There’s no getting around having to pay a premium for the fastest and biggest capacity SSDs on the market, but how much of a premium depends on when you strike. Right now, for example, 2TB versions of both Samsung’s 980 Pro and WD’s Black SN850 are marked down to their lowest prices ever.
These are two of the speediest SSDs on the market. Both are PCIe 4.0 models, and unlike the original crop of Gen 4 SSDs that topped out at 5,000MB/s (which is incredibly fast), these are rated to push speeds in the neighborhood of 7,000MB/s.
That’s precisely the speed Samsung rates the sequential read performance on its 2TB 980 Pro (on sale for $349.99 at Amazon , save $80), with sequential writes checking in at 5,100MB/s. The 980 Pro is the first drive line by Samsung to utilize a new Elpis controller, which can process 128 I/O queues simultaneously. It also boasts Samsung’s 6th generation V-NAND flash memory.
The endurance rating is also four times higher than the 500GB model we reviewed, at 1,200 TBW (terabytes written). Samsung warranties the drive up to that point, or for five years, whichever comes first (almost certainly the latter).
Also on sale is WD’s SN850, one of the best SSDs for gaming . It’s priced at $379.99 at Amazon , down from $449.99, and boasts the exact same sequential read and write ratings as the 980 Pro (7,000MB/s and 5,100MB/s, respectively).
The only caveat is that this drive runs hot, and the version that ships with a heatsink comes with a fairly significant up-charge. As in, Amazon’s asking price is $529.99. If going that route, buying directly from WD is the way to go, where it’s priced at $469.99 .
Having a heatink is not absolutely necessary (some motherboards come with M.2 drive covers/heatsinks anyway), though it can help with prolonged transfers. As the controller chip heats up, throttling occurs.
That said, we observed excellent performance from the 1TB model we reviewed, which came very close to hitting its rated speeds in ATTO. Like the 980 Pro, the Black SN850 is a performance oriented drive that would be a fine addition to any high-end gaming PC.
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