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Samsung 970 Evo Review

Samsung 970 Evo Review

Samsung 970 Evo review 1The Samsung 970 Evo is the cheaper of Samsung’s two new SSDs, but don’t let that put you off. This more affordable drive shares much of its technology with the 970 Pro – including the new controller and 64-layer 3D V-NAND – while saving you cash at the checkout. Is the Samsung 970 Evo the new drive to buy out of Samsung’s latest range, or is £147 in the UK and $198 in the US still too pricey? Read our Samsung 970 Evo review to find out!

Samsung 970 Evo Review – Design

The 970 Evo – just like the Pro version – takes Samsung’s familiar SSD design and makes pertinent tweaks to increase performance and efficiency.

There are five cores inside the new, improved Phoenix controller. Four of those cores are dedicated to flinging files around the drive, while the fifth is devoted to communicating with the 970 Evo’s host PC.

The move to a five-core controller was made a couple of years ago, and it makes sense – it reduces electrical consumption and heat because having more cores mean that clock speeds can be lower.

Samsung 970 Evo review 4Elsewhere, the efficient Phoenix controller is paired with 1GB of its own cache – and 256-bit encryption that works with Microsoft eDrive.

The controller manages Samsung’s stunning 3D V-NAND. This kind of memory stacks transistors in vertical layers in order to include more transistors in their drives. That eliminates the capacity issues that arise when transistors are only stacked horizontally. In the 970 Evo, just like the 970 Pro, Samsung has updated its V-NAND to use 64 different layers.

The more plentiful and spacious transistor design means that the Samsung 970 Evo won’t be afflicted by as many electrical leakage issues as before.

Explore the Samsung 970 Evo SSD, though, and you’ll find the big change that allows Samsung to sell this drive cheaper than the 970 Pro. While the flagship 970 Pro used performance-friendly MLC memory, the 970 Evo uses TLC memory. That kind of memory packs the transistors in tighter. That means it’s slightly cheaper to manufacture. However, in some situations, it can reduce performance.

Regardless of whether it’s MLC or TLC, Samsung has reduced the input voltage of its memory chips, which it says increases energy efficiency by 30% when compared to the Samsung 960 Pro.

Samsung also says that the 970 Evo’s reliability has been improved by 20% because of changes to materials inside the drive.

Samsung 970 Evo review Samsung 970 Evo review Samsung 970 Evo review In short, then, the Samsung 970 Evo SSD doesn’t bring any revolutions to the table, but it does evolve the existing design with more layers, more efficiency and more reliability. All of those improvements should deliver a boost when compared to last year’s model.

There have been plenty of revisions on the inside, but no big changes on the outside. The key chips are still installed on one side of the NVMe circuit board. There’s a nickel plate over the controller to improve heat distribution. On the other you get Samsung’s branding sticker with its familiar layer of copper. That layer improves heat dissipation.

The 970 Evo still has the five-year warranty that the 970 Pro also included. The Evo drives also retain the excellent endurance levels of the 970 Pro. The 1TB and 2TB versions of the 970 Evo offer 1,200TB of write endurance, with those amounts dropping as you buy smaller drives.

The 970 Evo also offers more versatility than the 970 Pro. The Evo is available in four capacities – 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB – and it’s cheaper, too. The 500GB model we’ve reviewed costs £147 or $198, while the 250GB model costs just £86 or $116.

If you want the high-capacity models, you’ll have to pay £290 or $380 for the 1TB version and £590 or $750 for the 2TB drive.

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Samsung 970 Evo Review – Performance

The Samsung 970 Evo SSD is the cheaper of Samsung’s new drives. Despite that, its similar design ensures excellent performance.

The 970 Evo’s CrystalDiskMark sequential read and write speeds of 3,568MB//s and 2,496MB/s are great. The former result matches the 970 Pro, while the latter is a little faster.

The 970 Evo fell behind in the 4Kb Q8T8 tests. It was marginally faster in the Q32Ti benchmark, but then proved slower in the tiny file benchmark at the end of CrystalDiskMark’s run. That indicates that the 970 Evo won’t be quite as adept with flinging around tiny files.

In the similar AS SSD benchmark the Samsung 970 Evo SSD consistently fell behind the 970 Pro in file-reading tests. However, it often proved a little faster in file-writing runs.

And, in ATTO Disk Benchmark, the Evo repeated that trend. It often squeaked ahead of the 970 Pro in file writing tests. But it frequently fell behind by wider margins in file-reading benchmarks. It was also slower to accelerate into the benchmarks than Samsung’s flagship. That’s undoubtedly due to its reliance on TLC memory rather than MLC chips.

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Samsung 970 Evo Review – Conclusion

Overall, then, the Samsung 970 Evo SSD may not quite match the 970 Pro in all benchmarks – especially when it comes to handling small files and getting up to speed quickly – but it’s still a very impressive bit of kit.

The 970 Evo matches or beats the 970 Pro in several crucial tests. And it’s never far behind the flagship drive when it does fall back.

It has exceptional endurance ratings too. The five-year warranty is a welcome addition that matches the rest of the market.

The 970 Pro may be the best drive around – and better for creatives and high-end work users – but the vast majority of people should buy the Samsung 970 Evo SSD. In day-to-day situations you just won’t notice the slight lack of speed – and you’ll save some cash. The 970 Pro may be Samsung’s superb flagship, but we reckon that the 970 Evo is even better.

The Samsung 970 Evo 500GBcosts £147 in the UK and $198 in the USDiscuss our Samsung 970 Evo review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!  

The Good:

  • Almost as quick as 970 Pro
  • Even beats the 970 Pro in some benchmarks
  • Great endurance rating
  • Five-year warranty

The Bad:

  • The 970 Pro is, overall, a little quicker
  • Doesn’t have MLC memory
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Samsung 970 Evo

About Author

Timo Helmke

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