Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB NVMe M.2 Review
With any new technology the biggest gains are made in the early days and that's certainly true of M.2 NVMe drives. We'd barely got the Samsung 850 before we had the 860, then the 960, 960 EVO, 970 EVO, 970 Pro. It is a complicated business.
When they first launched we'd not long got used to the idea of 550 MB/s Solid State Drives and then suddenly transfer rates in the Gigabytes were available. Naturally this came with a hefty investment but then any time you're looking to run a system build around state of the art hardware an early adopter cost is to be expected. As speeds have increased and factories got more used to building them, so the costs remained stable for a while as the improvements to the cost effectiveness of production were balanced by the cost increases of the better hardware. Having hit the upper limit of the NVMe bandwidth fairly early on the purchase prices are now starting to fall as the drives aren't getting significantly faster, just more refined.
With so many rivals around it isn't a surprise that one of the key benefits of this newest model in the Samsung M.2 range is the lower price. Competition is great for the consumer and a lot of manufacturers have undercut the Samsung pricing, causing them to react and cut theirs. The 970 EVO Plus has got some new hardware refinements, moving up to 96 layer V-NAND, and some software ones in the form of optimised firmware. What is sure to grab your attention though is the pricing. This 1TB model is a couple of pence shy of £227. A price that was unthinkable a few short months ago. If you wanted a 1TB Samsung 960 Pro NVMe M.2 drive you had to pay nearly £700 at launch. Now you could get a couple of these and a PCI Express RAID card and still have plenty of change. Such is the power of a competitive market place.
Performance from the 970 EVO Plus is not quite as gob-smacking as we once saw, but that's largely to do with the high levels of throughput from the preceding Samsung M.2 drives, as well as the improvements the competition have made. The EVO Plus is much faster than the regular 970 Evo, particularly in the write speed tests where it's a quantum leap better, particularly when handling smaller block sizes, but the 970 Pro is still the king. Let's be honest though, when you're talking about drives that can all do around 3 GB/s transfer speeds the difference between a few Megabytes here and there isn't that noticeable. What you will notice is the general improved responsiveness of your system thanks to the increased small block size bandwidth, particularly if you're running the drive as your OS.
With better reliability, faster performance especially with small block sizes and pricing that definitely counts as "slashed" the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is the most attractive Samsung NVMe M.2 drive they now offer and wins our OC3D Performance Award.