Samsung's booth at CES 2020 includes our first look at their next flagship consumer SSD, the 980 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD. This would appear to be Samsung's first client/consumer SSD to support PCIe 4.0, which has until now only been rolled out to their high-end enterprise drives.

Since this just a low-key preview instead of a formal announcement with a press release, information is limited. The exhibit shows only sequential performance numbers: 6500 MB/s reads, 5000 MB/s writes. That's a bit better than what we currently see with PCIe 4.0 drives using the Phison E16 controller, but by the end of this year we should start seeing the Phison E18 and other controllers offering sequential speeds around 7GB/s, so the 980 PRO may have little or no time to set throughput records for the consumer SSD market.

The available capacities will range from 250GB to 1TB, which strongly indicates that Samsung us still using 2-bit MLC for the PRO line rather than switching to 3-bit TLC NAND flash as the rest of the industry has done for their flagships. The fate of Samsung's flagship SSD product line was a bit unclear when Samsung updated the 970 EVO with new NAND as the 970 EVO Plus but did not introduce an accompanying 970 PRO Plus.

Samsung was unable to locate any employees at their sprawling "booth" who could answer our technical questions, so we don't have confirmation of which generation of V-NAND this uses (probably the 5th gen. 92L), nor do we have any details on the controller. We also don't have a timeline for retail availability. UPDATE: Samsung says to expect more information in Q2 of this year.

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  • boeush - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    "... by the end of this year we should start seeing the Phison E18 and other controllers offering sequential speeds around 7GB/s, so the 980 PRO may have little or no time to set throughput records for the consumer*** SSD market."

    *** "consumer" :: artificial benchmark that runs I/O at QD 128, I presume? I mean, we aren't *seriously* talking about QD1 numbers here, are we? In which case, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE TALKING ABOUT - AND WHY!?!?
    Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    The Samsung PRO line has hardly ever been something for people who care about real-world performance or who have a realistic idea about their endurance requirements. These drives are largely for consumers who want bragging rights, plus a handful of niche use cases that really aren't common enough to sustain this product line without the more-money-than-sense crowd. Reply
  • boeush - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    But that's basically my point: why are we putting up with this borderline false advertising, and why are we so happily complicit in helping those bozos inflict this BS upon naive consumers?

    These sorts of utterly unrealistic, in-practice-meaningless, deliberately deceptive and borderline fraudulent numbers should be called out, harshly and mercilessly, systematically and tirelessly, for brutal scorn and ridicule by professional reviewers. It is appalling that you guys just stand by and glad-hand this kind of manipulative nonsense!
    Reply
  • Chaser - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Nothing still touches my INTEL 900P. Reply
  • Foeketijn - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Power efficiency? Performance per Dollar? Even in completely unrealistic scenarios like 15k mysql requests a 960pro or 970pro are just measurably faster. Cool device though. Reply
  • Foeketijn - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Slower ofcourse Reply
  • minde - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    need now mobile cpu with pcie 4. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    This is nice but given flash storage cannot sustain more than 2.5-3Gbps steadily throughout the entire length of the drive, this increase in interface speed is good just for bursts which will see minor improvements or for real case scenarios where you have multiple drives in parallel. Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Sustained writes are about 90% of the reason for buying the 970 Pro vs the cheaper, "faster" 970 EVO (and many other "cheaper, faster" NVMe drives). Short of a massive about face in strategy - and nothing has indicated as such, so far - this seems likely to be the same for the 980 Pro. Reply
  • Alistair - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    I'm waiting for a drive that can do 4k read at 90 MB/s before I upgrade. So far every PCIe drive is the same old 60 MB/s. Reply

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