Samsung 990 Evo has both PCIe 4 and 5 interfaces, for some reason

But why?

Samsung 990 Evo M.2 SSD.

Samsung has accidentally released the product page of its 990 Evo M.2 SSD, including pictures and hardware specifications. Of course, the brand took the page down quickly, but not before the internet noticed.

The 990 Evo is seemingly Samsung’s next mid-range offering with good, but not exceptional, performance. This new SSD features a unique configuration allowing it to connect both via PCIe Gen 4 or Gen 5. The catch is, the faster Gen 5 PCIe connection is limited to two lanes. In other words, it is equivalent to the four lanes available through the Gen 4 connection. So, what is the point of such a contraption you may ask? Our guess is as good as yours.

If the aim is to support products that only offer PCIe Gen 5 links, then the usual Gen 4 SSD connection should still work fine since it can scale down automatically. Plus, many motherboards and laptops offer at least one Gen 4 x4 M.2 port.

I can’t stop scratching my head searching for the reason Samsung would allocate R&D for this. The only thing that comes to mind, is very specific scenarios where the CPU has like 18 Gen 5 lanes available, of which 16 are used by the GPU, thus leaving two for M.2 storage.

Add to the above that this is a mid-range model only delivering 5,000MB/s sequential read and 4,200MB/s sequential write performance. Same goes for the random IOPS which sits at 680K in read and 800K in write, far from the top dog 990 Pro. Not to mention, these specs are far from maxing out the Gen 4 connection. It’s a very unique solution for a product that can work fine with one interface type.

Samsung 990 Evo 2TB SSD.

If I had to guess, this feels more like an OEM-dedicated product. The latter tries to save every cent possible, from using basic coolers to offering fewer USB ports. A two-line SSD could save a bit on the motherboard side as it would need fewer traces. When you build thousands if not millions of units, the savings rack up quickly.

Regarding pricing, WinFuture spotted a listing on Amazon Germany before it was removed, putting the 990 Evo higher than the 990 Pro. Interesting since the 990 Pro is much faster as we mentioned before. In any case, if priced correctly, this is still a fast SSD that should serve you well, and the fact that it has two different interfaces doesn’t change much.