Samsung Unveils The 990 Pro – Super Fast Gen 4 SSD
Brandon Dodman / 7 months ago
On day one of Gamescom we were invited to a special event by Samsung to have a look at some new products and some not so new products, including many of Samsung’s gaming monitors and quite a few mobile devices. But the emphasis wasn’t on these things for most of the people attending this event; most of the people there were only interested in one thing, the newest SSD from Samsung.
Before the presentation started, there was a lot of speculation going on. Was this going to be the first PCIe Gen 5 drive onto the market? Or was it going to be something entirely new and unexpected? What many of us had thought would happen, however, did end up being what we saw. The brand new Samsung 990 Pro.
Samsung 990 Pro
The 990 Pro made an interesting debut. What many of us were hoping to see was the first PCIe Gen 5 drive, but instead we saw a drive that still uses PCIe Gen 4 technology. Whilst this wasn’t what we were hoping for, we still did see quite the spec sheet.
The drive features a PCIe Gen 4.0 x4 interface and comes in a typical M.2 (2280) form factor using a brand-new controller developed in house by Samsung themselves as well as Samsung’s very own, in-house V-NAND 3-bit TLC memory.
The drive will come in three different capacity options, 1TB 2TB and 4TB, which come with 1GB, 2GB and 4GB of LPDDR4 DRAM respectively. According to Samsung, the sequential reads can go up to 7,450 MB/s whilst the writes can get up to 6,900 MB/s and in terms of random reads and writes, we are told that the drive can reach up to 1400K IOPS in reads and up to 1550K IOPS in writes. Finally, the drive features AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0 and IEEE 1667 drive encryption.
The drive uses a brand-new controller from Samsung themselves that is meant to directly compete with the Phison E18 Controller used on so many other drives, and with this new controller on the drive, Samsung reports efficiency improvements of up to 50% higher than the 980 Pro. Whether this makes a noticeable difference in games is yet to be seen, but in certain types of work this could be a great help to productivity.
The introduction of this drive does admittedly feel a little late to the party, with PCIe Gen 5 drives on the horizon, but when we consider how much those new drives will end up costing, this may actually be a good middle ground choice for someone trying to build a very high spec PC without breaking the bank.
Would I have liked to see a Gen 5 drive instead? Of course, who wouldn’t have? Except maybe my Dad, I don’t think he would care either way, but to those of us that do care, I have to wonder if this drive will really be the first choice for most people. If you’re after a PCIe Gen 4 drive then Samsung themselves already have some that are considered some of the best on the market, and you don’t need to wait months for those to be released.
Speaking of releasing, the only date we’ve been given is October 2022 for when we can expect to see pre-sales start. With the release date being quite far in the future, we may end up seeing some Gen 5 drives start to pop up by then, it really is a matter of time.
The real hope for this drive is that this new controller can keep its price to performance low enough that it’s still a viable option even when we see Gen 5 drives on the market because we know gen 5 drives are going to be stupidly pricy when they do hit, so maybe that was the plan that Samsung had along. If it was, then kudos to them, because it will likely pay off, especially as I mentioned, that gamers don’t need the speeds of gen 5 drives, so if the price is right, because looking at what we saw, the performance is. I think Samsung is onto a winner for PC gamers.
I do have one certain situation in mind that could be huge for the drive and that is the PlayStation 5. Now hear me out. If this drive is compatible with the PS5 then this may be one of the best options available for the console. High capacity and high speeds are what you want for a storage device. That goes without saying, but if the extra speed that the new controller brings can be taken advantage of by the console then this may be a fantastic option for PS5 gamers.
An extra possible benefit is the heatsink, and this is all speculation, but if it fits in the SSD slot of the PS5 then it could be a great out of the box storage option for people looking to upgrade the storage of their console.
The event didn’t give us a lot of information to work with, so if you want to see a review on this drive when it is released, keep an eye on this very website around the release date of the 990 Pro to see a review on the drive once it’s available. If you’ve already made your mind up, however, pre-sale for the 1TB and 2TB drives start in October.