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Samsung 980 vs 980 Pro: Busting the Myths!

Are you confused between Samsung 980 and Samsung 980 Pro SSDs. Interestingly, there is nothing much to be confused about. Their names might look same where you may think that 980 Pro is a little bit upgrade version of the 980. But, if we look at the differences, they are just massive. In this article, I am going to give my brief insights on two of the most popular SSDs offered by Samsung.

To start, I would like to highlight here that the Samsung 980 Pro is Prosumer (Professional Consumer) NVMe SSD. This SSD is used by hardcore gamers, crypto miners, overclockers, and anyone who needs huge data read/write speed i.e. up to 7 GB/s and 5 GB/s.

Whereas, the Samsung 980 is falls in the budget NVMe category. It is a DRAM-Less SSD. However, it has a lot of applications for non-professional gamers, office workers, programmers, and other normal computer users. It can offer you a read/speed up to 3500 MB/s and 3000 MB/s

With that said, let’s start this article and know which one should you choose in what case. The differences can be huge in terms of speed, benchmark, and endurance. So, the competition is going to be a little bit loose and mostly leaning towards the 980 Pro.

Now, without any further discussions, let’s get started.

Detailed Comparison of Samsung 980 and Samsung 980 Pro

Samsung is always known for its transparency when it comes to showing its SSD’s all specs. Most of other brands might hide some things like DRAM and NAND configurations from you on their official websites. But, getting to know about your Samsung SSDs is always very easy. So, I have used the opportunity and tried to compare all the features and specifications of these SSDs. This comparison will surely help you get a brief idea of how these SSDs can serve you in the future.

SpecificationsSamsung 980Samsung 980 Pro
Capacity250GB – 1TB250GB – 2TB
Interface/Form Factorx4 PCIe 3.0/NVMe/M.2 2280x4 PCIe 4.0/NVMe/M.2 2280
Seq. Read SpeedUp to 3500 MB/sUp to 7000 MB/s
Seq. Write Speed Up to 3000 MB/sUp to 5000 MB/s
Random Read 4K,QD32 (IOPS)
250GB: Up to 230K
500GB:
Up to 400K
1TB:
Up to 500K

250GB: Up to 500K
500GB:
Up to 800K
1TB:
Up to 1000K
2TB:
Up to 1000K
Random Write 4K,QD32 (IOPS)
250GB: Up to 320K
500GB: Up to 470K
1TB: Up to 480K

250GB: Up to 600K
500GB:
Up to 1,000K
1TB:
Up to 1,000K
2TB:
Up to 1,000K
Power Consumption5.3 W Max7.2 W Maximum
Warranty Period5 Years 5 Years
Image
Official WebsiteSamsung 980Samsung 980 Pro

With this comparison table, you can see that the Samsung 980 Pro is way faster than the 980. This is happening because the interface. The Samsung 980 Pro is making the best use of its 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0. So, when you use this SSD on a PCIe 4.0 motherboard, it is going to give you up to 7 GB/s data read speed. Whereas, the Samsung 980 is using 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 which results in a lesser bandwidth.

Note: The maximum speed of 980 Pro will be available only in a PCIe 4.0 motherboard. It will work with the PCIe 3.0 motherboards as well but the speed will be bottlenecked as per the PCIe 3.0 interface specifications.

This test was done using the CrystalDiskMark software on an Intel i5 8th gen PC along with a 3200 Mhz 8GB RAM. The SSDs were 100% empty when the tests were performed. The real time results may vary depending on your system configurations and the total space filled.

Parameter (Avg.)Samsung 980 1TBSamsung 980 Pro 1TB
Sequential Read1,632 MB/s5,763 MB/s
Sequential Write1,869 MB/s5,236 MB.s
Random 4KB Read58.4 MB/s76.3 MB/s
Random 4KB Write143.4 MB/s187.2 MB/s
Deep Queue 4K Read1206.2 MB/s1,863.1 MB/s
Deep Queue 4K Write958.7 MB/s1,354.6 MB/s

It was expected that the 980 Pro is going to win the synthetic benchmark tests because it has better capabilities in all terms. You can see that it is winning in both sequential and random data read/write tests.

Now, it is the time to check how fast these SSDs can boot up software, games, and the Windows OS. The software loading time will vary depending on the time your SSDs takes to process certain amount of Random data. As we say, the 980 Pro is winning the random data transfer battle, we can see similar results here as well.

