PC

Samsung 970 Evo Plus: Fast and affordable solid-state drive

It has never been cheaper to buy a solid-state drive (SSD) to upgrade your PC or laptop. Even models with larger capacities such as 1 terabyte (TB) and above have become relatively affordable for consumers.

Since last year, prices have been trending downwards because manufacturers have become better at stacking multiple layers of flash memory on top of one another, increasing drive capacities and lowering the cost at the same time.

Many SSDs now feature 64 layers of flash memory. Samsung recently upped the stakes with a 96-layer model, the 970 Evo Plus.

Launched less than a year after Samsung's 970 Evo, the new model promises faster speeds, with Samsung touting up to 57 per cent improvement in random write speed.

More importantly, the prices of the new SSDs are lower than the launch prices of previous Samsung SSDs, which is probably an indicator of the competitive nature of the industry.

The 970 Evo Plus starts at $132.90 for the base 250GB model, compared with $169 for its predecessor.

  • FOR

    • More affordable than previous model

    • Faster to copy large files

  • AGAINST

    • No improvement in random performance

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $132.90 (250GB), $235.90 (500GB), $450.90 (1TB), $924.90 (2TB)

    INTERFACE: PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3

    FORM FACTOR: M.2 (2280)

    WARRANTY: 5 years

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Like its predecessor, the 970 Evo Plus comes only in the M.2 form factor. It is a small rectangular circuit board that fits into a dedicated slot on compatible motherboards. Compared with an older Samsung 950 Pro (32-layer flash memory), the new 970 Evo Plus, with its 96 layers, feels slightly thicker.

It uses the same Samsung Phoenix controller, which manages the SSD, as the previous model. This controller is coated with nickel for better cooling.

In the test with the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, the 970 Evo Plus lived up to expectations. It clocked 3,274MB/s in sequential write speed, which measures how fast contiguous data is copied to a drive, up from the 2,528MB/s that I previously measured withits predecessor.

Its sequential read performance, though, is similar to the previous version. Random read performance, which involves reading a random small chunk of data from the drive, also did not show any significant gains while random write performance actually saw a slight dip.

In the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark, the 970 Evo Plus scored 5,099. This is similar to the 5,100 scored by the 960 Pro, which was Samsung's premium SSD in 2016. Back then, the 960 Pro cost $459 for a 512GB model. In contrast, the new 970 Evo Plus costs $235.90 for a 500GB model.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'Fast and affordable solid-state drive'. Print Edition | Subscribe