Samsung 970 Series SSD (1TB) storage device

We recently looked at Samsung’s previous range of SSD’s, the 860 series, and now it has launched its next generation of disks, the 970 series.

The 860 SSD has a faster interface and a new controller, which gives it a huge increase in performance over the previous 970 series, allowing Samsung to battle it out with the latest Sandforce-controlled drives from other manufacturers.

As with the 860 series internal components of the 970 are all made by Samsung.

But here, instead of both sides of the circuit board being occupied by memory chips, Samsung has used just one side, with eight 27nm, 32GB NAND chips providing the 1TB of memory.

The disk is also provided with 1GB of DDR3 (667MHz) cache memory for faster access but in the case of the 970 this comes as a single chip and not the two used in the 860.

But the star of the show is the Samsung’s new controller, the S4LJ204x01-Y040, which uses a 6gbits/sec Serial ATA interface (the 860’s interface only operated at 3gbits/sec) and provided the 970 with some impressive performance figures.

What are the benchmark scores?

When we test the earlier 860 with Futuremark’s PC Mark Vantage HDD benchmarking suite, it produced an overall disk score of 37,430. That was fairly impressive but it pales when compared to the 45,579 scored by the 970 SSD.

It’s a similar story when it comes to real-life performance: the 860 booted into Windows in 49 seconds from the computer being switched off, while the 970 reduced that to almost half, taking a mere 27 seconds to boot in the same way.

Included with the kit is Norton Ghost 15 for copying files across, and Samsung’s own Magician software which contains a really useful bundle of tools.

FW Update lets users update the disk’s firmware in Windows, OS Optimisation checks the operating system and recommends tweaks that will improve its performance, Over Provisioning lets the user choose the size of the over-provisioning volume (something that’s static on other disks) and Secure Erase takes the disk back to its original state.

The Samsung 970 SSD is available in two versions, one for desktop users (which is the one we reviewed) which comes with a 2.5in-to-3.5in drive-bay convertor, cables and software, and a laptop version which comes with a USB connector instead of the drive bay adaptor.