Samsung’s 970 EVO 1 TB SSD reviewed

It’s been more than a year since Samsung’s 960 EVO wowed us with its combination of ludicrous speeds and palatable price points. At that time, the NVMe SSD market was just beginning to expand, and manufacturers were starting to find room in their lineups for attainable drives in addition to their halo products.

Today’s solid-state landscape is totally different. Every company and their grandmothers have brought multiple NVMe drives to bear for performance freaks and mainstream builders alike. Some NVMe drives’ prices dip so low they even encroach on SATA drives’ traditional downmarket dominance. It would take a truly special drive to make as big a splash today as the 960 EVO did back in 2016.

Samsung reckons the time is right for a new drive in this evergreen series. Today, the firm is unveiling the 960 EVO’s successor, the 970 EVO.

Armed with the latest TLC V-NAND and a new controller, the 970 EVO is ready to take the world by storm. It comes in four capacities, the essential details of which are outlined in the table below. Samsung sent us the 1-TB drive, which makes it easy to compare it to the 960 EVO 1 TB we reviewed in days past.

Samsung  970 EVO
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps) Price
Read Write Read Write
250 GB 3400 1500 200K 350K $120
500 GB 3400 2300 370K 450K $230
1 TB 3400 2500 500K 450K $450
2 TB 3500 2500 500K 480K $850

Among the drives launching today, the 2-TB version is new to the family. While the lowly SATA 850 EVO series eventually got a top-end 2-TB variant, the 960 EVOs only ever went up to 1 TB. To double the fun with Samsung NVMe drives, one used to have to spend truly eye-watering amounts of money on a 960 Pro 2 TB. Before we peel back the label to have a look at the good stuff, it’s worth calling out that the sticker still uses the same heat-dissipating integrated copper film we first saw in the 960 series.

Samsung calls its new NVMe controller “Phoenix.” As the company describes this chip, it sounds a whole lot like the prior Polaris design outside of its higher clock speeds. The controller includes five cores, one of which is dedicated to host system communication. The most apparent difference is visible to the naked eye. Phoenix shines bright with a nickel coating. According to Samsung, that coating could help stave off thermal throttling longer. Moving down the length of the PCB, we pass 1 GB of LPDDR4 on the way to the drive’s two flash packages. The 970 EVO has been upgraded to the latest 64-layer V-NAND in TLC configuration, which we reviewed previously in Samsung’s potent Portable SSD T5.

As is usual for the EVO line, TurboWrite (Samsung’s pseudo-SLC implementation) is along for the ride. Like the 960 EVO before it, the 970 EVO gets the upgraded Intelligent TurboWrite, which allows it to commandeer unused space to act as a fast-writing cache in addition to the dedicated, pre-allocated space that all TurboWrite versions use regardless of their IQ. The details haven’t changed, so flip back to our 960 EVO review for more.

The 970 EVO comes equipped with the standard bevy of encryption features, too. Its AES 256-bit hardware encryption engine will keep your secrets safe with support for the TCG Opal and IEEE 1667 standards as desired.

Samsung is so confident in the 970 EVO’s durability that it guarantees the drive for five years, a welcome jump from the three-year warranty of previous EVO drives. The endurance ratings for each capacity get a nice boost, as well, rising 50% for all capacities. That makes for a whopping 600 terabytes written for the 1 TB unit. It would take unfathomable abuse to hit that limit within the drive’s warranty period.

Despite the assorted improvements, Samsung isn’t moving the needle on pricing. The 970 EVO 1 TB’s suggested sticker is the same $450 that the 960 EVO 1 TB launched at. Of course, we won’t know if that suggestion will be honored by retailers until the drive hits general availability on May 7. But we don’t have to wait on anything to start testing, so let’s see what the latest EVO can do.


IOMeter — Sequential and random performance

IOMeter fuels much of our latest storage test suite, including our sequential and random I/O tests. These tests are run across the full capacity of the drive at two queue depths. The QD1 tests simulate a single thread, while the QD4 results emulate a more demanding desktop workload. For perspective, 87% of the requests in our old DriveBench 2.0 trace of real-world desktop activity have a queue depth of four or less. Clicking the buttons below the graphs switches between results charted at the different queue depths.

