[Bestbuy618DIY Hardware Channel] What would happen if an SSD didn’t have DRAM? There was a time when we thought a DRAM-less hard drive was inadequate structurally. However, in light of current trends, DRAM-less hard drive products are beginning to make a name for themselves, providing performance comparable to those that have traditionally used DRAM while having a lower price and lighter platter weight. Since we’re talking about DRAM-free SSDs, Samsung recently released the Samsung SSD 980, and this article is an in-depth review of the Samsung SSD 980, so we can get a concrete feel for how well the DRAM-free SSD performs.
In fact, the beginning of this paragraph familiar with the content of the storage device friends must be able to understand, but not too familiar with this aspect of the user may be confused, then there will be at least three questions
It is worth noting that DRAM memory particles use transistors and capacitors to temporarily store data, and because there is no substantial writing that involves changes to the physical cell structure and properties, they can theoretically be read and written indefinitely. DRAM memory, on the other hand, is not always permanently usable as electronic components age. DRAM’s mapping table can connect logical and physical blocks, allowing SSDs to respond more quickly.
Requests from the host device take longer to pass from the logical block to the physical block when there is no DRAM. As a result, SSDs without DRAM have a more difficult time responding quickly than SSDs with DRAM. However, as technology advances, not all SSDs require DRAM for full operation, and manufacturers are beginning to adopt DRAM-less designs.
Traditional DRAM-less SSDs, on the other hand, have never been able to match the performance of SSDs with DRAM and are thus unpopular among consumers.
In an effort to further balance price and performance in consumer SSD solutions, the NVMe Association established the Host Memory Buffer (HMB) feature in the NVMe specification v1.2 in 2014 to improve the overall performance of DRAM-less SSDs. The HMB function has been improved over time to take advantage of the PCIExpress interface’s Direct Memory Access (DMA) feature, allowing SSDs to operate by accessing a portion of the host’s DRAM memory via the system CPU even if they do not have their own DRAM. SSDs that support HMB technology can not only lower production costs by eliminating DRAM, but they can also gain a competitive advantage due to increased speed. This is one of the Samsung SSD 980’s key advantages.
So, after learning the fundamentals of science, let’s officially test this new SSD 980. We previously purchased a motherboard and processor to test the Samsung SSD 980, and this test of the Samsung SSD 980 was also carried out on that platform.
The processor is an AMD Dragon 7 3700X, and the motherboard is a Gigabyte X570 Gaming X with two PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD interfaces; the memory is Corsair Avenger LPX DDR4-3600MHz high-frequency memory. Because DRAM-less SSDs will use in-camera memory, it is recommended that users select high-capacity, high-frequency memory to ensure that the Samsung SSD 980 performs as expected when used.
The test drive is the NVMe SSD 970 EVO Plus, also from Samsung, with a PCIe 3.04 interface and support for the NVMe 1.3 protocol.
The outer box of the Samsung SSD 980 retains a vertical design and retains the black tone as the primary visual effect. The top of the box reveals the Samsung SSD 980 disk, while the bottom of the image reveals a little mystery. The traditional SSD will be placed in that location DRAM cache next to the main control chip, but the Samsung SSD 980 in the location of only part of the electronic components, there is no DRAM presence.
The Samsung SSD 980 we tested is the 500GB version, which retains Samsung’s heatless armor design style and is very thin and light overall, weighing only a few grams, making it even lighter than SSDs with DRAM chips. The Samsung SSD 980 uses PCle 3.04 channel with a theoretical bandwidth of 8GT/s, according to the basic information about the test drive from CrystalDiskInfo software.
The firmware version for the 500GB drive is 1B4QFXO7, and it supports S.M.A.R.T. function in accordance with the NVMe 1.4 standard
After several tests, we were able to conclude that the sequential read speed of this mobile SSD can be stabilized at around 3200MB/s and the sequential write speed can reach around 2400MB/s. The 3200MB/s speed even outperforms the official 3100MB/s sequential read speed, and the write speed is also among the best in its class. After all, the fastest sequential read and write speeds achieved by representative PCIe 3.0 DRAM-free SSDs on the market today are only 2400 MB/s and 1950 MB/s, respectively. The HD Tune Pro software offers a detailed test of hard drive performance, as well as hard drive transfer rate detection, health status detection, temperature detection, and disk surface scanning.
We used HD Tune Pro to write 200GB of files to the Samsung SSD 980 in random mode to observe sustained writes. According to the data in the graph, the 500GB version of the Samsung SSD 980 writes close to 100GB of data before the write speed drops, and the entire process takes about 60 seconds.
