From www.xda-developers.com

A DRAM-less drive or Samsung’s first consumer PCIe SSD? Find out which of these drives is the right one for you

  • Samsung 990 Evo SSD on a transparent background
    Samsung 990 Evo

    $100 $125 Save $25

    Samsung’s 990 Evo SSD is the company’s very first consumer PCIe 5.0 drive. It features support for both PCIe 4.0 x4 and 5.0 x2 and promises read speeds up to 5,000MB/s and write seeps up to 4,200MB/s on top of being more power efficient than the 990 Pro.

    Pros

    • Blazing fast
    • PCIe 5.0
    • Goes up to 2TB

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • Slower than other PCIe 5.0 drives
  • Samsung 980
    Samsung 980

    $95 $115 Save $20

    This DRAM-less NVMe SSD from Samsung features a Host Memory Buffer in its place, allowing prices to be kept down to a manageable level. The company promises read speeds up to 3,500MB/s and write speeds up to 3,000MB/s. Most importantly, you can get a 250GB drive for just $50 or less.

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Clever DRAM-less design
    • Solid speeds

    Cons

    • Not as fast as the 990 Evo

When building a PC, thinking about finding the right CPU, the best GPU, or the best choice of motherboard are all important considerations. However, you’ll also need storage, and picking a good drive that’s fast enough but also sits nicely within your budget can be confusing. Luckily, both Samsung’s 990 Evo and 980 SSDs are excellent choices. But should you go with the company’s first consumer PCIe 5.0 SSD, the 990 Evo, or stick with the cheaper DRAM-less 980?

Below, you’ll find the ultimate comparison between the two.

Samsung 990 Evo vs 980: Pricing, availability, specs

Similar prices, different specs

The 980 comes in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB sizes, while the 990 Evo comes in 1TB and 2TB sizes. Retail prices are similar on the 1TB model for both. The 980 1TB model will run for $115, and the 990 Evo 1TB model goes for $125. Although, you can pretty routinely find both of these drives on sale for less than their retail prices, so it’s not hard to save a few bucks if interested. Naturally, if you’re looking to save more money, you can opt for a smaller-capacity 980, while if you’ve got the budget, you can go for a larger-capacity 990 Evo.

  • Samsung 990 Evo

    Storage capacity
    1TB, 2TB

    Hardware Interface
    PCIe 4.0 (x4), PCIe 5.0 (x2), NVMe 2.0

    Transfer rate
    Up to 5,000MB/s (read), 4,200MB/s (write)

    TBW
    600 (1TB), 1200 (2TB)

    DRAM
    None

    Warranty
    Five years
  • Samsung 980

    Storage capacity
    250GB, 500GB, 1TB

    Hardware Interface
    PCIe Gen.3.0 x4, NVMe 1.4

    Transfer rate
    Up to 3,500MB/s read and up to 3,000 MB/s write

    TBW
    150 (250GB), 300 (500GB), 600 (1TB)

    DRAM
    None

    Warranty
    Five years

Hardware and performance

Faster and newer vs. older and slower

SAMSUNG 990 EVO SSD glowing on a motherboard

Despite the 990 Evo being a mid-range drive compared to Samsung’s top-tier 990 Pro, the 990 Evo is Samsung’s first consumer SSD to officially support PCIe 5.0. On the other hand, the 980 supports PCIe 3.0, so there is a pretty big difference in the specs between the two drives. It’s also worth remembering that the 980 caps out at a 1TB capacity, while the 990 Evo goes up to 2TB, so if you need a lot of storage or want PCIe 5.0, the choice is easy.

Unsurprisingly, the newer 990 Evo with the more advanced PCIe spec can hit much faster speeds than the older 980. However, both are DRAM-less drives, and both support Samsung’s Host Memory Buffer (HMB) feature to access DRAM on your system for better performance. The 990 Evo is rated for read speeds up to 5,000MB/s and write speeds up to 4,200MB/s, while the 980 is rated for read speeds up to 3,500MB/s and write speeds up to 3,000MB/s.