Our sequential tests use a relatively large 128-KB block size.

These first results are a bit unexpected. The 970 EVO’s sequential speeds are about 20% slower than its predecessor’s in IOMeter. It’s still a screaming fast drive, make no mistake, but we wouldn’t have expected a regression this large. We’re checking in with Samsung about these results, and we’ll update this review if we learn more.

Random response times are an even split. The 970 EVO’s random reads are just a smidgen faster than its predecessor, but the 960 EVO boasts better random write throughput.

The 970 EVO has given us bona fide NVMe speeds so far, but we can’t call it an unqualified success. Where we would have expected parity or better in IOMeter, the 970 EVO fell a bit behind its forebear. We’re looking into these results to make sure they’re not anomalous and will revisit them if we learn more about what might be going on. Let’s see if our sustained and scaling tests can cast the 970 EVO in more favorable light.


Sustained and scaling I/O rates

Our sustained IOMeter test hammers drives with 4KB random writes for 30 minutes straight. It uses a queue depth of 32, a setting that should result in higher speeds that saturate each drive’s overprovisioned area more quickly. This lengthy—and heavy—workload isn’t indicative of typical PC use, but it provides a sense of how the drives react when they’re pushed to the brink.

We’re reporting IOps rather than response times for these tests. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between SSDs.

The 970 EVO appears to peak a bit shy of the 960 EVO’s max speed, and it has an intermediate drop-off on its way to sustained performance that the early drive doesn’t. Even so, both gumsticks experience a precipitous collapse at almost exactly the same time. This makes perfect sense, since the two drives have identical DRAM and TurboWrite cache allocations.

The 970 EVO indeed lags behind the record-holding peak random write rate of the 960 EVO. Its steady state speed also trails the older drive’s, albeit not by much.

Our final IOMeter test examines performance scaling across a broad range of queue depths. We ramp all the way up to a queue depth of 128. Don’t expect AHCI-based drives to scale past 32, though—that’s the maximum depth of their native command queues.

For this test, we use a database access pattern comprising 66% reads and 33% writes, all of which are random. The test runs after 30 minutes of continuous random writes that put the drives in a simulated used state. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the different drives. And note that the P3700 plot uses a much larger scale.

The 970 EVO 1 TB scales readily until QD16, where it levels off. Let’s look at the Samsung stable together for context.

The 970 EVO slightly outscales the 960 EVO until the two meet at QD16. The 960 EVO, however, manages to eke out a few more IOps as it continues through the final queue depths, in stark opposition to the 970 EVO’s flat plateau. Recall that client workloads often don’t scale much past QD4 or QD8, so that kind of scaling is primarily of academic interest.

Again, the 970 EVO 1 TB delivers great NVMe-worthy speeds in our sustained test, but it just can’t seem to match the 960 EVO’s prior accomplishments in IOMeter. Maybe real-world workloads will be kinder to it than our synthetic tests have been.


TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers

RoboBench trades synthetic tests with random data for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we’ve also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it’s been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 459 21.4MB 9.58GB 0.8%
Work 84,652 48.0KB 3.87GB 59%

The media set is made up of large movie files, high-bitrate MP3s, and 18-megapixel RAW and JPG images. There are only a few hundred files in total, and the data set isn’t amenable to compression. The work set comprises loads of TR files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files associated with our old Mozilla compiling test and the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench’s write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let’s take a look at the media set first. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.

Now we’re cooking with gas. The 960 EVO bests the newer drive in the single-threaded read test, but the 970 EVO comes out on top in all the others. In fact, the eight-threaded copy test is an unprecedented slaughter. The 970 EVO sets a new record with a copy speed 70% faster than the prior drive’s.

Now for the work set.

The 960 EVO still reads faster with a single thread, but again the 970 EVO emerges victorious everywhere else. The biggest win this time is in the eight-threaded write test, where the 970 EVO’s performance is a good 30% better than the 960 EVO’s.

