SSDs are a must-have for anyone looking to give their computer a much-needed boost. Gamers will definitely benefit the most from a high-capacity SSD, as these are primed to handle graphics-heavy applications and 4K video, whereas your computer’s standard hard-disk will slow down significantly in very little time, which will have a knock-on effect on your entire computer.
SSDs have evolved a lot over the last few years, but Samsung is a brand that remains at the forefront of the game, particularly since the inception of NVMe-based solid-state storage. Two of the best SSDs in this category are the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro – a supposedly enhanced version of the former.
970 series followed the success of the 960 Evo line, released back in 2016. The 970 series was released a couple of years back now, however, this line continues to feature some of the best-selling SSDs that are renowned for their endurance, speed, and reliability.
But what’s the difference between the 970 Evo and the 970 Evo Pro? Is the Pro definitely worth the extra dollars, or is it simply a fancier name? Today we’re going to take you through the features and spec of each SSD, and explain which one will give you the most bang for your buck.
First up though, let’s get a rough idea of what you get with each device. Here’s a summary of both the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro:
Samsung claims that the 970 EVO “delivers breakthrough speeds, best-in-class reliability, and a broad range of capacity options up to 2TB.” It comes in the M.2 form factor and offers a max sequential read speed of 3,500 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 2,500 MB/s. With an endurance rating of up to 1,200 TBW, Samsung claims this is 50% higher than the previous generation.
The Pro version of the 970 Evo offers read/write speeds up to 3,500/2,700 MB/s – a slight increase on the 970 Evo in terms of write speed. In terms of endurance, the 970 PRO delivers up to 1,200 TBW. It comes in the same M.2 form factor as the regular Evo but comes in a smaller range of capacities: 512 GB and 1 TB.
To get a better understanding of how these two SSDs are similar – and different – take a look at their specs:
We’ll now take a more in-depth look at the key features of both the 970 Evo and the 970 Evo Pro…
Both the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro use V-NAND technology – a non-volatile flash memory which is constructed from layers of vertically-stacked cells, resulting in increased capacity, faster reads and writes, and lower manufacturing costs. They both come in the M.2 “gumstick” form and both connect to the host via PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 interface. So in terms of form factor and interface, the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro are pretty much exactly the same.
Amazingly, the 970 EVO fits up to 2TB onto the compact M.2 (2280) form factor, which provides you with significant capacity whilst saving space for other components. The M.2 form is also great as it’s discreet and lightweight, and works well for laptop and notebook users.
The 970 Evo comes in a wider range of capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, whereas the 970 Evo Pro comes in a 512GB and 1TB capacity. In terms of bandwidth, there is a difference between the two also. While both offer a peak read bandwidth of 3.5GB/s, the write bandwidth on the 970 Pro maxes out at around 2.7GB/s, while the 970 EVO has a slightly lower peak at 2.5GB/s. Both are a significant increase on Samsung’s 960 range, however, with the 960 Pro’s write bandwidth peaking at about 2.1 GB/s. In terms of endurance, which we’ll cover in more depth, later on, there’s a guaranteed 1,200 TBW on the 1TB version of the 970 Evo Pro and on the 2TB version of the 970 Evo.
So this is the bit that really matters, right? First up, let’s take a look at how the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro are similar in their performance. For example, both of these SSDs use the NVMe interface which offers enhanced bandwidth, low latency, and power efficiency which is ideal for anyone using graphics-heavy games and applications, as well as 4K and 3D content designers.
Both also run on Samsung’s Magician software, which offers seamless cloning and file transfers, optimizing performance and providing excellent data security thanks to the automatic firmware updates. The 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro also have a Dynamic Thermal Guard to optimize temperature and minimize performance drops.
As you can see, there are many similarities between the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro, so where does the “pro” come in? Well, let’s take a look at how these two SSDs differ…
Both feature Samsung’s Phoenix controller and are capable of read speeds up to 3,500 MB/s, however, the 970 Evo Pro has the edge in terms of write speeds and can achieve up to 2,700 MB/s, compared to the 970 Evo’s 2,500 MB/s. This means that the Pro has the edge in terms of the speed at which it can save data, however, both of these have excellent sequential reads and writes generally speaking.
