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What just happened? Samsung appears to have sneakily launched its fastest consumer SSD to date: The 7GB/s PCIe NVMe 980 Pro series. The m.2 drive was spotted earlier at CES 2020 with rumors of a late summer launch. Samsung is now listing the drive on its Singapore website and, as expected, has launched it in three storage capacities of 250GB, 500GB and 1TB. There's plenty of technical info this time around, but Samsung has still not revealed the drive's price, release date or availability in other markets.
Samsung gave us an exciting glimpse of the 980 Pro SSD at CES 2020, briefly revealing the drive's underlying technology, read/write speeds and storage capacities. While rumors of a late summer launch have now proved correct, Samsung, in the meantime, managed to find another 500 MB/s increase in the drive's read speeds, pushing it to an impressive 7,000 MB/s at launch.
Famed leaker, Ice Universe, initially revealed details about the 980 Pro, including a new custom Elpis controller and the drive's underlying storage technology. Users also extracted additional information from the 980 Pro's official listing on Samsung's Singapore website, which appears to have now been pulled and is currently redirecting to the site's homepage.
Samsung released 980 PRO PCIe 4.0 SSD, Read speeds up to 7,000 MB/s, new custom Elpis Controller, 3-bit MTC. pic.twitter.com/shLwcsCCXw— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) August 29, 2020
Unlike the 970 Pro with its 2-bit MLC memory, Samsung has gone for 3-bit MLC storage (also called TLC) in the new 980 Pro. The change has significantly reduced the 980 Pro's endurance rating over its predecessor, halving it to 600 TBW for the 1TB model as compared to 1,200 TBW for the 1TB 970 Pro.
It shouldn't worry most users, though, as they'll be getting a 5-year/TBW limited warranty across all three models and unprecedented levels of performance from this drive, provided they have a PCIe 4.0 capable PC with Ryzen inside to fully take advantage, until Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake CPUs and supporting boards arrive later this year.
||Max Read (MB/s)||Max Write (MB/s)||4KB Random Read/Write (IOPS)||DRAM Cache||Endurance Rating (TBW)||
|250 GB||6,400||2,700||500,000 / 600,000||512 MB||150||7W / 5W / 35mW|
|500 GB||6,900||5,000||800,000 / 1 million||512 MB||300||7.4 W/ 5.9W / 35mW|
|1 TB||7,000||5,000||1 million / 1 million||1 GB||600||8.9W / 6.2W / 35mW|
For now, Samsung is mum about the drive's availability and price. Its closest rivals (PCIe 4.0, TLC-based) are the slightly slower Corsair MP600 and the Sabrent Rocket, both of which currently cost around $200 for the 1TB version. Samsung's SSDs usually demand a premium over their competition and the 980 Pro should be no different.