Sunday, August 30th 2020

Samsung 980 PRO NVMe SSD Uses TLC NAND Flash with Half the Endurance of 970 PRO: Product Page

Samsung's hotly anticipated 980 PRO M.2 NVMe flagship client-segment SSD is the company's first "PRO" branded SSD to feature TLC NAND flash memory, breaking from a unique tradition of using MLC (2 bits per cell) NAND flash. Product pages of the drive went live, and its specifications clearly state the use of "Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC," which is another way of saying TLC. "MLC" generally referred to as NAND flash memory that stores 2 bits per cell, even through the term "Multi-level" is amorphous.

The product page lists other juicy specs of Samsung's first M.2 NVMe client SSD that takes advantage of PCI-Express gen 4. The drive uses Samsung's in-house design "Elpis" controller, which uses NVMe 1.3 protocol over PCI-Express 4.0 x4, and an LPDDR4 DRAM cache. The 980 PRO comes in capacities of up to 1 TB, with up to 1 GB of DRAM cache. Samsung rates the 1 TB version as capable of up to 7000 MB/s sequential reads, up to 5000 MB/s sequential writes, and up to 1 million IOPS 4K random reads/writes at QD32. The use of TLC impacts endurance adversely in comparison to that of the drive's immediate predecessor, the 970 PRO, with the 1 TB 980 PRO warranty covering only up to 600 TBW, in comparison to 1200 TBW of the 970 PRO 1 TB, and the 500 GB 980 PRO offering just 300 TBW warranty coverage in comparison to 600 TBW of the 970 PRO 512 GB.
Source: th3typh00n (Reddit)
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81 Comments on Samsung 980 PRO NVMe SSD Uses TLC NAND Flash with Half the Endurance of 970 PRO: Product Page

#1
Selaya
Maybe we'll finally see a PCIe 4.0 NVMe that isn't basically a dressed-up SATA drive. Even if it's TLC.
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#2
Object55
TLC, 1TB Max, Half endurance... what is this, Samsung ?
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#3
Ed_1
Those specs sound more for a non-PRO version, wonder if they will have lower PCI-E Gen4 models.
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#4
ssdpro
That landed with a giant festering thud. Funny they call it 3-bit MLC where they call the 970 Pro 2-bit MLC like MLC is. No PR blitz, no early samples to match the launch, just a semi-hidden webpage revealing it is common zzzz TLC used in everything from value junk to ordinary mid-mainstream. Who cares about TLC burst speeds, TLC is burst then flop flat on face short life trash. Grab those 970 Pros while you still can - price is already up a bit. It doesn't burst as high but the thing is plenty fast and a tank.
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#5
Searing
Object55
TLC, 1TB Max, Half endurance... what is this, Samsung ?
Samsung has been garbage in SSD land for a few years now. They don't have better performance but they charge up to twice as much.

I really want a Phison E18 drive, should see that much cheaper and now that Samsung also uses TLC I don't see any reason to pay any premium at all for Samsung.
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#6
watzupken
That’s very sneaky of Samsung to call it 3bit MLC. I saw the specs earlier on another site, but thought it’s a typo. If it’s not real MLC, then what is so Pro about this? The Pro vs Evo series used to be segregated by MLC vs TLC.
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#7
jeremyshaw
ssdpro
That landed with a giant festering thud. Funny they call it 3-bit MLC where they call the 970 Pro 2-bit MLC like MLC is. No PR blitz, no early samples to match the launch, just a semi-hidden webpage revealing it is common zzzz TLC used in everything from value junk to ordinary mid-mainstream. Who cares about TLC burst speeds, TLC is burst then flop flat on face short life trash. Grab those 970 Pros while you still can - price is already up a bit. It doesn't burst as high but the thing is plenty fast and a tank.
You just furnished a link to their Singaporean site, in English.

MLC is Multi Level Cell. For some reason, people decided to get cute with the naming after that. Multi-level and the # of bits is a perfectly reasonable definition, IMO, and it is one Samsung has used for a while (long enough for me to remember people griping about it in the past, too). TLC ended up working as a name. Next we have QLC for Quad. Cannot use Q for Quint, so... what? PLC for Penta? What happens with 6? No quick escape though latin anymore, and SLC is already long taken. 7 has the exact same problem. 8, we can go with O, a wonderful letter to use in the computing world, where nobody will ever confuse it with 0 or misread it for Q.

#-bit MLC is perfectly descriptive and avoids the mess of randomly sorting through languages to find an unused calque to salvage a letter from. If that's too silly, then 1LC, 2LC, 3LC, 4LC is just as definitive and still works as an initialism.

