Samsung 970 EVO Plus vs 980: Which is Best?

Samsung 970 EVO Plus vs Samsung 980

If you are looking for a new SSD drive, you may wonder if the Samsung 980 or 970 EVO Plus is the right option for you. Both drives are excellent choices, but they have some key differences that you should be aware of before deciding. In this article, I will compare and contrast the two drives to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

If you are in a hurry, here is the conclusion. Considering Read/Write Speeds, Capacities, DRAM Cache availability, Random Read and write speeds, benchmarking results, and TBW levels is an absolute winning for Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon)


First of all I must tell you that both drives are amazing. I would not hesitate to recommend either of them. For a regular user , there is no clear winner here. The average person will not be able to tell the difference in performance between these two drives.

So if you bought either of these drives, just read this for your knowledge. The parameters I will share with you for the next few minutes will be useful for the advanced user who is still on the fence about which one to buy.

Manufacturer’s Specs Comparison

OK. This is why you are here. You want to know what’s different between these two drives and which one you should buy. Here are the key differences:

Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Samsung 980 NVME SSD
Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Samsung 980
Read Speed/Write Speed
2TB (3500, 3300)

1TB (3500, 3000)

500GB (3500, 3200)

250GB (3500, 2300)
1TB (3500, 3000)

500GB (3100, 2600)

250GB (2900, 1300)
Capacities2TB, 1TB, 500GB, 250GB1TB, 500GB, 250GB
InterfacePCIe Gen 3.0 x 4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.4
DRAM Cache MemoryAvailableN/A
Random Read (4KB, QD1)17K IOPS – 19K IOPS17K IOPS
Random Write (4KB, QD1)60K IOPS – 62K IOPS53K IOPS
Random Read (4KB, QD32)250K IOPS – 620K IOPS230K IOPS – 500K IOPS
Random Write (4KB, QD32)550K IOPS – 560K IOPS320K IOPS – 480K IOPS
Power Consumption (Idle)30mW45mW
Power Consumption (Active)5W – 6W3.2W – 4.6W
TBW2TB (1200 TBW),

1TB (600 TBW),

500GB (300 TBW),

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

500GB (300 TBW),

250GB (150 TBW)
EncryptionAES 256-bit EncryptionAES 256-bit Encryption
Comparison between Samsung 970 EVO PLUS and 980 NVME SSDs.

This table shows that the SAMSUNG 980 and SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus have nearly identical features. Let us now compare the real benchmark scores.

Benchmark Environment

I compared the benchmark scores of both SSDs’ 1TB models, which may differ depending on your specific variant and total system parameters. My system specifications are as follows for reference:

  • Intel Core i7 12700 processor
  • DDR5 4800MHz RAM (2x8GB)
  • The motherboard is an Asus Strix B250F.
  • Windows 11 Pro is the operating system.

Benchmark Using PCMark 10

Here are the results

According to the above analysis, Samsung 980 showed better read performance.

Benchmark Using CrystalDiskMark 8

The below image shows the Sequential Read/Write performance of both drives

The below image shows the Random 1GiB Q1T1 performance of both drives

By looking at the read/write and random speeds of both drives, as I said earlier in this investigation, you won’t see much of a difference. But looking closely, you can see that 970 pros slightly work better than 980.

So then, we will check the manufacturer’s specs regarding these drives.

1) Read Speed/Write Speed

Read Speed/Write Speed is important for an SSD because it tells you how fast information can be read from or written to the drive. This is important because it affects how quickly your computer can access data from the SSD.

Well, different capacities have different Read/Write speeds. If we take 1TB of each model, they are the same: Read 3500 MB/s and 3000MB/s. Here I again quote the performance part of both models here.

Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Samsung 980
2TB (3500 MB/s, 3300 MB/s)

1TB (3500 MB/s, 3000 MB/s)

500GB (3500 MB/s, 3200 MB/s)

250GB (3500 MB/s, 2300 MB/s)
1TB (3500 MB/s, 3000 MB/s)

500GB (3100 MB/s, 2600 MB/s)

250GB (2900 MB/s, 1300 MB/s)
Read/Write comparison between 970 Evo plus and 980 NVME

Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

2) Capacity

The capacity of an SSD drive tells you how much data it can store. The higher the capacity, the more data you can store on the drive. The Samsung 980 is available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities, while the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities.

I don’t want to explain how important it is to have high capacity. If you are a gamer, you know that games are becoming more demanding and they require more storage. So it’s important to have a high-capacity SSD drive.

Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

3) Interface

Well, here there is a plus point for Samsung 980 because it uses the latest NVME version 1.4, which was released on March 2021. 970 EVO uses NVME 1.3, which was released on April 2017.

