Surprise! Just when you thought Samsung’s 960 Evo and 960 Pro NVMe SSDs were going to stick around for another year, today brings news of their shiny new replacements: the appropriately-named 970 Evo and 970 Pro. I’ll be reviewing them both very shortly, but for now here’s a quick run-down of each SSD’s specs and the kind of speeds we can expect to see from them when they eventually get released in the coming weeks.
Starting with the top-end 970 Pro, this M.2 2280 form-factor SSD comes in 512GB and 1TB capacities and uses the latest 2-bit MLC V-NAND together with Samsung’s all-new Phoenix controller to achieve faster-than-ever sequential read and write speeds of up to 3500MB/s and 2700MB/s (or up to 2300MB/s for the 512GB model) respectively. Like its 960 Pro predecessor, Samsung say this particular model is aimed at workstation users and anyone who regularly deals with 4K games and professional photo-editing.
The 970 Pro also improves on its 960’s endurance rating by 50%, with the 1TB model taking it up to 1200 terabytes written (TBW). The 512GB version, on the other hand, only (only!) gives you 600TBW. That’s partly thanks to the new nickel coating on the Phoenix controller, which helps dissipate heat faster during heavy workloads, but it also has Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard tech to help prevent overheating, as well as a heat spreader with an integrated copper film to further increase its cooling efficiency. It also comes with a five-year warranty.
The more mainstream 970 Evo, meanwhile, looks almost certain to replace the 960 Evo as one of this year’s best gaming SSDs, as this uses the latest 3-bit MLC V-NAND (plus Samsung’s new Phoenix controller) to deliver sequential read and write speeds of up to 3500MB/s and 2500MB/s. By comparison, the top-end 1TB 960 Evo only delivered 3200MB/s sequential read and 1900MB/s sequential write.
The 970 also comes in a much wider variety of sizes than the 960 Evo, ranging from 250GB all the way up to 2TB. That said, the 970 Evo’s rated speeds do get slower as you get into the smaller capacities, but even the 250GB model is still rated for 3400MB/s sequential read – an improvement of 200MB/s over the 250GB 960 Evo. Unfortunately, you won’t see much or any improvement in the 250GB model’s sequential write speed, as this is exactly the same (1500MB/s) as the 960 Evo.
What you do get, though, is more endurance, with the 2TB model getting the same 1200TBW rating as the 1TB 970 Pro, a longer warranty (five years, as opposed to just three), and all the same heat dissipation improvements you’ll find in the 970 Pro family.
And here’s the pricing (at least in the UK): The 970 Evo will start at just £100, rising to £194 for the 500GB model, £375 for the 1TB version and a massive £710 for the 2TB model, while the 970 Pro will cost either £275 for the 512GB version or £526 for 1TB. Stay tuned for our full reviews.