These are the results we are looking for. The 970 EVO’s file-pushing prowess outshines that of its older brother and most of the rest of field as well. Lastly, we’ll see how the drive handles primary storage responsibilities.


Boot times

Until now, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives.

We’ll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

It’s pretty much a wash. Even stevens. The 970 EVO boots up just as swiftly as the 960 EVO did.

Load times

Next, we’ll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790-MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30-MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523-MB image file in the GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159-MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

The 970 EVO is a tad sluggish to load LibreOffice, but otherwise looks just fine. Fun and games next.

Games load in at the appropriate speeds. Probably not the most cost-effective use of an NVMe drive, but don’t let us stop you.

The 970 EVO serves well as primary storage, though it didn’t come away with any big wins over the 960 EVO. We’re all out of tests, so skip ahead to conclusion unless you want to read about our test methods on the next page.


Test notes and methods

Here are the essential details for all the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Adata Premier SP550 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm SK Hynix TLC
Adata Ultimate SU800 512GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Adata Ultimate SU900 256GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 Micron 3D MLC
Adata XPG SX930 240GB SATA 6Gbps JMicron JMF670H 16-nm Micron MLC
Corsair MP500 240GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Phison 5007-E7 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial BX200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm Micron TLC
Crucial MX200 500GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS9189 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial MX300 750GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS1074 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 64-layer Micron 3D TLC
Crucial MX500 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 64-layer Micron 3D TLC
Intel X25-M G2 160GB SATA 3Gbps Intel PC29AS21BA0 34-nm Intel MLC
Intel 335 Series 240GB SATA 6Gbps SandForce SF-2281 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 730 Series 480GB SATA 6Gbps Intel PC29AS21CA0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel DC P3700 800GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Mushkin Reactor 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
OCZ Arc 100 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Trion 100 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 A19-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Trion 150 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Vector 180 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Vector 180 960GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
Patriot Hellfire 480GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Phison 5007-E7 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe Gen2 x2 Marvell 88SS9183 19-nm Toshiba MLC
Samsung 850 EV0 250GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MGX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 EV0 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 860 Pro 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MJX 64-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung UBX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 960 EVO 250GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 Pro 2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 970 EVO 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Phoenix 64-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung SM951 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung S4LN058A01X01 16-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung XP941 256GB PCIe Gen2 x4 Samsung S4LN053X01 19-nm Samsung MLC
Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC358790XBG 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Toshiba TR200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 64-layer Toshiba BiCS TLC
Toshiba XG5 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba TC58 64-layer Toshiba BiCS TLC
Transcend SSD370 256GB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC
Transcend SSD370 1TB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC

All the SATA SSDs were connected to the motherboard’s Z97 chipset. The M6e was connected to the Z97 via the motherboard’s M.2 slot, which is how we’d expect most folks to run that drive. Since the XP941, 950 Pro, RD400, and 960 Pro require more lanes, they were connected to the CPU via a PCIe adapter card. The 750 Series and DC P3700 were hooked up to the CPU via the same full-sized PCIe slot.

We used the following system for testing:

Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Motherboard Asus Z97-Pro
Firmware 2601
Platform hub Intel Z97
Platform drivers Chipset:


Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Adata XPG V3 DDR3 at 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 11-11-11-28-1T
Audio Realtek ALC1150 with drivers
System drive Corsair Force LS 240GB with S8FM07.9 firmware
Storage Crucial BX100 500GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial BX200 480GB with MU01.4 firmware

Crucial MX200 500GB with MU01 firmware

Intel 335 Series 240GB with 335u firmware

Intel 730 Series 480GB with L2010400 firmware

Intel 750 Series 1.2GB with 8EV10171 firmware

Intel DC P3700 800GB with 8DV10043 firmware

Intel X25-M G2 160GB with 8820 firmware

Plextor M6e 256GB with 1.04 firmware

OCZ Trion 100 480GB with 11.2 firmware

OCZ Trion 150 480GB with 12.2 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 240GB with 1.0 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 960GB with 1.0 firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 Pro 500GB with EMXM01B6Q firmware