Some of the key changes in NVMe 1.4 include:

  • The new End-to-End Data Protection command set allows the host to protect data written to an NVME device from errors that could occur at any point along the data path.
  • The Host Memory Buffer Access command set enables the host to directly access the memory buffers of an NVM device, resulting in reduced latency and CPU overhead. This efficient approach enhances performance while maintaining the original meaning.
  • A new Host Controlled Thermal Management feature gives the host more power over temperature thresholds and cooling strategies for NVMe devices and enhances Passive State Power Management overall.

Are some of them. But these changes don’t make a big difference to justify the extra money you will spend on 980. If you already have 970 EVO, there is no need to upgrade.

Winner: Samsung 980

4) DRAM Cache Memory

One key feature of NVME drives is the use of DRAM cache memory. This allows the drive to store frequently accessed data in high-speed memory, which can significantly improve performance. The size of the DRAM cache can vary depending on the SSD’s model and each SSD’s capacity. In 970 EVO, plus it comes with a DRAM. It comes as follows

SSD capacityDRAM Capacity
DRAM Capacity comes in each capacity on 970 EVO Plus NVME SSD

Unfortunately, with 980, you would not get a DRAM. Huge disadvantage. For more info refer to my article on DRAM DRAM SSD vs DRAM Less SSD – A Comprehensive Guide

Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

5) Random Read (4KB, QD1 & QD32)

Random read performance is one of the key indicators of an SSD’s speed. When evaluating an SSD, looking at its random read performance at different queue depths is important. Queue depth measures how many commands can be queued up for the drive to process at any given time.

A drive with a high queue depth can handle more commands simultaneously, resulting in better performance. The random read performance of an SSD is typically measured in IOPS ( input/output operations per second). The higher the IOPS, the better the performance.

For example, a drive with a random read performance of 4KB at a queue depth of 1 (QD1) could handle 4,000 IOPS. This number would be higher at higher queue depths. If we get back to two SSDs,

  • 970 Can reach up to 17K IOPS – 19K IOPS while 980 will lag at 17K only. (At QD1)
  • 970 Can reach up to 250K IOPS – 620K IOPS while 980 has a range of 230K IOPS – 500K IOPS (At QD32)

If you want to know more queue depth, follow this article Well this was not written by me I’ll cover this topic in a later article.

Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

6) Random Write (4KB, QD1 & QD32)

It is important to understand random write performance first to understand what random writes are. A random write is a type of file operation in which data is written to a random location on a storage device, such as an SSD.

This contrasts to a sequential write, which writes data to a sequential block on the storage device. While sequential writes are often faster and more efficient, random writes can be more challenging for a storage device to handle. As a result, the performance of an SSD during a random write operation can vary depending on the specific design of the SSD.

However, newer SSDs often feature advanced controllers and algorithms that help to improve random write performance. As a result, random write operations are typically much faster on today’s SSDs than they were in the past.

If we talk about the two SSDs again

  • 970 Can reach up to 60K IOPS – 62K IOPS, while 980 will lag at 53K IOPS only. (At QD1)
  • 970 Can reach up to 550K IOPS – 560K IOPS, while 980 has a range of 320K IOPS – 480K IOPS (At QD32)

Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

7) Power Consumption (Idle & Active)

One of the benefits of an SSD (solid state drive) is that it uses less power than a traditional HDD (hard disk drive). The reduced power consumption can result in longer laptop battery life and lower server energy costs.

There are two main types of power consumption for an SSD:

  • Idle power consumption
  • Active power consumption (Peak).

Idle power consumption is the amount of power used when the SSD is not actively reading or writing data. Active power consumption is the amount of power used when the SSD is actively reading or writing data.

The power usage of the 970 EVO Plus and 980 SSDs varies, with the latter consuming slightly less electricity. During peak usage, the 970 EVO Plus consumes up to 5W, while the 980 consumes a maximum of 4.5W. Simply 970 wins at idle power consumption, and 980 wins at active power consumption.

This difference can impact battery life, potentially giving 980 SSD laptops a longer runtime for continuous computing. However, in real-life usage scenarios, the disparity in power consumption may not be significant, especially for users who primarily rely on AC power sources. Explore the power differences between the 970 EVO Plus and 980 SSDs for an optimized computing experience. But in conclusion, don’t worry about this factor. 🙂

8) TBW (Terabytes Written)

The term TBW, or Terabytes Written, is a specification that SSD manufacturers use to rate the endurance of their drives. It measures how much data can be written to an SSD over its lifetime. The higher the TBW rating, the longer the drive will last. However, it’s important to note that TBW is a measure of endurance, not speed.

Refer to my article Why Does TBW Matter in SSDs?

When comparing the 970 EVO Plus and 980 SSDs, there is a notable difference in their endurance ratings. The 970 EVO Plus offers higher endurance compared to its counterpart.

Specifically, the 970 EVO Plus can handle up to 1,200 Terabytes Written (TBW) per 2TB model, while the 980 can handle 600 TBW per 1TB model. These endurance rating differences can impact the lifespan of the SSD, especially for users who frequently write large amounts of data.

