Samsung 970 Evo Plus review

Samsung retakes the lead in the great SSD race

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Best in Class

Our Verdict

Under assault from cheaper, faster NVMe solid-state drives, the Samsung 970 Evo Plus proves why it’s the king of the SSDs again, with fastest transfer speeds thanks to its newly introduced 96-layer V-NAND tech.

For

  • Class-leading performance
  • 96-layer V-NAND and not just software drives faster speeds
  • Lower prices across the board

Against

  • Sequential write speeds slow under load

We never expected to see a new NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) from Samsung this soon – especially with the 970 Evo and 970 Pro launching just last April – but here we are looking at the new Samsung 970 Evo Plus.

While it might seem like a minor upgrade unworthy of a fully numbered sequel, the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is a worthy successor, with the fastest speeds and some of the lowest prices seen on its NVMe SSD products.

Pricing and availability

The entire NVMe SSD world is engaged in something of a race to the bottom to offer the cheapest and fastest storage, and it seems Samsung has had to bend to market dynamics. The 970 Evo Plus line of SSDs is available now, starting at $89 (£83, AU$139) for 250GB followed $129 (£121, AU$199) for 500GB and $249 (£233, AU$385) for a 1TB drive. There will also be  2TB capacity units coming sometime in mid-April, which we’ve seen posted at £462 or AU$769 (about US$600) on Scan and PLE, respectively.

Samsung has brought is prices down across the board compared to the original 970 Evo, which launched in April 2018 with 250GB ($109 / £86 / AU$155), 500GB ($199 / £159 / AU$299), 1TB ($399 / £319 / AU$569) and 2TB ($599 / £529 / AU$659) capacity units.

Undoubtedly, these new price cuts are a result of WD entering the market with the affordable WD Black SN750, which currently runs between $79 or £86 (about AU$110) for 250GB and $249 or £269 (about AU$350) for 1TB of capacity.

Samsung 970 Evo Plus specs breakdown

Features

Although it might seem like the 970 Evo Plus wasn’t revolutionary enough to earn the name 980 Evo, it’s the first drive from Samsung to introduce its new 96-layer V-NAND. The new form of memory is basically designed to stack higher, and reach higher speeds.

Specifically, the 970 Evo Plus is designed to write at 3300MB/s sequential writing speed – far outpacing the 970 Evo, which maxed out at 2,500MB/s, and even the 970 Pro’s top 3,300Mb/s – on sequential writes. Sequential writes remain at 3,500MB/s, but this is basically the gold standard among the fastest SSDs on the market.

This new 96-layer V-NAND is especially significant as it makes Samsung one of the only companies to speed up its SSDs with new silicon, rather than just updated software.

On paper, the 970 Evo Plus exceeds the specs of the WD Black SN750, which runs at up to sequential read and write speeds up to 3,470MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. 

If you were hoping for some competition when it comes to the warranty, unfortunately (or fortunately) WD and Samsung offer the same five years of coverage nearly the identical total terabytes written endurance as seen above. The only difference is the 250GB 970 Evo Plus is rated for 150TBW, whereas the 250GB WD Black SN750 rated for 200TBW.

These two drives really are going at it neck-and-neck for the title of the best-performing SSD in the world.

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Performance

The Samsung 970 Evo Plus’ 96-layer V-NAND isn’t just for show, this drive propels past both its predecessor and Samsung's previous star performer, the 970 Pro. It also beats its main rival, the WD Black SN750, in a few areas. 

Looking at how well the drive performed in both sequential and random data transfer tasks, the 970 Evo Plus comes out on top in every test except our 10GB file transfer.

Considering that the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is meant to be a value-oriented, consumer SSD, we’re really pleased by how well it performed – even outperforming the enterprise-leaning 970 Pro.

The only mildly disappointing thing about the drive is that it couldn’t maintain its rated 3,300MB/s sequential write speed under load.

Final verdict

As NVMe SSDs just keep getting faster and cheaper, it was time for Samsung to respond in kind – and it has done, with its best drive yet. The Samsung 970 Evo Plus has reclaimed the throne as the best SSD, coming in at reasonable prices and delivering the best overall performance.

We have a sneaking suspicion that we’ve only seen the beginnings of what Samsung can squeeze out of its new 96-layer V-NAND technology. It’s entirely possible that the company will produce a dramatically faster 970 Pro Plus drive that may even feature the new PCIe 4.0 standard Ryzen 3rd Generation processors will support.

Of course, we’re just speculating here. The most important thing you need to know is that the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is the best SSD money can buy right now.