Samsung 970 Pro review

Samsung 970 Pro review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Samsung’s Pro line of solid-state drives has remained the undisputed king of solid-state drives for several years. Samsung can’t sit on its laurels anymore though, as recent competitors like the WD Black NVMe SSD have shown. In other words, Samsung has released its fastest consumer drive to date: the Samsung 970 Pro.

Even so, unlike in years past, the Samsung 970 Pro holds just a slim lead over the WD Black NVMe SSD – and even its understudy, the Samsung 970 Evo. Although the Samsung 970 Pro remains the best SSD money can buy, we find few reasons to choose it over more affordable drives.

Features

Samsung 970 pro

Although Samsung’s Pro line of SSDs has always been a little pricey, the new 970 Pro drives seem to be a little bit more affordable. The Samsung 970 Pro starts at $229 (£219, AU$419) for a 512GB capacity drive, which is a bit more affordable than years past, and even the 1TB model costs $495 (£389, AU$799).

You’ll still find the Samsung 960 Pro for $249 (£249, AU$399) and $539 (£459, AU$699) for the same 512GB and 1TB capacities, though this will likely be corrected. As of this writing, Samsung’s newest flagship SSD does not appear to have a 2TB version.

Western Digital has the best price with its 250GB WD Black NVMe SSDs starting at $99 (£109, AU$179), followed by $194 (£199, AU$299) 500GB and $399 (£394, AU$619) 1TB options. Samsung’s 970 Evo, which follows WD’s pricing model above, is the real enemy of the WD Black NVMe SSD.

The Samsung 970 Pro is not only cheaper but also faster than its predecessor. In spite of the drive’s unchanged sequential read speed of 3,500MB/s, its sequential write speed of 2,700MB/s is faster than the 2,100MB/s the Samsung 960 Pro achieved.

The market, however, is more competitive than ever before. The WD Black NVMe SSD wins with a sequential write speed of 2,800MB/s, but a sequential read speed of 3,400MB/s.

Samsung’s 64-layer 3D V-NAND and the new Phoenix controller are behind the 970 Pro’s speedy performance. The majority of consumer SSDs utilize Three-Layer Cell (TLC) flash for its superior density and affordability, but Samsung stuck to its guns with Multi-Layer Cell (MLC) NAND – which results in unmatched performance.

Performance

samsung 970 pro

According to its on-paper specifications, the Samsung 970 Pro performs exactly as expected. The read speeds are similar to those of the Samsung 970. Additionally, the 970 Pro offers much faster random and sequential write speeds. However, the WD Black NVMe SSD beats out the competition due to its faster sequential write speed.

Anecdotally, the Samsung 970 Pro manages to outpace everyone else in our file transfer tests, but the difference is really only measurable in milliseconds. The biggest weakness of Samsung’s drives is their reliability, which cannot be measured in megabytes or seconds, but in years.

In our benchmarks, we notice the most interesting trend is how closely the 970 Evo and 970 Pro match each other’s performance. A few years ago, the Evo was considered a cheaper, but a significantly slower, alternative to the Pro, which was an expensive indulgence for those looking solely for SSDs. The Evo now seems to be even more appealing than the Pro.

Pros Cons
Substantially higher write speeds Slightly pricier than competitors
Reliable for years Read speeds remain the same
The fastest SSD money can buy

Conclusions

Samsung’s 970 Pro remains the king of solid-state drives, though even its own products are challenging the title. By making the 970 Evo so much better, Samsung has become its own worst enemy, barely lagging behind the 970 Pro. Although it is batting for the league under Samsung’s flagship drive, the WD Black NVMe SSD shines.

Samsung 970 Pro users should only consider it if they absolutely need the fastest and most reliable storage medium available. Those in the video editing and media creative industries might demand the best SSDs, but everyone else can get by with SSDs like the Samsung 970 Evo and WD Black NVMe.