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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  • XabanakFanatik - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    You, sir, are not the target market for a PRO series drive.
  • Railgun - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    While the article is painfully incomplete, its 3.0 performance is a bit of a moot point. I’m particularly waiting for the 4.0 test results as that’s what will count here.
  • WaltC - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    MBs per watt...not very useful for performance scenarios, imo. I agree this is not one of AT's shining moments...;)
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - link

    @ Railgun - it is valid testing for those of us whos m/b's only support PCIe3...
  • Ashantus - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Hell anandtech,
    i am badly missing the comparison to the modern M2- PCI 4.0 SSD with Toshiba Nanad and Phison E-16 controller. So either the Corsair MP600 or the Gigabyte Aorus. Other websites did the comparison in their Test, and Samsung hit the floor.
    Are you trying to protect Samsung by avoiding the big competitors?
  • Makaveli - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Reading comprehension is important.

    "Any Phison E16 Drive at PCIe 4.0, such as Seagate FireCuda 520"

    This drive is in the review!
  • Luckz - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    There's even (at least) two of these reading allergy guys in the comments here.
  • ppi - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    "Hype for the upcoming generation of game consoles has suggested that future video games may reach the point of needing the equivalent of an entire CPU core to manage IO, but that's only after using the equivalent of several more cores to decompress data and feed it to a powerful GPU running the kind of game engine that doesn't exist yet. Our new benchmark suite will be designed with such workloads in mind, but current consumer workloads aren't there yet and won't be for at least a few years."
    Major developers have had access to new consoles for some time already. I would not be surprised to see it used next year in some technologically ambitious game, or even in Cyberpunk 2077.
  • Slash3 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    On the PC side, it's basically predicated on Microsoft incorporating final Directstorage API support into a Windows update, which likely won't happen until the middle of next year.
  • PopinFRESH007 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Likely not untrue, but it isn't solely in the hands of Microsoft. Developers will still be able to leverage RTXIO, however, as we've seen with many other NVIDIA technologies there are a few games that will take advantage and the bulk will stick to less proprietary technologies. As such I think we will likely only see RTXIO leveraged via DirectStorage for games that are developed cross platform for Xbox Series X|S and Windows 10 PC.

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