REVIEW | Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 SSD

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the massive benefits solid state drives (SSDs) bring to modern-day computing, versus their much slower clunky mechanical hard-drive counterparts. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the uber-fast Samsung 970 EVO SSD, which conforms to the M.2 standard. 

Design and Package

While initially SSDs were limited to the 2.5-inch form factor and connected to the SATA bus, the more recent M.2 standard allows for connecting to the PCI Express bus, thus no longer limiting it to SATA data throughput limits.  You will need an M.2 socket on your motherboard though.

The unit being tested has a capacity of 500GB. The PCB is black in color, with the MLC NAND flash memory soldered onto it. It measures a minuscule 80.15 x 22.15 mm, at a negligible thickness of 2.38 mm.

One end connects to the M.2 slot on the motherboard while the other has provision for the locking screw. Being as tiny and weighing a mere 8 grams, it comes packaged in a minimalist tray, inside a box.

Specs and Performance

Samsung SSDs are known for their industry-leading performance, and the 970 EVO lives up to that expectation.

Spec Sheet:

  • Interface: PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
  • Cache: 512 MB DDR4
  • Form Factor: M.2 (2280)
  • Controller: Samsung Phoenix
  • Storage Memory: Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC

In terms of real-world performance, using an SSD as a boot drive versus a traditional mechanical hard drive is night and day. Boot speed, app loading, game launches, program installation, and Windows updates are several times faster on SSDs. But going from a slower SSD to a faster SSD is not as noticeable.

Looking at the numbers from CrystalDiskMark, the Samsung EVO 970 managed Read speeds of around 3500 MB/s and Write speeds of around 2500 MB/s. To put in context, other lower performance SSDs clocked in at half that, while a mechanical hard drive scored just 180 MB/s and 130 MB/s respectively.  

Software

The drive is plug-n-play, hook it up, and when you boot into Windows you’ll be able to find it in Disk Management. From there you can partition, format, and mount the drive. 

If you plan to boot from the drive, while installing Windows you can select the SSD from the drive options during installation. I did this while installing Windows 10 x64 Professional Edition.

Value

The Samsung 970 EVO 500GB retails for P6,950 at Dynaquest, and clearly sells at a premium over other M.2 SSDs of the same capacity. This is likely owing to the Samsung brand name and its market-leading performance credentials. 

Given the marginal difference in real-world performance compared to slightly lower performance SSDs, it’s hard to justify the additional cost. For example, the Adata XPG SX6000 Pro 512GB costs only P3,950 which is a great value; in fact, the 1TB variant of the Adata drive retails for the same price as the Samsung 970 EVO 500GB!

A 500GB mechanical hard drive can be had for just under P2,000, but given the massive performance difference, I’d strongly recommend paying the extra for an SSD.

Conclusion

The 970 EVO from Samsung is a regular speedy Gonzales, offering top performance within the M.2 NVMe SSD space; no doubt about it. But given its premium price, it’s hard to recommend it over other competent M.2 NVMe SSDs. On the other hand, if budget is no concern, and you’re shooting for a top performance build, the 970 EVO will serve you very well.

  • Model: MZ-V7E500
  • Price: P6,950
  • Verdict: Great performance in the M.2 NVMe SSD space at a premium price
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