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Samsung 980 vs 970 Evo Plus: Which one to buy?

Both Samsung 980 and 970 Evo Plus are very popular SSDs offered by Samsung. The Samsung 980 comes in M.2 Form Factor and PCIe® Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe™ 1.4 interface. Whereas the 970 Evo Plus has PCIe® Gen 3.0 x 4, NVMe™ 1.3 interface, and M.2 Form Factor.

The 980 comes in the Budget NVMe category and the 970 Evo Plus in the Consumer NVMe category.

Samsung 980 is available in 250GB-1TB variants and the 970 Evo Plus in 250GB-2TB. The read/write speed is also somewhat similar in both.

The 970 Evo Plus promises a sequential read speed up to 3500/3000 MB/s and the 980 can reach up to 3500/3000 MB/s.

Even after having a lot of similarities, there are still numerous things to consider before you make your decision. One of them is that 980 doesn’t have a DRAM. With that said, let’s dive into the actual comparison and see which one should you go with.

Related Comparison: Samsung 980 Pro vs Samsung 970 EVO Plus (1TB)

First of all, let’s compare the basic specifications disclosed by the company regarding its products.

SpecificationSAMSUNG 980SAMSUNG 970 Evo Plus
Theoretical Read Speed (Max.)3,500 MB/s3,500 MB/s
Theoretical Write Speed (Max.)3,000 MB/s3,300 MB/s
Random Read (4K, QD32) (Max.)500,000 IOPS600,000 IOPS
Random Write (4K, QD32) (Max.)480,000 IOPS550,000 IOPS
Form Factor/InterfaceM.2 (2280)/PCIe® Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe™ 1.4M.2 (2280)/PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4, NVMe 1.3
MTBF (Reliability)1.5 Million Hours1.5 Million Hours
Warranty5 Years5 Years
EncryptionAES 256-bit EncryptionAES 256-bit Encryption
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck Price

With this table, you can see that both SAMSUNG 980 and SAMSUNG 970 Evo Plus have almost similar features. Now, let’s compare the actual benchmark scores.

The benchmarks were done under a specific environment on only 1TB variants of both the products. I have used a laptop with an i5 11th Gen processor and 8GB RAM. The results may vary depending on the specs of your system and the total SSD storage space filled.

ParameterSAMSUNG 980
(1TB)(100% Empty)
SAMSUNG 970 Evo Plus (1TB)(100% Empty)
Sequential Read Speed (Avg.) 1,798 MB/s2,254 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed (Avg.)1,978 MB/s2,039 MB/s
Random 4K Read (Avg.)78.3 MB/s87.2 MB/s
Random 4K Write (Avg.)167.7 MB/s189.7 MB/s

You can clearly see that the 970 Evo Plus is a winner if we talk about the practical applications under any circumstance. The 970 Evo Plus has a higher sequential read as well as write speed along with the random speeds. This might be happening because of 970’s faster DRAM buffer.

Both of these SSDs are highly recognized in the computer storage market. But, if we compare, the 970 Evo Plus has a better reputation because of its faster speed and great durability. Whether you check anywhere, you will find that the 970 Evo Plus has a huge fanbase. With this, you can say that the 970 Evo Plus is a better companion.

Another thing that contributes to the 970 Evo Plus’s huge recognition is the Phoenix controller. However, the 980 also has a perfectly configured Samsung Pablo controller.

Let’s see how well these SSDs do when it comes to opening Windows OS and some other games as well as software. Again, we are using the same PC configurations that were used in the synthetic benchmark tests.

OS/SoftwareSamsung 980Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Windows 10 (Intel i5 8th Gen)Ready to use in 18 SecondsReady to use in 14 Seconds
Google ChromeWithin 4 SecondsWithin 3 Seconds
Adobe Photoshop~21 Seconds~15 Seconds
Fortnite~42 Seconds~29 Seconds
Tomb Raider~25 Seconds~19 Seconds

Again, there is not a very huge performance difference when we look at their practical performance. Both are great in terms of random data processing. Hence, they can contribute to a huge reduction in the software and OS loading times.

Note: The game loading time is actually the time taken by these SSDs to come up with the first screen after loading.

Terabyte written is a great parameter to see how long your SSD will last under any circumstances. Let’s compare both of them below.

Samsung 980TBWSamsung 970 Evo PlusTBW
250 GB150250 GB150
500 GB300500 GB300
1 TB6001 TB600
2 TB1,200

There is no difference between the TBW limits of both the SSDs. The 970 Evo Plus has a 2TB variant and that’s why it has given more TBW limit.

Both the SSDs are using the same Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC. But, the 970 Evo Plus has 96(92) layers of NAND whereas the 980 has 128 layers.

Again, the Samsung 980 is a DRAM-Less SSD but it uses the HMB (Host Memory Buffer) and SLC for caching purposes. But, the 970 Evo Plus has its own low-power DDR4 SDRAM for caching.

The configurations of 970 Evo Plus’s Phoenix controller are Penta-core, 8-ch, 8-CE/ch. Whereas, the 980 has the Pablo controller with four channels.

Let’s see how much difference is there between the both when we compare the prices. I am going to pick the prices from the official sources. However, the prices may vary at any time. I would suggest you check live prices before making the decision.

Samsung 980 is surely an affordable option to choose between these both. So, if the price is your only consideration, you can simply go for the 980. Otherwise, read my honest opinion about this comparison.

If you are looking for a better speed under heavy loads, I would suggest buying the 970 Evo Plus for sure. However, the TBW, Warranty Period, NAND, and various other things are similar in both. So, going for the 980 would also not go into vain. But, it is assured you will see a big difference in the actual speed limits of both these products.

The 980 has a better and bigger SLC cache but the 970 EVO Plus is much more refined at the same time. So, if you ask me to choose between these both, I would surely go for the 970 Evo Plus because it has a better reputation and its own DRAM as well.

Thanks for reading!

Also Read: List of Best SSDs to upgrade your laptop (NVMe/SATA)

ImageModelFeatures and SpecsPrice
Crucial P5Capacity: 250GB – 2TB
Interface: PCIe 3.0
Speed: 3400/3000 MB/s
Endurance: 1200 TBW
Check Price!
Kingston A2000Capacity: 250GB – 1TB
Interface: PCIe 3.0
Speed: 2200/2000 MB/s
Endurance: 600 TBW
Check Price!

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1 month ago

Are you sure the information here is correct and updated?
take a look…

27 days ago

I am confused by the picture of 2 different drives, the 980 and the 980 pro. Which are you comparing in your tests? Thanks

7 days ago

Can you explain how the windows ready to use time for the 970 Evo Plus is 14 seconds on this comparison but when comparing the same drive against the 980 Pro on the following page, the windows ready to use time for the 970 Evo Plus is 31 seconds? Other tests are also off but not as much as windows ready to use. What am I missing? Both show as tested with 1TB 970 Evo Plus using identical specs.


I was also wondering how you tested the pcie 4.0 drive to it’s full potential with a 8th gen Intel processor on the link above? I wasn’t aware that 8th gen intel processors supported pcie 4.0. I know it is backwards compatible with 3.0 but you loose the speed. I may be wrong. Comment are not enabled on that page or I would ask there.