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB with 1B0QBXX7 firmware

Samsung XP941 256GB with UXM6501Q firmware

Transcend SSD370 256GB with O0918B firmware

Transcend SSD370 1TB with O0919A firmware

Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Case Fractal Design Define R5
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards, to Intel for the CPUs, to Adata for the memory, to Fractal Design for the cases, and to Corsair for the system drives and PSUs. And thanks to the drive makers for supplying the rest of the SSDs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.

  • We run virtually all our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run a second time to verify the results of the first test and additional times only if necessary. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure the CPU’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the frequency at 3.5GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1920×1080 at 60Hz. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.



The 970 EVO 1 TB delivered a more-than-competent performance throughout our test suite. If not for the 960 EVO’s significantly better showing in our IOMeter synthetics, we’d likely be gushing over just how great a generation-to-generation improvement the 970 EVO is. The 970 EVO regained some ground on its predecessor during our RoboBench file-transfer tests, but probably not enough to come ahead in our overall rankings (for the moment, at least—we’re working with Samsung to see if there might be an explanation for our IOMeter results).

We distill the overall performance rating using an older SATA SSD as a baseline. To compare each drive, we then take the geometric mean of a basket of results from our test suite. Only drives which have been through the entire current test suite on our current rig are represented.

For now, the 970 EVO lands a ways behind its older sibling but fortunately still distances itself from older, less-expensive drives like the RD400 and Hellfire. Make no mistake: the 970 EVO belongs in the upper echelon of NVMe drives. If IOMeter synthetics are meaningless to you, the 970 EVO 1 TB is almost certainly a better drive than the 960 EVO 1 TB. But if you already own a 960-series gumstick, there’s little sense in shelling out again for the 970 series.

Regardless, let’s take a look at the 970 EVO 1 TB’s place in the broader SSD landscape, assuming retailers will sell it close to its official asking price. In the plots below, the most compelling position is toward the upper left corner, where the price per gigabyte is low and performance is high. Use the buttons to switch between views of all drives, only SATA drives, or only PCIe drives.

Even with our mixed results, the 970 EVO 1 TB comes out ahead of every NVMe SSD on the market save Samsung’s own. As we’ve been saying, the only competition that might give a prospective buyer pause is Samsung’s own 960 EVO 1 TB. And even though the 970 EVO performed worse in some of our tests, its formidable file-transfer speeds in our real-world benchmarking, its longer warranty, and its absurd endurance rating may just make up the difference. We don’t have any shopping links for you yet, but we can tell you that the 970 EVO 1 TB’s suggested price of $450 works out to 45 cents per gigabyte.

The 970 EVO didn’t make our hearts throb in the same way that the 960 EVO did in 2016—at least, not yet. Its improvements in our RoboBench tests were overshadowed by some regressions in IOMeter that we’re still investigating. Nonetheless, it’s a darn fine NVMe drive with a long warranty and juicy endurance rating. The 970 EVO 1 TB is easy to recommend to any builder looking for a large chunk of some of the best-performing NVMe goodness around, especially as supplies of the 960 EVO inevitably dwindle, and if we can sort out why this drive isn’t playing nice with our IOMeter tools, it has the potential to put up an even better showing yet.

Comments closed
    • VincentHanna
    • 4 years ago

    Most consumers don’t know the difference between SATA and NVMe, let alone know that there is a performance gap. Hell, most consumers don’t know what an SSD is. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a consumer who knows the difference between ram and storage.

    So I’d tend to look towards price-fixing more-so than “unreal levels of demand for high performance parts keeping the prices of NVMe drives sky high” which is what you are actually implying when you say retailers can charge more because “people will pay for it”

    • pitterpat
    • 5 years ago

    It’s been about three weeks … can you add an update if Samsung has or has not responded? The 1TB EVO 960 is actually more expensive than the 970 on Amazon right now (May 10, $425 vs $399). It’s not looking good. I’ve been waiting almost six months for these to come out, and now I guess I’m not going to buy them. Sigh … The PRO 970 looks better, and I’m trying to decide between the 970 Pro 512Gb vs the HP EX920 1TB. But I’m holding out for good news about the 1TB EVO 970. Please let us know what follow-up news you have!!

