Samsung’s 990 PRO, its latest NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, aims to give gamers, 3D-renderers, and 4K/8K video editors a decent ratio of price to performance if this top-of-the-line drive can get close to its promised specs in real-world testing.
The 990 PRO is touted as offering “nearly the highest speed currently available from the new PCIe 4.0 interface” and a 55 percent increase in random performance over its 980 Pro. Samsung touts sequential read and write speeds of 7,450 megabytes per second (MB/s) and 6,900MB/s, respectively. Random read/write speeds are listed at 1,400K and 1,550K IOPS, respectively, based on IOmeter 1.1.0 performance. DRAM for the 990 PRO drives is 1GB per terabyte of storage, up to 4GB for the 4TB model.
Samsung suggests the performance bump comes from its own V-NAND and proprietary controller advancements. Power efficiency is improved up to 50 percent over the 980 PRO, the company claims, while a nickel coating and heat-spreading label dissipate heat. The heatsink model gives you more temperature assurance while, of course, adding RGB lights.
The 990 PRO line utilizes 3-bit TLC (triple-level cell) NAND storage. As noted in our review of Samsung’s 980 line, you’ll trade some read and write endurance for this density and speed. Samsung didn’t provide cache figures for its latest drives, which can make a difference as to when buffer is used up and write speeds “fall off a cliff.”
The 990 PRO and PRO with Heatsink drives will be available in October, with an MSRP of $179 for 1TB and $309 for 2TB (presumably for the non-heatsink versions). A 4TB model should be available in 2023. All models are M.2 2280 sized and come with a five-year limited warranty. You can sign up at Samsung’s site for updates on 990 PRO ordering.
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