Samsung unveils high-performance 990 Pro SSD for gaming and creative applications

Pushing PCIe Gen 4 x4 to its limits.

Samsung 990 Pro

Samsung has revealed the high-performance 990 Pro SSD for gaming and creative applications at Gamescom 2022, featuring its latest NAND and controller alongside high durability.

Available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, the 990 Pro SSD should be a worthy successor to its older brother, the 980 Pro, which we reviewed positively, thanks to its good value and consistent performance.

It will be available with or without a heatsink, giving you a choice depending on your machine. For example, if you plan to install it on a motherboard that has a built-in heatsink or inside a PlayStation 5, then the cooler isn’t needed, saving some bucks.

Samsung 990 Pro - Speed

Samsung’s latest TLC V-NAND coupled with a new proprietary controller and LPDDR4 cache allows the 990 Pro series to offer up to 7,450MB/s and 6,900MB/s in sequential read and write, respectively, alongside up to 1,400K IOPS and 1,550K IOPS in random read and write at QD32. Tests were conducted using Iometer v1.1.0. For reference, the largest available 980 Pro (2TB) is rated for 7,250MB/s and 5,100MB/s in sequential read and write, with 1,000K IOPS in both.

While 2.7 per cent uplift in read speeds may not be considered worth an upgrade from a 980 Pro, 35 per cent write and 40 per cent random read IOPS improvements are. Moreover, note that PCIe 4.0 x4 theoretical bandwidth tops at 8,000MB/s before even considering any overheads. In other words, the SSD is near the limits of what is possible using this interface – for faster speeds we need to move over to PCIe 5.0.

NVMe 2.0 support brings Zoned Namespaces (ZNS), Key Value, and Endurance Group Management lowering overhead and improving performance. All of this makes this SSD a nice addition to any build new or old. Samsung says that in Forspoken, map loading time was about one second, compared to four seconds on a SATA SSD and 28 seconds on an HDD.

Samsung 990 Pro - Pre-Sale

The 990 Pro boasts a massive 2,400TBW durability with its largest model, while delivering high performance and power efficiency. According to Samsung, the 980 Pro offered 1,129MB- and 877MB-per-watt power efficiency for sequential read and write, respectively, whereas the 990 Pro provides 1,380MB- and 1,319MB-per-watt for sequential read and write.

“The 990 PRO provides an optimal balance of speed, power efficiency and reliability, making it an ideal choice for avid gamers and creative professionals seeking uninterrupted work and play,” said KyuYoung Lee, Vice President of the Memory Brand Product Biz Team at Samsung Electronics.

Samsung 990 Pro - Front

For more details about each model’s characteristics, look at the table below:

InterfacePCIe Gen 4.0 x4PCIe Gen 4.0 x4PCIe Gen 4.0 x4
Storage MemorySamsung V-NAND TLCSamsung V-NAND TLCSamsung V-NAND TLC
ControllerSamsung in-houseSamsung in-houseSamsung in-house
Sequential ReadUp to 7,450 MB/sUp to 7,450 MB/sUp to 7,450 MB/s
Sequential WriteUp to 6,900 MB/sUp to 6,900 MB/sUp to 6,900 MB/s
Random Read (QD32)Up to 1,400K IOPSUp to 1,400K IOPSUp to 1,400K IOPS
Random Write (QD32)Up to 1,550K IOPSUp to 1,550K IOPSUp to 1,550K IOPS
Total Bytes Written6001,2002,400
Form FactorM.2 (2280)M.2 (2280)M.2 (2280)

As usual, the SSD also supports AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, TCG/Opal V2.0, and Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667) data encryption standards.

The 990 Pro will be available worldwide starting October 2022 at £154.99 MSRP for the 1TB model and £283.99 MSRP for the 2TB backed by a five-year warranty. The 4TB version will be available next year.