Choosing the 970 EVO Plus may be advantageous due to its increased data writing capabilities, which can help prevent performance degradation over time. However, for users with more moderate usage scenarios, the reduced endurance rating of the 980 SSD might not pose a significant burden.

Consider these factors when selecting an SSD to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

9) Manufacturing Process

Manufacturing processes play a crucial role in the performance and efficiency of SSDs, impacting their effectiveness and value to users. One notable difference between the 970 EVO Plus and 980 SSDs is in their manufacturing processes. The 980 SSDs utilize an innovative 128-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory process, while the 970 EVO Plus SSDs feature a 92-layer design.

These manufacturing process disparities contribute to the 980 SSDs offering slightly superior performance and power efficiency compared to their counterpart, the 970 EVO Plus. However, it’s important to note that for the average user’s real-world usage scenarios, especially in moderate usage scenarios, the impact of manufacturing process variations is unlikely to be significant.

By optimizing manufacturing processes, SSD manufacturers can enhance the overall experience for users, ensuring that SSDs deliver the performance and efficiency they seek.

Samsung 980 vs 970 EVO Plus ( Similarities )

The Samsung 980 and the 970 EVO Plus are high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) with fast data transfer speeds and numerous features. Both SSDs use the latest NVMe interface and are available in various capacities.

So let’s give a try to find the similarity between these drives

  • Both of these drives use Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC as the NAND Flash Memory

The Samsung V-NAND 3bit MLC is a type of flash memory that offers high storage capacity and reliability. This technology is based on the same principle as traditional NAND flash memory, with the addition of a vertical cell structure. This vertical cell structure makes the cells stacked more dense, resulting in a higher storage capacity. In addition, using multiple layers of cells helps improve data access time and speed.

  • Both come with a max dimension of Max 80.15 x Max 22.15 x Max 2.38 (mm)

Winner ( Samsung 970 EVO Plus )


So by looking at all the factors, we both know the winner is Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon)

Samsung 970 Evo plus limited warranty
Samsung 970 Evo plus comes with 5 years warranty

But if you want to get deeper, don’t stop. Continue. Let’s get one by one and see how 970 EVO plus is better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Samsung 970 EVO Plus better than Samsung 980?

When comparing Samsung 970 EVO Plus and Samsung 980, it’s important to note that the 980 is a DRAM-Less SSD, whereas the 970 EVO Plus has its own DRAM. DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Memory, is an important component in an SSD, as it’s used for mapping the data tables and keeping a record of it. This makes the retrieval process easier and more efficient, as the data can be accessed quickly.

The Samsung 980, however, doesn’t have its own DRAM and instead uses HMB (Host Memory Buffer) for the cache. This means that it uses the system RAM in place of DRAM. While this can still provide decent performance, it’s not as efficient as having its own DRAM.

In contrast, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus’s dedicated DRAM gives it a clear advantage over the Samsung 980. Not only does it provide faster retrieval of data, but it also helps to ensure that the SSD performs at a high level consistently. While there may be other factors to consider when comparing these two models, the presence of DRAM is undoubtedly one of the most important.

Why is Samsung 980 Cheaper?

The Samsung 980 is positioned as one of the more affordable Gen 3 NVMe SSDs available in the market. This can be attributed to the fact that it was developed specifically to cater to the budget NVMe segment. Consequently, it lacks the DRAM component that is present in many higher-end SSDs. In fact, the Samsung 980 is the first NVMe SSD ever launched by Samsung without a DRAM.

The absence of DRAM in the Samsung 980 is a significant factor in its lower cost than other NVMe SSDs. DRAM can be expensive, and its absence in this SSD makes it an attractive option for those prioritising cost-effectiveness over top-tier performance. Therefore, if you’re on a budget but still want to experience the benefits of an NVMe SSD, the Samsung 980 may be a solid option to consider.

Should you buy Samsung 980?

Yes. You should. At first glance, you may question why someone would choose the Samsung 980, given that it lacks a DRAM module. However, it is important to note that this SSD is equipped with Samsung’s fast NAND Flash technology, which is a major benefit for consumers.

Even though the lack of DRAM may result in some performance limitations when working with random data, the Samsung 980 is still a competitive option in the NVMe market.

Is Samsung 980 Good for Gaming?

Of course. The Samsung 980 SSD is a great choice for gaming enthusiasts. I believe it offers top-notch performance and can easily handle the demands of running games. This is because gaming through an SSD does not require a lot of storage space. Even if you are playing the latest titles, any decent SSD is more than sufficient to run them smoothly.

Storage bottlenecking is a major concern while using high-performance gaming systems. This can occur when the storage device cannot meet the system’s demands, resulting in slower performance. However, the Samsung 980 SSD hardly exhibits any bottlenecking issues, even when paired with powerful systems.


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