Note: Our SSD testbed is currently producing suspiciously slow scores for The Destroyer, so those results have been omitted pending further investigation.

Note2: We are currently in the process of testing these benchmarks in PCIe 4.0 mode. Results will be added as they finish.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy

Our Heavy storage benchmark is proportionally more write-heavy than The Destroyer, but much shorter overall. The total writes in the Heavy test aren't enough to fill the drive, so performance never drops down to steady state. This test is far more representative of a power user's day to day usage, and is heavily influenced by the drive's peak performance. The Heavy workload test details can be found here. This test is run twice, once on a freshly erased drive and once after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Heavy
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The 250GB Samsung 980 PRO is a clear improvement across the board relative to the 970 EVO Plus. It still has some fairly high latency scores, especially for the full drive test run, but that's to be expected for this capacity class. The 1TB model seems to have sacrificed a bit of its full drive performance for in favor of a slight increase in empty-drive performance—the enlarged SLC caches are probably a contributing factor here.

Both drives show a significant reduction in energy usage compared to the older generation of Samsung M.2 NVMe drives, but there's still a ways to go before Samsung catches up to the most efficient 8-channel drives.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

Our Light storage test has relatively more sequential accesses and lower queue depths than The Destroyer or the Heavy test, and it's by far the shortest test overall. It's based largely on applications that aren't highly dependent on storage performance, so this is a test more of application launch times and file load times. This test can be seen as the sum of all the little delays in daily usage, but with the idle times trimmed to 25ms it takes less than half an hour to run. Details of the Light test can be found here. As with the ATSB Heavy test, this test is run with the drive both freshly erased and empty, and after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Light
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The Samsung 980 PRO does not bring any significant improvements to performance on the Light test. Peak performance from most high-end NVMe drives is essentially the same, and the only meaningful differences are on the full-drive test runs. Aside from a relatively high 99th percentile write latency from the 250GB 980 PRO, neither capacity has any trouble with the full-drive test run.

Samsung has made significant improvements to energy efficiency with the 980 PRO. Samsung's previous generation of M.2 NVMe drives were among the most power-hungry in this segment, with their performance potential largely wasted on such a light workload. The 980 PRO cuts energy usage by a third compared to the 970 generation drives, bringing them more into competition with other high-end M.2 drives. But as with the Heavy test, there's still a lot of room for improvement as illustrated by drives like the WD Black SN750.

Cache Size Effects Random IO Performance
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  • Tomatotech - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Updating my comment - StorageReview tested the 980 Pro with enterprise workloads. It seems a fantastic performer there, with some of the highest numbers I’ve ever seen, especially in random 4K r/w, which is an area I’ve long felt nvme was neglecting. The 980 Pro is a drive that finally performs well in this area.

    That said, that performance requires a monster 128 queue depth which is fine in enterprise but is very rarely seen in desktop computing. Oh well, it’s called Pro for a reason. That aspect of its performance justifies the price in my view.
  • Someguyperson - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Why haven't you tested any Phison E16 drives yet? I get that power consumption was seen as an issue, but with these drives pulling 20 watts, I don't think Phison E16 drives would be all that different. That said, the only way to validate any of those claims is by actually testing the drives. Which you haven't done yet.
  • Slash3 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    The Firecuda 520 is a Phison E16 design.
  • londedoganet - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    > Samsung Elpis

    ouk élabon pólin; álla gàr elpìs éphē kaká
  • pogostick - Friday, October 2, 2020 - link

    I have no idea what this says, but I know exactly what it says.
  • Duncan Macdonald - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    An extreme endurance drive (all SLC) would seem to be a useful niche product for some users. It should be possible to produce such a drive with just a software modification to the controller. Obviously the cost/GB would be much higher but for some uses the extra cost would be worth it.
    (The same amount of NAND that would provide 2TB in TLC mode would only provide around 600GB in SLC mode.)
  • Tomatotech - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    You’re talking about enterprise SSDs. They’re over that way. And one was included in the testing in this very article you’re reading.
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    "(The same amount of NAND that would provide 2TB in TLC mode would only provide around 600GB in SLC mode.)"

    if memory serves, at least one of the AT SSD reviewers has pointed out that TLC/QLC NAND run in 'SLC mode' isn't actually SLC. and doesn't perform like it.
  • CheapSushi - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - link

    Get OPTANE. Why do so many people constantly overlook Optane? Optane has even higher endurance than SLC.
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    With the move to 128l 8nm NAND, I was hoping for MLC with higher capacity, faster performance and lower prices at the same endurance level of the 970 Pro.

    But with TLC, this is still significantly more expensive than the EVO Plus, and not worth it for the average consumer considering the competition. It's just making Hynix Gold look that much better. This isn't what the Pro series customers wanted, Samsung...

    Oh well, RIP Pro line... Really disappointed.

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