Dynamic Thermal Guard:
While Samsung's NVMe SSDs offer impressive performance, they also generate a good amount of heat. To keep them from overheating, Samsung has implemented what they call Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG). This technology monitors the temperature of a drive and will reduce its performance once it reaches a certain point.
This thermal throttling was a big issue when we reviewed the 950 PRO. Even with basic benchmarks like CrystalDiskMark or ATTO, the drive's temperature would reach a point where DTG would kick in and reduce its performance. It got to a point where I needed to position an 8cm fan directly over the 950 PRO so that I could complete the tests.
The 970 EVO is also equipped with Dynamic Thermal Guard. However, Samsung has tried to delay the inevitable drop in performance by dissipating heat more efficiently. Like the 960 EVO, the 970 EVO has a copper heat spreader built into the label on the back of the drive. Samsung has also gone one step further by using a new nickel coating on the Phoenix controller that is helps dissipate heat faster.
Right off the bat, I noticed that the 970 EVO ran hotter than the 960 PRO in my test system. At idle, the 970 EVO's temperature hovered around 33 ºC. When pushed hard, these temps climbed up to 79 ºC before DTG was triggered, reducing performance. It took a lot to do this though. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that more than 800GB worth of data was written before there was a major drop in performance. Even then, the 970 EVO still continued to write at more than 900 MB/s.
If you're going to push the 970 EVO hard and don't want DTG to activate, you may want to consider adding a cooling fan or attach a heatsink to the drive. With an 8cm fan blowing over the drive, I saw a dramatic drop in temps. At idle, the drive's temperature dropped down to 24 ºC and rose to 45 ºC under heavy workloads.
With the 970 EVO, Samsung has proven once again that good things do come in small packages. Designed for tech savvy consumers, gamers and professionals, this compact, M.2 form factor SSD is powered by the same Phoenix controller found in the 970 PRO and is available with up to 2TB of Samsung's latest 3-bit MLC V-NAND flash. Combine this with the company's Intelligent TurboWrite technology and a PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface and you have one of the fastest mainstream NVMe SSDs on the market today. The 2TB version of the 970 EVO rocketed through our sequential transfer rate tests, reading at speeds as high as 3,564 MB/s and writing at more than 2,500 MB/s. The drive also did very well in our random write tests, producing more than 230,000 IOPS at low queue depths.
Impressive performance isn't the only thing the 970 EVO has to offer. Along with support for Samsung's Intelligent TurboWrite technology, the drive features AES 256-bit full disk encryption and is compliant with both the TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667 specifications. The 970 EVO also supports the Device Sleep (DEVSLP) standard which extends the battery life of a device by reducing the drive's power consumption when it's not in use. To top it all off, the 970 EVO is covered by a 5 year warranty with an endurance rating of up to 1,200 terabytes written (TBW) for the 2TB model.
The 970 EVO is available now in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. Prices on Amazon.com currently range from $109.99 up to $799.99 for the 2TB version reviewed here.
- PCIe 3.0 x4 interface with NVMe protocol
- Equipped with 3-bit MLC V-NAND technology
- Available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities
- Excellent sequential and random read and write speeds
- Performs equally well with compressible and incompressible data
- Small M.2 2280 form factor
- Large DRAM cache
- Supports TRIM and garbage collection
- AES 256-bit full disk encryption
- TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667 compliant
- Works with Samsung's Magician software
- 5 year warranty
- Can get hot under heavy workloads