Samsung SSD 980 leaks: no 'Pro' means no DRAM

by Mark Tyson on 5 March 2021, 12:11

Tags: Samsung (005935.KS)

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The Samsung SSD 980 series is starting to appear at retail outlets in Europe, as well as in an official product page on its Thai site. This appears to be Samsung following up its Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD series with a range of more affordable devices which have undergone various key specification snips to reach down to lower price points.

Samsung hasn't officially launched these 'non-Pro' SSD 980 drives but ComputerBase.de found some listed at various European retailers. Happily there are enough specs shared by the various sources to make sense of the new SSDs – though some might be unhappy about the scale of the cutbacks, hopefully the actual retail pricing will strike the right balance – you pay your money and take your choice.

First, one of the major cuts from Samsung SSD 980 Pro to SSD 980 is the lack of DRAM cache on the new cheaper models. This spec snip can have a big hit on IO performance as of course DRAM is much faster than the NAND, and the cache can, in theory, help to reduce NAND wear.

Another big spec change here is that the Samsung SSD 980 uses a PCIe 3.0x4 interface (instead of PCIe 4.0 x4). This change has a big impact on max transfer rates, as you will see in the comparative spec table below.

Product

Samsung SSD 980 PRO

Samsung SSD 980

Interface

PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.3c

PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.4

Form Factor

M.2 (2280)

M.2 (2280)

Storage Memory

Samsung 136-layer V-NAND 3-bit MLC

Samsung 136-layer V-NAND 3-bit MLC

Controller

Samsung Elpis Controller

Samsung Pablo Controller

DRAM

1GB LPDDR4 (1TB), 512MB LPDDR4 (500GB, 250GB)

 N/A

Capacity

2TB, 1TB, 500GB, 250GB

1TB, 500GB, 250GB

Sequential Read/Write Speed

Up to 7,000 MB/s, Up to 5,000 MB/s

Up to 3,500 MB/s, Up to 3,000 MB/s

Random Read/Write Speed
(QD32)

Up to 1,000K IOPS, 1,000K IOPS

Up to 500K IOPS, 480K IOPS

Management Software

Samsung Magician Software

Samsung Magician Software

Data Encryption

AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0,
Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667)

AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0,
Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667)

Total Bytes Written

1200TB (2TB), 600TB (1TB), 300TB (500GB), 150TB (250GB)

600TB (1TB), 300TB (500GB), 150TB (250GB)

Warranty

Five-year Limited Warranty

Five-year Limited Warranty

 

The max transfer and IOPS figures for the Samsung SSD 980 are much reduced compared to the Pro version. However, many other base features of the drive remain the same; the same NAND, and even the same endurance ratings and warranty.

As for pricing of the SSD 980 series, the 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities have been listed in Europe at €70, €90, and €150, respectively. Checking Mindfactory.de for a Euro pricing comparison, the SSD 980 Pro series in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities are listed at €75, €109, and €189, respectively.

Retailers are expecting stock of the Samsung SSD 980 devices by the end of the month. Samsung should be officially announcing these drives shortly on its global news blog.



HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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Hmm, rebadged 970 Evo+?
For many those speeds will be more than adequate. Lack of dram is a bigger problem. I'm suprised that the Pro is stuck on nvme 1.3 though
Relative speed cut in half but realistically are the targeted users going to notice? I'm still on SATA SSDs so even going to this would be a huge increase and I probably wouldn't be able to tell, I'm probably also someone who would notice vs a ‘normal’ PC user.
Do ‘normal’ users even notice the lack of DRAM?

Seems like these have a market and for the ~10-20% price difference I'd be totally OK going with the non Pro!
Rob_B
Relative speed cut in half but realistically are the targeted users going to notice? I'm still on SATA SSDs so even going to this would be a huge increase and I probably wouldn't be able to tell, I'm probably also someone who would notice vs a ‘normal’ PC user.
Do ‘normal’ users even notice the lack of DRAM?

Seems like these have a market and for the ~10-20% price difference I'd be totally OK going with the non Pro!

Oh you can tell alright…. makes everything better, faster, smoother
When you copy over files,etc its noticeable. Samsung SSDs also tend to be overpriced so its quite likely NVME SSDs with DRAM caches from WD,etc will be probably available for similar money or less.