visit samsung.com/SSD or samsungssd.com.