    • brucek2
    • 5 years ago

    For the games I play most often, there is nothing subtle about the load time difference on SSD vs mechanical drives. If you play the types of games where that’s something than can happen many times an hour, you will give back your SSD over your cold dead body.

    Anybody who publishes a “reputable benchmark” focusing only on FPS while ignoring the fact the level had to load first is not doing anyone any favors.

    • strangerguy
    • 5 years ago

    Because marketing and blind bandwagoning is one helluva drug.

    Anybody still remember the vastly overrated RAID 0 Raptors?

    • Airmantharp
    • 5 years ago

    A cut on MSRP would have put this drive in a much better light. Performance will be indistinguishable, but the shrunk die should result in a lower BOM for Samsung.

    • uni-mitation
    • 5 years ago

    I am with you on this. TR could withhold making a recommendation until they have squared away this whole issue with apparent regressions given the data. I would love for a double take on this.

    I certainly don’t place any sort of credence to manufacturers’ claims of their products. They seem to play this whole thing as a way to present their product in the best light when sites like TR do their due diligence and then they have to call them out. Awkward….

    I trust TR will not take whatever Samsung says at face value until they are able to verify it independently! Keep up the good work!!


    • Airmantharp
    • 5 years ago

    I’ll back you up everytime I see it.

    The only drive that will appreciably improve the experience over a modern SSD (of any type!) would be an Optane drive, and you cannot yet get a high-performance version in NVMe.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    i guess those tech sites were not anticipating market manipulation, bs nonsense excuses, and price fixing. but hey, bubbles gotta pop some time.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 5 years ago

    I’d say you’re the outlier here. Most people are fine with a large M.2 for total, or worst-case a mid-size M.2 + a large 3.5″ drive.

    • Freon
    • 5 years ago

    M.2 puts a practical limit on expansion that is lower than SATA. A typical board still only has maybe two m.2 slots, and micro ATX is probably more likely a single port.

    For decades I’ve had a large mishmash of drives in any computer I’ve owned. I currently have five drives just in my physical box plus a NAS and another PC with two drives of its own. One NVMe boot drive and four more SATA drives that I have accumulated over the years as sales appear and my need for more storage and speed has occurred.

    I can certainly get m.2 PCIe add-in cards to give me more expansion, but NVMe then eats up too many PCIe lanes on my Z170 board, disabling considerable numbers of SATA ports. And adding a PCIe card to add a m.2 SATA drive instead of just using a SATA cable to a 2.5″ form factor drive seems downright silly for vague, subjective goals like “cleanliness”.

    Cost leaves it much more practical to purchase 250-500 GB drives and add more as needed, or swap out HDDs for SSDs as prices fall. You’re painting yourself into a corner if you want to count on m.2 to be your total solution.

    • weaktoss
    • 5 years ago

    Whoops, that page has certainly been neglected. In this particular case, the results we published were using Samsung’s latest driver. We also ran a few of the IOMeter tests with the default Windows driver, but the resulting differences were negligible.

    • Kougar
    • 5 years ago

    Performance shouldn’t be your only metric. The warranty was increased from 3 to 5 years, and the write endurance was increased by 50% over the 960 EVO. But yes, shame it couldn’t deliver on the better performance, or a slightly lower launch price.

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    960 EVO is a helluva drug, errr drive.

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    +1 absolutely

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 5 years ago

    To me, NVMe is more about the physical interface of M.2 than the communication protocol. I love the gumstick look. It makes a build so much cleaner without having to run a power cable and SATA cable. Also don’t have to worry about loose wires. SATA-connected M.2 drives are just as fast in most real-world benchmarks and have the benefit of the cleanliness.

