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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  • Slash3 - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Yeah, we may get a few early test case scenarios through an Nvidia demonstration or partner product, but any major release will probably wait to land concurrently with a full fat Directstorage update from Microsoft. I'm looking forward to it, as I've got a pretty fast storage subsystem and very few games take advantage of it even during asset loading.
  • vanish1 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    no headphone jack, no purchase.
  • racerx_is_alive - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Do we know enough about the new DirectStorage API to make a prediction about how this will perform against the 4.0 Phison controller next year? Seems like that will be a real world situation that will use lots more queues and shift performance towards the Samsung.
  • KenK74 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    This product release is a real yawner. I am keeping my 970 Pro's, and will be searching anywhere but Samsung for decent TLC's with Hardware Encryption capability when I need another. Depending on platform, software Bitlocker may not slow the drive down much, or might do so a lot. For laptops, the real problem is the extra CPU power for software encryption that exceeds differences in SSD power among the SSD drives. Yeah, hardware bitlocker has its issues, but it seems the most power efficient option for laptops that need bitlocker. Meanwhile for non-hardware encrypted drives, the SK Hynix P31 looks very good, runs with the PCI4 drives in many aspects,, and has a great price.
  • PopinFRESH007 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Which Phision controller are you referencing? They have multiple PCIe 4.0 controllers and most of them are already available. The E16T has been available in multiple products since early in the year and the E18 is the controller for the recently announced Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus which (on paper) looks to offer better performance than the 980 Pro. The Rocket 4 Plus looks like it should also be available this year and there are a couple of other drives that are expected to launch in Q4 that will also likely be using the E18
  • dudlej84 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    I'm confused by the conclusion claiming it regains the performance crown, but the results seem to show it beaten quite often, even by the 970 pro and 970 evo plus in some cases. What am I missing?
  • XabanakFanatik - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    You're not missing anything, this is just corporate ass-wiping to reward Samsung for their terrible marketing decision to devalue the Pro brand they've been creating for a decade.
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, September 25, 2020 - link

    Besides their flagship phones, I can't think of any Samsung product that aren't terrible in terms of value for money in recent years.
  • alexdi - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    This is not a Pro drive. "Pro" means it maintains performance. This is a slightly faster Evo Plus and underwhelming for the price.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    That is some trash endurance for the price. The performance numbers are okay, but not the slightest bit earth shattering. I guess in the grand scheme of things, there appears to be no really good reason for this drive to even have gone into production for as little as it brings to the table. At least it isn't QLC, but it's pretty obvious that we have reached the end of NAND and need a more durable and higher density storage medium for the solid state side of the equation.

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