The Samsung 980 Pro is official. Arriving in early October in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB size capacities (with a larger 2TB model due before the end of the year), Samsung’s new NVMe SSD will be their first drive to support the new, super fast PCIe 4.0 standard, offering sequential read and write speeds up to a massive 7000MB/s and 5000MB/s respectively – provided you’ve got a compatible motherboard, that is.
The 980 Pro uses Samsung’s new Elpis controller and 3-bit MLC V-NAND technology to deliver its lighting fast read and write speeds, and the combination of its nickel coating, heat spreader label and Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard tech negate the need for a bulky heatsink, according to Samsung. As a result, it should mean the 980 Pro’s a lot easier to install than other PCIe 4.0 SSDs, such as the chunky Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen 4 SSD whose giant copper heatsink sometimes proved problematic on some of the X570 motherboards I tested it with back in the middle of last year.
PCIe 4.0 delivers up to twice the bandwidth of existing PCIe 3.0 SSDs, and is set to become the de facto storage standard for PCs going forward. Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles are built around the PCIe 4.0 standard, and Microsoft’s DirectStorage tech for PCs is also going to be leveraging its super fast speeds to cut down on game loading times when it launches next year.
I’ll be testing the 980 Pro very shortly so you can see exactly how it stacks up to Gigabyte’s Aorus drive, but right now it will be of limited use to you unless you’ve got a PC built around one of AMD’s 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs. At the moment, only AMD’s X570 and B550 motherboard chipsets have full PCIe 4.0 support, as Intel pulled it from their new 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs shortly before launch, even though some of their Z490 boards do technically support it. As a result, it’s still early days for PCIe 4.0 on PC, and it likely won’t be until Intel’s next generation of 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPUs that we’ll see a full PCIe 4.0 ecosystem available.
Besides, with prices set to start from £83 in the UK for just the 250GB version, it’s probably best to wait a bit anyway until it all becomes a bit less expensive. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of an 980 Evo at the moment, so those hankering for a more affordable PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD will need to hang on a little longer until the successor to Samsung’s brilliant 970 Evo Plus inevitably makes an appearance.