    • Pville_Piper
    • 5 years ago

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people swear up and down that you need NVMe drives for your gaming machine when I’ve never seen a reputable benchmark that shows SSD drives increase the performance for gaming, let alone a NVMe drive.

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    Tony. If you put the 960 EVO and 970 EVO page 1 read/write charts next to each other for comparison, it highlights some interesting contrasts to the test results that TR and multiple other sites are seeing.

    For example – 500GB capacity.
    960 EVO seq read = 3200MB/s
    970 EVO seq read = 3400MB/s

    960 EVO seq write = 1800MB/s
    970 EVO seq write = 2300MB/s

    960 EVO rand read = 330k
    970 EVO rand read = 370k

    960 EVO rand write = 330k
    970 EVO rand write = 450k

    1) None of those numbers show up anywhere in the benchmarks, that I can find
    2) Perhaps Samsung is testing these drives in a VERY specific manner to eke out their max potential to plaster on the spec sheet to attract buyers. Don’t you find it interesting that the 970 EVO specs are higher than the 960 EVO across the board, and yet the 960 EVO outperforms the 970 EVO in almost all real-world benchmarks?
    3) Maybe there’s a Samsung firmware bug…that’s affecting ALL of the testing results.

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    Again, when you remove the SATA bottleneck and buyers see the full random read/write potential is 3x higher on NVMe, it’s perceived as a performance benefit, hence higher price. Most consumers don’t know/care that the vast majority of their workload will not benefit in any noticeable way by going with NVMe.

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    Probably a simple answer like, if you change the OS you have to retest all other drives, which is a LOT of work.

    • 5 years ago

    From what I’ve been reading,using Sammy’s new 970 NVMe drivers, results are not as
    good as using MS drivers…………………….
    Where in the past Sammy’s 960 drivers were better than MS………………………

    • klok
    • 5 years ago

    Seeing some pcie nvm having dissipater for better sustained performance. Is there more information regarding temp vs performance?

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    maybe you got a dud? or maybe the new 64 layer nand has issues? or the new phoenix controller is better optimized for win10? and why windows 8.1 testing? wouldn’t the drivers fair better on a newer OS?

    • Fonbu
    • 5 years ago

    I wonder if the BOM for this drive is much lower than the 960EVO? It would give Samsung higher margins. And with being the king of the hill in M.2, Samsung can charge what they want! But this release is a product refresh cycle it seems.

    • oldog
    • 5 years ago

    StorageReview was pretty negative on the 970 EVO.


    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    Looks like Samsung fudged their homework this time around.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 5 years ago


    • unmake
    • 5 years ago

    It looks like the Test Notes & Methods page hasn’t been updated for quite some time.. I was curious to see if you were using the manufacturer’s NVMe drivers? (Do they even make a difference?)

    • Mr Bill
    • 5 years ago

    +3 Ruby Rhod says that would pop Pop POP!

    • Waco
    • 5 years ago

    I’ll be using them for high queue depth streaming reads/writes, so they’re fairly comparable in that respect. 🙂

    • benedict
    • 5 years ago

    Those lower-performing NVMe drives are just as fast as a 24c/GB MX500. Those drives should’ve achieved price parity a long time ago. You’d almost think the few remaining players in the SSD business have entered a new price-fixing cartel.

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    Today’s consumer-oriented testing just doesn’t seem to be keeping up with these drives’ capabilities, I imagine. Mostly it looks like us 960 EVO’ers should be a happy bunch, but there are a few times where it looks like the 970 EVO could shine if it were punished more.

    • moose17145
    • 5 years ago

    Based upon the game and OS load / boot times, I think I will hold onto my 500GB EVO 850 for a while longer yet (currently configured as my primary boot drive).

    I have been considering a second larger sized SSD for holding my games library, but it seems like there is no point to go NVMe for that, so I may just pick up another 2.5″ SATA SSD instead.

    I really wish manufacturers would stop being greedy and at least bring M.2 / NVMe down to price parity with 2.5″ SATA prices.

