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 downward because manufacturers have gotten better at stacking multiple layers of flash memory on top of each other, 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 previous 970 Evo, the new Plus 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 to $169 for its predecessor.
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 to an older Samsung 950 Pro (32-layer flash memory), the new 970 Evo Plus with its 96 layers actually feels slightly thicker.
- More affordable than previous model
- Faster to copy large files
- No improvement in random performance
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
Value for money: 3.5/5
It uses the same Samsung Phoenix controller, which manages the SSD, as the previous model. This controller is coated with nickel for better cooling.
Samsung says the new SSD is rated at up to 3,300MB/s for sequential write speed, which measures how fast contiguous data is copied to a drive. In comparison, last year's 970 Evo is rated at 2,500MB/s.
In my testing with the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, the 970 Evo Plus lived up to expectations. It clocked 3,274MB/s in sequential write speed, up from the 2,528MB/s that I previously measured with its 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 back in 2016. Back then, the 960 Pro costs $459 for a 512GB model. In contrast, the new 970 Evo Plus costs $236 for a 500GB model.