While the Samsung 970 lineup is stacked with several different models, such as the EVO, EVO Plus, and Pro, the Samsung 980 Pro has largely gone at it alone since its launch in September. This looks like it’s about to change, however, as listings for a non-Pro Samsung 980 have appeared on several retailers’ and even Samsung’s own website (via ComputerBase), despite no official announcement.
Unlike the 980 Pro, which uses the newer PCIe 4.0 standard, the upcoming Samsung 980 is built using the previous Gen 3 specification, meaning it’s capped at half the speed. Fortunately, it looks to reach these upper limits with the €149 1TB model hitting a sequential read speed of 3500MB/s and a sequential write speed of 3000MB/s, which is faster than the more expensive 970 Evo but retains the same 600TBW endurance and five-year warranty.
It’ll also be available in smaller 250GB and 500GB capacities, which cost €69 and €89 respectively. There’s no sign of a 2TB model just yet, but this usually comes much later in an SSD’s life.
When choosing the best SSD for gaming, PCIe 3.0 drives still offer great performance without the added premium of PCIe 4.0. And considering you’ll need to have one of AMD’s Zen 3 chips or Intel’s upcoming 11th gen CPUs to take full advantage of PCIe 4.0 SSDs, it’s not surprising to see Samsung release a new drive based on the older standard.
The new device uses Samsung’s Pablo controller, which is the same one found in its portable T7 SSD. Unlike lots of other NVMe SSDs, it’s without its own DRAM cache, which can reduce performance – although the rated speeds seem to be high, so it’s worth waiting for real-world benchmarks to see how much difference this could make.
The Samsung 980 is already aggressively priced at a lower MSRP than the 970 Evo, but its sibling is so frequently discounted that retail pricing is difficult to compare. If the new 1TB model sees the same kinds of reductions to its €149 ($120 without tax) price tag, however, it could potentially edge out the WD Blue SN550 to become our favourite budget NVMe SSD.