In terms of random read and write ratings, the 970 Evo can achieve up to 500,000 and 480,000 IOPS respectively, and the 970 Evo Pro has a random read and write of 500,000 IOPS, so both of these handle multiple applications and operations extremely efficiently. To the average user, it’s worth noting that the differences between read and write speeds in these two models are unlikely to be noticeable.
You’ve probably been reading this article wondering when you’re going to find the major difference between the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro, as so far, we have to admit, there aren’t too many differences. Well, in terms of endurance, this is where you’ll find that the 970 Evo Pro supersedes the regular 970 Evo.
While it’s a common misconception that “Pro” equals a larger capacity or faster reads and writes, in actuality, the “Pro” in this case represents the superior endurance rating of the 970 Evo Pro, and this is where you’ll find the biggest difference between these two models. One indication of an SSD’s endurance is the TBW – or terabytes written – and this indicates how much data can be written onto the drive over its lifetime. As we mentioned earlier, both of these models have a guaranteed 1,200 TBW on the 1TB version of the 970 Evo pro and the 2TB version of the 970 Evo.
Whereas a general rule of thumb is the smaller the capacity, the lower the endurance rating, the 1TB version of the Pro matches that of the higher capacity of the 970 Evo. In order to reach the 1,200 TBW capacity, you’d have to write 410 GB/day over an eight-year period, or 200 GB/day to reach the 600 TBW rating of the 1TB 970 Evo. These are pretty huge figures, so for most users, the 970 Evo is more than capable of handling their daily needs for a few years before it will start to slow down.
Both models also feature Samsung’s advanced nickel-coated controller and heat spreader which provides superior heat dissipation, so you needn’t worry about overheating. The 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro are also both built with a Dynamic Thermal Guard which automatically monitors and maintains optimal operating temperatures to minimize drops in performance, ensuring that you get maximum efficiency at all times.
Both the 970 Evo and the Pro version are also covered by a 5-year limited warranty, which provides you with that extra peace of mind when purchasing.
So, considering the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro are pretty similar in their form factor, read and write speeds, and overall performance, how do they compare in terms of price?
There’s a pretty big price difference between the two. The 512 MB version of the Pro is more expensive than the 1TB 970 Evo. So it largely depends on what your priority is: endurance, in which case the Pro is better, or capacity and overall value for money, in which case the regular 970 Evo wins.
These two versions are available online in all of their capacities, aside from the 2 TB 970 Evo, which should be back in stock soon. The most widely available is the 500 GB and 1TB versions of the 970 Evo, and these also offer the most competitive prices. Both capacities of the 970 Evo Pro are also available on Amazon.
In terms of overall performance and value for money, we’d say that the differences between the 970 Evo and 970 Evo Pro are pretty marginal, so the average consumer will notice minimal differences between the two. This means that the 970 Evo offers more bang for your buck, and remains one of the most popular and trusted SSDs on the market.
We hope this article has helped you come to a clearer understanding of the differences between the 970 Evo and the 970 Evo Pro, and the benefits and drawbacks of each model.
As expected from Samsung, these are both excellent SSD cards offering superior read/write speeds and capacity for high-end gamers. Both come in the neat, convenient “gum stick” M.2 form and operate via the same interface, using Samsung’s excellent Magician software to help you monitor and manage your computer’s performance.
The 970 Evo offers a wider range of capacity options, making it slightly more accessible for users who need lower or higher storage capacity, whereas the Pro version comes in a choice of just two capacities. Both are accelerated by Samsung’s V-Nand and Phoenix controller which are designed to achieve faster read and write speeds and enhance your gaming or 4K video experience. The 970 Evo Pro offers slightly higher sequential write speeds but matches the regular 970 Evo in terms of sequential and random/IOPS read speed.
As we mentioned above, the Pro isn’t necessarily better or faster than the 970 Evo, however, it does guarantee a maximum endurance of 1,200 TBW. That said, both the 970 Evo and the 970 Evo Pro are covered by a 5-year limited warranty, so this provides that extra peace of mind regardless of which one you opt for.
Overall though, we think that the average user will notice very little difference between the 970 Evo and 970 Pro. The main difference however is the price, and it’s quite clear that you can get more bang for your buck with the 970 Evo, which is more than capable of handling graphics-heavy, high-end gaming, and 4K/3D images with ease.