April 25, 2018 // 10:54 a.m.
Samsung has announced its third-generation consumer solid-state drive (SSD) families, the 970 Pro and 970 Evo, both launching exclusively in the M.2 2280 form factor.
Designed to replace the company's existing second-generation SSDs, the third-gen 970 range uses the company's own Pheonix controller coupled with 64-layer V-NAND two-bit multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory in the Pro family and three-bit MLC flash memory in the Evo family. In both cases, the M.2 2280-format drives - which come with pre-fitted heatspreader and nickel-coated controller IC - connect to the host via a four-lane PCIe Gen 3.0 bus with Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) 1.3 support.
'Samsung has led the NVMe SSD industry since its inception, and the company continues to define the latest standards of consumer storage with unprecedented performance of the 970 Pro and Evo SSDs,' crows Un-Soo Kim, senior vice president of product marketing in Samsung's memory business unit. 'The 970 series sets a new bar in all aspects for the NVMe SSD market with groundbreaking performance, superior reliability and best-in-class capacity.'
That performance, according to Samsung's internal testing, sees the 970 Evo range hit up to 3,500MB/s sequential read and 2,500MB/s sequential write with random performance rated at up to 500,000 read and 480,000 write input/output operations per second (IOPS). The top-end 970 Pro, meanwhile, matches the 3,500MB/s sequential read speed but boosts write performance to 2,700MB/s and 500,000 IOPS. All told, users can expect to see a 30 percent boost to write speeds compared to equivalent second-generation drives.
The exact specification of the drives varies, naturally, depending on capacity. The 970 Evo starts at 512MB LPDDR4 cache memory for the 250GB and 500GB capacity models, jumps to 1GB for the 1TB model, and caps out at 2GB for the 2TB model. The 970 Pro range, meanwhile, launches in just two variants: a 512GB model with 512MB LPDDR4 cache, and a 1TB version with 1GB cache.
As well as boosted performance, Samsung claims the new controller and third-generation V-NAND flash modules have increased longevity over their predecessors: The company is offering a five-year warranty good through to 1,200 terabytes written (TBW) - a 50 percent increase over its second-generation offerings.
UK pricing for the drives has yet to be confirmed ahead of a planned early May launch, with US pricing starting at $119.99 for the 970 Evo 250GB and $329.99 for the 970 Pro 512GB (around £86 and £236 respectively, excluding taxes).
UPDATE: Samsung has got in touch with UK recommended retail pricing for the drives, which is as follows: 970 Evo 250GB, £100.79; 970 Evo 500GB, £193.79; 970 Evo 1TB, £375.79; 970 Evo 2TB, £709.99; 970 Pro 512GB £275.79; 970 Pro 1TB, £526.79 (all inc. VAT).