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 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    NAND has a long way to go yet. It took a while for SATA SSDs to take off then they were bumping at the top of the SATA bandwidth for many years. Now the PCIe NVME drives are shooting up in data transfer speeds faster than the PCIe committee can bring out new speeds. NVME drives were all clustered at the top of PCIe 3.0 for a few years; PCIe 4.0 has only just come out and already much of the new headroom has gone. At this point the main bottlenecks are the drive controller chips and the PCIe standards themselves. 5.0 is being rushed out for a reason and it isn’t for GPU cards.
  • MFinn3333 - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Modern SSD's endurance being small is mostly a myth. The last test I saw was on a Crucial BX500 120GB and it wrote 1.2PB on it before it gave out while a smaller 32GB hit around 250TB. The amount of voltage hitting the cells has dropped significantly over the years when they switched to Charged Trap Flash.

    The 600TBW is the minimum the drive will write.
  • Pinn - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Curious about cooling. It looks bare but not near a GPU? Did you see thermal throttling?
  • Billy Tallis - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    The most recent SMART log for the 1TB 980 PRO indicates that it has spent about two minutes at or above the warning temperature (82C) but hasn't hit the critical temperature (85C). And that's out of about 14 power-on hours of testing. The SMART logs for the 250GB drive indicate that it has not hit its warning temperature.
  • back2future - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    What's the cells endurance and storage data stability compared at DWPD=0.3 on these high temperatures (179F, 82C) with long term comparison? What to expect on 5 year professional (high throughput) usage patterns?
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    “Samsung is abandoning the use of the two bit per cell (MLC) memory that has been the hallmark of the PRO product lines, and with the 980 PRO, Samsung is finally switching to three bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash memory.

    Along with switching to TLC NAND, Samsung has cut the write endurance ratings in half to 0.3 DWPD and dropped the usable capacities down to the typical TLC/EVO levels of 250/500/1000 GB instead of 256/512/1024 GB. TLC means the 980 PRO now relies on SLC caching for its peak write speeds, and write performance will drop substantially if the SLC cache is ever filled.”


    What consumers hope for: Worse endurance and worse performance. Higher profits for the company selling it.
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - link

    @ Oxford - pretty much sums it up for me.
  • Whiteknight2020 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    "Pro" means precisely and exactly, absolutely 0% of sod all. And always has. Either a product fits ones particular use case or it does not. I'm a "pro", in that I design, integrate an build Telco grade data centre systems deployments. I don't have a use for 600TBW to a 1TB drive, I'll never write that in it's useful life. I don't have a use for 6GB/s transfer rates. I do have a use for multiterabyte ssds at reasonable (1GB/s) transfer rates. For me, that would be a "pro" drive. For other workloads an entirely different "pro" profile is needed. There are few blanket use cases, except perhaps standard consumer laptop drives.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    "'Pro' means precisely and exactly, absolutely 0% of sod all."

    You're correct and you're incorrect.

    You're correct in the sense that Samsung has rendered "Pro" no longer compelling by selling inferior TLC NAND in this product, undermining the established reputation of its Pro-labeled product line.

    You're incorrect in terms of this:

    "And always has."

    This is objectively flatly false. Samsung's Pro-labeled products have existed in the market for quite some time. They have an established reputation for targeting a specific level of performance and having other characteristics, like high-endurance MLC NAND.
  • Tomatotech - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    See the StoragePro review. This drive has some fantastic numbers under enterprise workloads.

    For home use? I’m not so sure about the value there. There’s a reason it’s called Pro.

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