This capacity size was able to reach 175GB in the sequential sustained write test without any speed dips. Considering that the previous Samsung SSD 970 EVO experienced a significant drop in speed after 25 seconds and 43GB of data transfer, the Samsung SSD 980 represents a significant improvement. When using ATTO to test the SSD’s read and write speeds with different sized data test packages, the Samsung SSD 980 can read up to 2.96GB/s and write up to 2.21GB/s.
The Samsung SSD 980’s speed stabilizes at a data size of 64KB and remains stable throughout the read and write tests.
CrystalDiskMark version 7.0.0 software can also display random read and write performance in Q1T1 and Q32T16 premises. The test results show that the Samsung SSD 980’s 4K random read speed is 15,283 ipos and 410,129 ipos, respectively, and the random write speed is 39,653 ipos and 44,432 ipos, which is quite good. Furthermore, the TxBench software test produced similar random read and write scores to CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0, corroborating each other.
The Samsung SSD 980 also passed the PCMark 8 test, as shown in the chart below. The Samsung SSD 980 achieved a high score of 5087 on PC Mark 8 with a bandwidth of 607.98MB/s, comparable to even the previous Samsung SSD 980 PRO, which sits at the forefront of consumer SSDs.
Intelligent TurboWrite 2.0 has a buffer that is up to 5.6 times larger than the previous Samsung 970 EVO (TurboWrite area, in the case of the 500GB model). Most users can enjoy peak performance at SLC rates for extended periods of time. Because the total amount of data written to the SSD by the user remains constant, the Smart TurboWrite algorithm has no effect on the SSD’s endurance.
Not only does the Samsung SSD 980 provide excellent performance release, but its excellent heat dissipation is a key reason why it stands out. Samsung SSDs have never been known to include an armored heatsink. The Samsung SSD 980 eliminates the problem of sudden performance drops caused by heat generation under extreme workloads by adding a nickel-plated layer to the master chip and utilizing advanced Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology.
These excellent technologies help to accelerate heat dissipation and keep the SSD from overheating, allowing the Samsung SSD 980 to perform admirably. The Samsung SSD 980 can also drop to standby temperature in a very short period of time after long read and write sessions, and it is worth noting that Samsung has optimized the same in some details that are not visible on the surface. The Samsung SSD 980 improves power management.
Laptops typically consume less power, around 65-130 W. If the computer is not plugged in, it is critical to make efficient use of all available power.
Users can complete tasks in a relatively short period of time while consuming little power by using the Samsung SSD 980. In comparison to the previous Samsung 970 EVO product, the Samsung SSD 980 can reduce power consumption by up to 36% while increasing energy efficiency by up to 54%.
With the full power mode update, magician management software will reach version 6.3. This feature was originally intended to provide users with extreme performance. This mode ensures that the SSD is always supplied with enough power to operate at peak levels (PS0) at all times, resulting in uninterrupted, continuous high performance.
In addition, the Samsung SSD 980 has a shorter switching delay when entering or exiting the device’s hibernation state, which reduces the user’s waiting time during cold starts, and users can do much more with the Samsung SSD 980 paired with Magician management software. Aside from gaining access to critical information about the drive and compatibility issues, Finding and installing firmware, driver, and other device updates is also simplified.
Furthermore, powerful new features like diagnostic scanning and PSID encryption recovery help users keep track of the status of their drives. If you have other hard drive devices, such as other SSDs, hard drives, or mobile SSDs, the software’s functionality is limited.
Furthermore, Samsung Magic does not take up much space on the SSD. It is a customized applet that allows users to select only the features they require, which is more in line with diverse user needs.
The Samsung SSD 980 is one of the few DRAM-less SSDs on the market, with PCIe 3.04 and NVMe 1.4 protocol support. Despite the removal of the DRAM module, the Samsung SSD 980 maintains performance comparable to mainstream SSDs with DRAM, thanks to HMB technology.
The 500GB version in this test also falls short of the ultimate performance of the Samsung SSD 980, which is also available in a 1TB version with greater capacity and faster speed.
DRAM-free SSDs can reduce disk weight while maintaining performance and can reduce costs, allowing users to get excellent storage performance at a lower cost. The durability guarantee on the Samsung SSD 980 stems from Samsung’s long-standing expertise and innovative actions in the SSD market. At the same time, the Samsung SSD 980 comes with an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty and a TBW (total bytes written) guarantee of 150TB for the 250GB model, 300TB for the 500GB model, and 600TB for the 1TB model. If you want to add an SSD to your notebook or host device in the future, the Samsung SSD 980 is worth considering.
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