    But, I suspect by the time that happens, decent sized Optane drives will be affordable and no one will care about NVMe NAND anymore.

    • Wilko
    • 5 years ago

    The only sticks my wallet will let me have are wooden ones!

    • Goty
    • 5 years ago

    I think it deserved the “Recommended” award assuming it drives deeper sales on 960 EVOs!

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 5 years ago

    How does it get a recommended if it’s not really any faster than the previous generation. That cheapens the “recommended” badge in my book.

    • danny e.
    • 5 years ago

    price is still too high. Should be down to 200 per TB by now.
    $850 for 2TB is ridiculous.

    memory for nothing and my sticks for free!

    • Waco
    • 5 years ago

    I nearly waited last week for this launch when I procured 80 of the 960 Evo for some scale testing…I’m now happy I didn’t wait. 🙂

    • Takeshi7
    • 5 years ago

    I think TR should perform the application and game loading benchmarks in their CPU reviews. It’s silly to keep doing those tests in the SSD reviews when it’s obvious from the numbers that the SSD is not the bottleneck. It’s the CPU and/or platform being a bottleneck in load times.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago



    • Srsly_Bro
    • 5 years ago


    Using old data in a review with new data is lazy and introduces too many variables to make the information useful.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 5 years ago


    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    Anandtech’s benchmarks showed the 960 EVO beating the 970 EVO also. FYI.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Well obviously you were hacked!
    That’s why the numbers don’t make sense!

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    The lower-performing NVMe drives are sitting around 32-35c/GB.

    You’re paying a “performance tax” on NVMe drives. Their BoM is cheaper than 2.5″ SATA drives for sure, but manufacturers know consumers will pay more for higher performance.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    well, I’m asking. I said “if”, not stated as fact.

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    Question: On the IOMeter graph, would it be possible to make the reviewed drive’s results persistent and simply overlay any one of the other mess of SSDs by clicking it’s button?

    Or better yet! Allow the reader to click any number of SSD buttons [they stay depressed] so they can overlay as many comparisons on the chart as they desire?

    • benedict
    • 5 years ago

    The tiny speed bump cannot justify the high price. Last year all tech sites were proclaiming how in 2018 NVMe drives would match price with SATA drives, yet here we are and they are almost twice as expensive. For me NVMe drives are a no buy until they drop to 25-30c/GB.

    • Ryhadar
    • 5 years ago

    Very much appreciate the review. Everytime I see an NVMe drive review here and see boot/launch times I’m reminded how silly it would be to upgrade my SATA SSDs to NVMe.

    Cool tech to be sure. But I’m not doing a whole lot with my disks that would necessitate the need/want for the order of magnitude increase in transfer speeds. I’m much more latency sensitive.

    • Jeff Kampman
    • 5 years ago

    Give us some credit, please—we simply wouldn’t bench drives with such a glaring change in testing conditions beforehand, nor would we confound drives tested that way with the rest of our data set.

    • Jeff Kampman
    • 5 years ago

    Our storage bench has not been patched for either vulnerability, so it’s not that. Like we noted, we’re working with Samsung to explore what’s going on and we’ll update the article when we learn more.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    If the 970 was tested with Spectre/Meltdown mitigations, it’s probably time to re-do the whole batch, or at least a subset of it and dump the rest of the data. At least some of what’s unusual has to be due to reduced storage performance across the board, which isn’t reflected in all of the data.

    That’s not to say it’s easy or not time consuming, but you can’t hamstring some drives and not others.

    • techguy
    • 5 years ago

    This makes me happy I bought a 960 Evo 500GB a couple months ago for $200. From you-know-where 😉

    • Evleos87
    • 5 years ago

    The lower IO-performance is probably due to Smeltdown-patches by Intel. As you say yourself, you did not redo the EVO 960 benches. Jeff, why did you suddenly stop including storage controller performance in your CPU reviews? You used to include them when AMD had poor USB and SATA controllers.

    • Bomber
    • 5 years ago

    All I got from this is how much more I love my 960 Evo…thanks TR!

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