Review: Samsung’s new 990 Pro M.2 SSD is the top of its class with 7,450MB/s speeds [Video]

Samsung 990 Pro 2 Tb SSD

As we near the upper limit of PCIe Gen 4 speeds, the Samsung 990 Pro SSD, a definitive SSD that boasts read/write speeds faster than most of its competitors. If you can’t hold off a year or so before Gen 5, this is the perfect choice for gamers, content creators, and professionals.

Samsung 990 Pro: Blowing out the competition

Over the past few months, we’ve been seeing M.2 SSDs break through the 7000MB/s barrier, and now it’s Samsung’s turn. Coming later this month, the 990 Pro advertises an impressive 7,450 MB/s read speed. The previous iteration, the 980 Pro, was capped at around 7,000 MB/s. Most other competition has been capped at 7,300 MB/s, so this is definitely one of the fastest we’ve seen yet. They also have a heat sink version available, ready for that PS5 upgrade you’ve been waiting for.

Samsung is claiming you will get 40% and 55% faster random read/write speeds than 980 PRO. In fact, their reported IOPS is slightly higher than any other brand. While competitors have had SSDs over the 7000Mb/s range for a few months, the Samsung 990 Pro SSD is their first competitor to drives like WD_Black’s SN850X, Seagate’s Firecuda 530, and Kingston’s KC3000, which all clock in at 7,300 MB/s.

Now, the difference between all of these newer SSDs makes very little real-world difference in video games. But you will be able to tell the difference when you fast-travel in an open-world game or boot up your computer if you’re used to HDD, SATA, or Gen 3 SSD speeds. All in all, the jump from those storage options to an M.2 drive is going to be what makes a difference, not from one M.2 drive to a slightly faster one. I didn’t notice a difference, and you probably won’t either.

Hitting Gen 4 SSD limits

We’re on the precipice of widespread PCIe Gen 5 M.2 adoption in consumer markets. If you don’t know, without getting too technical, the transfer rate doubles every generation, so if Gen 4 is 16 GT/s, then Gen 5 is 32 GT/s. In the past year, we’ve seen announcements from Nvidia, Intel, and AMD supporting Gen 5 in certain components, so it’s on the horizon. We’re officially hitting the limit of Gen 4 architecture. So if you know you’re locked in, the Samsung 990 Pro SSD is one of the best SSDs you can get from a dependable brand.

I highly doubt you’ll notice a real difference between this and comparable competition, so the real decision comes down to the reliability, software additions like cloning and data migration, and warranty, all of which set Samsung apart. They are also vertically integrated, as they make all of the components themselves, so you know they aren’t cutting corners.

Samsung 990 Pro SSD: Extra benefits

One aspect that sets Samsung apart is the Magician software. If you need secure encryption or secure erase, they have you covered here. You can transfer data between SSDs, run diagnostics and benchmarks, and check that you’re up to date with firmware and drivers. This is a nice touch that isn’t exactly necessary but gives you greater control over your storage.

You also can take advantage of the massive improvement in performance per watt, which they’ve said is 50% better than the 980 Pro.

9to5Toys’ Take

If you’re due for an upgrade in the near future and can wait a year or so, like if you’re running a 980 Pro, then I would definitely suggest waiting. It may be slightly faster, but you aren’t going to see noticeable improvements in your games.

At launch, 1TB is $169 and 2TB is $289, and the heat sink versions will cost you $20 extra with each model. This is steeper than competitors for the same amount of storage and slightly slower speeds, but recent models have come down in price the months after release, so keep an eye out for discounts.

The 990 Pro is available for pre-order on Amazon and Samsung’s website now and will launch later this month.

Buy Samsung 990 Pro SSD 1TB

Buy Samsung 990 Pro SSD 2TB

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