But naming schemes are usually built on piles of "I'm already used to it being this way" and "things were better back then, when we named it. I'm keeping the old name" so any chance of fixing it is basically out the window. Hopefully, by the time PLC rolls around, nobody outside of the actual R&D engineers will care about the differences between different voltage levels.
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#8
Caring1
It's still MLC, considering anything with more than a one bit layer is MLC.
I prefer Samsung's naming method as it makes it very clear what you are getting.
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#9
Dave65
Has Samsung went to sheet or am I missing something?
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#10
XiGMAKiD
The future of storage is a 4TB SSD that you have to replace every 2 year because of its 6-bit per cell NAND :banghead:
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#11
CapsulateRhyme8
Does Samsung not know how to make an SSD controller with good wear leveling or are they just using garbage NAND flash and overcharging for it???
My budget TLC Phison e12 SSD (and most other e12 drives) is rated for 1600TBW for the 1TB model, higher than the 970 "PRO" and much higher than the 980 "PRO". Don't pros want reliability?
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#12
Caring1
CapsulateRhyme8
Does Samsung not know how to make an SSD controller with good wear leveling or are they just using garbage NAND flash and overcharging for it???
My budget TLC Phison e12 SSD (and most other e12 drives) is rated for 1600TBW for the 1TB model, higher than the 970 "PRO" and much higher than the 980 "PRO". Don't pros want reliability?
Most Pros just want the money. ;)
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#13
Searing
You also must remember that there is probably some kind of SLC caching so write amplification is a thing. So when they say 1 drive write, you might only be copying 1/4 of a drive and it actually wrote an entire drive then converted it from SLC to TLC in storage after the fact.
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#14
Makaveli
600 TBW is low.

The Corsair MP600 1TB drive i'm using is 1,800 TBW and also uses TLC with Phison E16.

Now i'm curious to see what the updated Phison E18 will do which I believe comes out towards the end of the year.
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#15
Ashtr1x
This is big blow to consumer. I often see these NVMe drives prone to high wear and tear due to higher temperatures for not so ground breaking gains over a SATA SSD. In enthusiast laptops like Clevo and Alienware LGA laptops these PRO drives are the go to choice for the people who want to get best for top buck. Now SATA 860 is probably Samsung's last MLC lineup, 4TB of that drive I wished to see it drop to an affordable cost to play all the fantastic past decade games but looks like it's also soon going to exit from market if Samsung's top PCIe 4.0 NVMe doesn't use MLC technology anymore. With "Samsung tax" I wonder who is going to buy these now. With increased layers from Kioxia, and other SSD makers Samsung is going to lose it's prized top crown for the best SSD for top price in NVMe very unfortunate. No reason to buy these Samsung drives anymore imho, an ADATA / WD and now with Phison's new controllers this is going to be a bust for Samsung, too greedy.
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#16
lexluthermiester
Not for that price. If Sammy wants that price, they will deliver MLC NAND with a generous DRAM cache and excellent performance.
XiGMAKiD
The future of storage is a 4TB SSD that you have to replace every 2 year because of its 6-bit per cell NAND :banghead:
Eff that. Hardcore no thank you with both middle fingers displayed tall and proud!!
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#17
trparky
Oh no, they better not make the EVO model based upon QLC-NAND because they can just shove that shit up where the sun doesn't shine.

Are they going to make the Pro model cheaper because... Oh hell, what am I thinking? They wouldn't do that. That would make too much sense. Silly me. :laugh:
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#18
R-T-B
Suddenly my Mushkin Pilot-E NVMe solution doesn't feel so bad...
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#19
Metroid
Object55
TLC, 1TB Max, Half endurance... what is this, Samsung ?
Well, I dont see that as a problem if price is also halved. Now if is not then we do have a problem and I will gladly boycott it.
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#20
Makaveli
Metroid
Well, I dont see that as a problem if price is also halved. Now if is not then we do have a problem and I will gladly boycott it.
Will have to see what they do as I have a feeling they will try to use PCIe 4.0 as a reason to keep the prices high.

Lets hope i'm wrong.
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#21
trparky
Makaveli
Will have to see what they do as I have a feeling they will try to use PCIe 4.0 as a reason to keep the prices high.

Lets hope i'm wrong.
Don't be silly, I didn't think you were naive. They'll most definitely charge a premium despite less NAND endurance.
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#22
Minus Infinity
Seriously underwhelmed by the 1TB capacity. Why bother going to TLC if you can't offer higher capacities.
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#23
trparky
Minus Infinity
Seriously underwhelmed by the 1TB capacity. Why bother going to TLC if you can't offer higher capacities.
Yep, most definitely yes!
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#24
Athlonite
Less TBW than my Adata SX8200 Pro (640TBW) and probably a $300+ or more in cost who cares that it's PCIe gen 4 x4 you'll never notice the difference in the real world what they need to be doing is going for better write capacity instead of faster faster faster soon it'll be 15GB/s and 200MBW ( Megabytes Written) and 5 minute warranty for the low low cost of 1 kidney 1 nut and your first born child's soul
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#25
Vayra86
This will only get worse. Scarce product is scarce, and this is what you get.

It really was better in the old days, I think we will be saying that a lot in tech in the near future.
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