OS/SoftwareSamsung 980Samsung 980 Pro
Windows 10 (Intel i5 8th Gen)Ready to use in 27 SecondsReady to use in 19 Seconds
Google ChromeWithin 4 SecondsWithin 3 Seconds
Adobe Photoshop~19 Seconds~15 Seconds
Fortnite~45 Seconds~29 Seconds
Tomb Raider~21 Seconds~19 Seconds

Here again, the 980 Pro is beating the 980 in most of the terms. Whether it is OS loading or software opening, the 980 Pro is surely a winner

Note: These tests were done by using both the SSDs on a PCIe 3.0 NVMe port. We make use of 980 Pro’s reverse compatibility with PCIe 3.0. But, when you use it on a PCIe 3.0 NVMe port, you may see way better results as compared to these.

Endurance is another very big deciding factor when it comes to buying a storage or any electronic device in general. But, in case of SSDs, we have written details of how long an SSD can survive. We have TBW limits of both 980 and 980 Pro which we are going to compare here. Let’s get started.

Version (Capacity)Samsung 980 (TBW)Samsung 980 Pro (TBW)
250GB150 150
500GB300300
1TB600600
2TBVersion not available1200

There is no difference between the TBW in both the products. However, the 980 Pro’s 2TB version has a massive TBW limit of 1200TB. But, the 980 doesn’t have any storage variant higher than 1TB.

Let’s talk about the NAND first of all. Interestingly, both 980 and 980 Pro are using the same Samsung’s TLC 3D NAND. 980 has 128 NAND layers in all its variants. Whereas, the 980 Pro has 136 layers in some variants.

As you all know Samsung 980 doesn’t have a dedicated DRAM cache. So, it uses the HMB (Host Memory Buffer) for caching purpose. It isn’t as fast as a DRAM but enough to do most of your tasks. However, the problems with wear leveling can occur when an SSD uses the HMB.

The Samsung 980 Pro is using Low power DDR4 SDRAM as its cache memory. This is the reason why it is capable of offering impressive sequential and random data/read write speeds.

Now, if we talk about the controller, the Samsung 980 has Samsung’s own Pablo controller.

But, 980 Pro has much faster Samsung Elpis controller. Unfortunately, the configurations of both the controllers are not available at this time.

Price is surely another major factor affecting your purchase. Not for everyone, but for most of us, price is a major deciding factor. So, here it can convert your decision if you have limited budgets. The price difference between the both can be huge.

By the time I am reading this article, the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB is available for 182 USD but the Samsung 980 1TB is available just for 129 USD. Difference is there in all other variants as well. But, I would suggest you checking the live prices because they keep changing frequently.

You can check Samsung 980’s price here and 980’s price can be found here.

Look, if you are someone who is looking for a very fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, the Samsung 980 Pro is surely a good option. Not only Samsung 980, it beats most other faster PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs out there from popular brands. Make sure you have a PCIe 4. motherboard with an available PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot for your 980 Pro.

However, if you are normal user who don’t want those 5, 6, and 7 GB/s data transfer rates, you are fine to go with the Samsung 980. However, it’s HMB cache method might result in issues while doing huge random data reading/writing. But, overall, it is a good SSD.

So, it is not easy to point out the perfect one from both because the differences are huge. One comes in the budget NVMe category and second one is a professional product. So, just look at your needs and budget as well whether you want that high data read/write speeds from the 980 Pro. However, if you have enough budget to spend, just go for 980 Pro. You will never regret your decision.

Still, I would insist you reading these comparisons and widen your knowledge about other competitors of the both.

Samsung 980 Pro vs Gigabyte Gen4

Samsung 980 Pro vs 970 Pro

Samsung 980 vs 970 Evo Plus

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Samsung 980 Pro beats 980 in speed?

This happens because the the Samsung 980 Pro is using a better NAND and controller. The interface used by 980 Pro is PCIe 4.0 whereas the 980 has PCIe 3.0 and this makes a big differences. Another major thing is the DRAM. 980 is a DRAM-less SSD.

Who should choose Samsung 980?

Anyone with no hardcore data read/write requirements can go for Samsung 980 SSD. In fact, it can boot any Windows OS within 30 seconds and that’s enough for most of us.

Who should choose Samsung 980 Pro?

Anybody with a M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe port on their motherboard can go for the Samsung 980 Pro. Also, you should have a decent budget to spend on this product

Whose controller is better? Samsung 980 or 980 Pro?

Surely, Samsung 980 Pro’s Elpis controller is way better than 980’s Pablo. However, the configurations of both are not confirmed.

How does Samsung 980 stores cache?

It uses HMB (Host Memory Buffer). It is basically a small memory portion of your main system’s RAM.

What are some good alternatives to Samsung 980 Pro SSD?

Seagate Firecude 530, WDSN8500, Corsair Force MP600, and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus are some of the best alternatives to Samsung 980 Pro.