Make sure to keep in mind that the lower-capacity 250GB 980 will be rather significantly slower than its larger-capacity brothers. The 250GB model is rated for a read speed up to 2,900MB/s and a write speed up to 1,300MB/s, which is a meaningful difference from the other models. It’s also worth noting that while the 990 Evo supports PCIe 5.0, it also supports PCIe 4.0 x4, too, meaning you won’t need a PCIe 5.0 system to take advantage of it.

While there’s no doubt that the 990 Evo is faster than the 980, it’s still on the slower end for a PCIe 5.0 drive. This comes down to its PCIe 5.0 tech relying on just two lanes as opposed to the full four you’d normally see. If you take a look at the best PCIe 5.0 drives out there, read and write speeds can go above 10,000MB/s. So, if you’re looking for the faster drive between the two, that’s the 990 Evo, but if you want the fastest you can get, that’s neither of these.

Thermals and features

Lots of overlap with nothing major to worry about

Samsung 980 SSD installed into a slot

Source: Samsung

Both drives feature proprietary Samsung controllers and Samsung’s V-NAND memory. In terms of security, both support up to 256-bit AES encryption. You’re also getting five-year warranties on both drives. For Terabytes Written (TBW), there’s another similar story: 600TBW for the 1TB models of both SSDs. That means you’ll get to write 600TBs before your warranty limit.

When it comes to power, the 990 Evo’s 1TB model averages out at 4.9W and the 2TB at 5.5W. For the 980, the 250GB model averages 3.7W, the 500GB model averages 4.3W, and the 1TB model averages 4.6W. As you can see, wattages are similar on the 1TB models, while the larger-capacity 990 Evo sucks up a bit more power and the lower-capacity 980 models require a bit less.

Neither drive features a bundled heatsink, but in most cases, overheating likely won’t be too much of a problem with either drive. Other features include support for Samsung’s Magician software on both drives that helps you to manage your storage. In general, the thermals and features of the 990 Evo and the 980 are fairly comparable, while there are some differences when comparing different capacities, as you’d expect.

Samsung 990 Evo vs 980: Which should you buy?

Get the faster drive if you want 1TB or more

If you’ve got an older system and don’t plan on pushing crazy speeds or need a ton of storage, there’s nothing wrong with picking up a 980. However, considering the pricing on these drives is similar and that the 990 Evo is simply a faster, more modern drive, it’s the clear winner.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that even if your system doesn’t support PCIe 5.0, the 990 Evo also supports PCIe 4.0 x4, so don’t feel like you have to make use of the drive’s PCIe 5.0 support to make picking one up worthwhile. It can simply be a good drive for future proofing.

However, it’s certainly worth considering other options for drives if you’re looking for the latest and greatest PCIe 5.0 tech, or if you want more than 2TB of storage. Make sure to take a look at our guide to the best SSDs in 2024, where you’ll find all kinds of different drives.

Samsung 990 Evo SSD on a transparent background
Samsung 990 Evo

Winner

$100 $125 Save $25

Samsung 990 Evo vs 980: Which SSD is right for you?

Samsung’s 990 Evo SSD is the company’s very first consumer PCIe 5.0 drive. It features support for both PCIe 4.0 x4 and 5.0 x2 and promises read speeds up to 5,000MB/s and write seeps up to 4,200MB/s, on top of being more power efficient than the 990 Pro.

Samsung’s 990 Evo drive is a new, modern SSD that is the company’s first consumer drive to support PCIe 5.0 While it may not be the fastest PCIe 5.0 drive around, it certainly can outpace older drives, it comes in up to a 2TB capacity, and it won’t break the bank, either.

However, if you’ve got an older PC that doesn’t support the latest PCIe specs and would prefer a smaller-capacity drive, there’s nothing wrong with picking up a 980, especially if you can find one for cheaper than what you’d pay for a 990 Evo.

Samsung 980
Samsung 980

Runner-up

$95 $115 Save $20

This DRAM-less NVMe SSD from Samsung features a Host Memory Buffer in its place, allowing prices to be kept down to a manageable level. The company promises read speeds up to 3,500MB/s and write speeds up to 3,000MB/s. Most importantly, you can get a 250GB drive for just $50 or less.

[ For more curated Samsung news, check out the main news page here]

The post Samsung 990 Evo vs 980: Which SSD is right for you? first appeared on www.xda-developers.com

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