September 21, 2023

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Samsung 990 Pro 4TB review

Samsung 990 Pro 4TB review

In summary

After years of maintaining a maximum capacity of 2TB for Pro series SSDs, Samsung has expanded the 990 Pro series with a 4TB model thanks to the latest generation of flash memory. The drive performs excellently and is comparable to other 990 Pro models and is a welcome addition to the current series. Given the fierce competition in the SSD market, with major rivals like WD and Seagate offering 4TB models for some time, Samsung doesn’t deserve an award, but it deserves praise. The 4TB drive isn’t cheap, but it’s not expensive either, and given its performance, it’s worth serious consideration in this segment.

It’s taken five years, but Samsung’s Pro series of SSDs finally has a 4TB variant, with the 990 Pro 4TB. Five years ago, Samsung introduced the 860 Pro in capacities ranging from 256GB to 4TB. However, the 860 Pros were SATA drives, which freed up a lot of chip space thanks to the massive PCBs. Given the limited space on 2280 form factor NVMe drives, this is Samsung’s first Pro drive with 4TB of storage. Previous generations stopped at 2TB, and non-professional NVMe drives have always been stuck with the 2TB cap.

Samsung uses 8th generation V-nand for this high capacity, while the 1TB and 2TB drives are equipped with 7th generation V-nand. The eighth generation TLC NAND consists of 236 layers of flash cells, while the seventh generation contains 176 layers. This makes a capacity of 1 TB each Which Possible, which in turn ensures that Samsung can still keep the 4TB drive on one side. This makes the SSD thinner than double-sided drives, where the chips are located at the top and bottom of the PCB. This would help with cooling and increase installation compatibility, especially for laptops.

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The 990 Pro’s onboard controller is still the Pascal controller which is also used in the 1TB and 2TB variants. So the theoretical speeds of the 4TB drive are not significantly different from those of the smaller variants, despite the newer generation of NAND. Only high iops performance Queue depths It will be a little higher when reading.

In addition to the higher capacity and associated larger 4GB DRAM chip, the SLC cache, or as Samsung calls it: TurboWrite cache, is of course larger as well. That’s a total of 442GB for the 4TB drive, of which 432GB is “intelligently” allocated based on free space and necessity. However, the SLC cache is quite large at 10GB as is the 2TB drive.

On the next page we compare all of the drive’s test results with smaller versions of the 990 Pro and with 4TB drives from other manufacturers we’ve tested. At the time of writing, there is only one known price for the 4TB drive with a heatsink. The cost of this version is approximately 345 euros. Just under twice the price of the 2TB 990 Pro.