Review: Samsung 990 Pro – speeding in the fast lane
The Samsung 990 Pro is the hot new SSD, whether you need it for your PS5 or your PC
So I just started here at The Shortcut, and right off the bat I got the fancy new Samsung 990 Pro SSD. This is the new flagship SSD from Samsung, following 2021’s 980 Pro. But while some SSD launches come and go with slight efficiency upgrades, the Samsung 990 Pro sees a massive jump in potential performance, thoroughly dethroning the former king – which also just happened to be made by the same brand.
The Samsung 990 Pro is a PCIe 4.0 SSD, with sticker speeds at 7,450 MB/s read and 6,900 MB/s write. That’s a pretty massive jump over the Samsung 980 Pro, which “only” had read and write speeds of 7,000 MB/s and 5,100 MB/s, respectively.
You will be paying a little bit more for the privilege, with the new hotness coming in at a starting price of $169. That’s only slightly more than Samsung is selling last year’s model for, and it’s totally worth the extra cash.
Where to buy Samsung 990 Pro 2TB
Samsung 990 Pro specs
🤓 PCIe 4.0, compatible with PS5
🪛 M.2 2280
📖 Up to 2TB of storage
🌡️ New nickel-coated SSD controller for better temperatures
🎮 Up to 1,400,000 IOPS in random read speed, perfect for gamers
🏃♀️ 2GB DDR4 SSD cache
🚄 7,450 MB/s max sequential read speed
Score: 5 out of 5
Award: Editor’s Choice
How I’m testing the Samsung 990 Pro
Given that I just started here at the Shortcut, I wasn’t quite able to finish my testing suite before writing this up, but I have at least been able to get started. Samsung sent me a 2TB model without a heatsink, so I’m testing it using the built-in heatsink on my personal PC’s motherboard, and a PNY XLR8 Gaming SSD cover on the PS5. The latter is very ugly, but it’s one of the beefiest SSDs I’ve ever seen.
Through that setup, I’m going to test on PS5 first, and measure how fast three games load both on the stock SSD and on the Samsung 990 Pro to see which is faster and exactly what kind of load times you can expect for the best PS5 games.
Then, I’m going to put it back in my PC – where I started testing – and run a suite of more specialized tests to see exactly what this SSD is capable of.
Why trust my Samsung 990 Pro review?
I’ve been testing PC components for around a decade now, and I know exactly what to look out for. I’m extremely thorough in my testing, and I’ll be able to tell whether or not Samsung’s claims about this spiffy new SSD are bullshit or not.
Just going off of some preliminary tests, I don’t think the Samsung 990 Pro has anything to worry about, though. But, I’ll have more definitive answers here in a couple of days.
The Samsung 990 Pro is ready for the PS5
🚄My PS5 rates the Samsung 990 Pro at 6,568 MB/s
🔥There’s a heatsink version, so buy that if you’re putting it in your PS5
While the Samsung 990 Pro is very much targeted at PC gamers, with a bunch of bells and whistles for nerds like me, it’s perfectly usable in your PS5. There is a heatsink version you can buy for an extra $20, and that’s totally the option you should go for if you want to use it in your console. It’s going to save you a ton of hassle.
Just be aware that you’re not going to get the full sticker speed of the Samsung 990 Pro in the PS5. I installed it, and after formatting it, the console told me the SSD had a speed of 6,568 MB/s. That’s definitely nothing to shake a stick at, but it’s a far cry from the 7,540 MB/s that Samsung is advertising.
Honestly, though, it’s more than fast enough to keep up with the stock SSD in the PS5, and may potentially be even faster – though I’ll need to do more testing to make sure that’s the case.
Samsung 990 Pro release date
📅 Pre-orders start November 1
The Samsung 990 Pro will be available for pre-order starting on November 1, but Samsung hasn’t told me yet when you can expect to get it in your hands. I’ll be doing some investigating here once the pre-order page actually goes up, but I expect it will show up within a couple of weeks at the latest.
Samsung 990 Pro price
1TB – $169
1TB Heatsink – $189
2TB – $289
2TB Heatsink – $309
The Samsung 990 Pro is a flagship part, so you should expect to pay a bit of a premium for it. But, it’s actually cheaper than what the Samsung 980 Pro launched for a year ago. The SSD starts at $169 (nice) for the 1TB version, and $289 for the 2TB version. Those prices are for the SSD alone, though, you’ll have to pay a bit more for a model with the Heatsink.
The heatsink version will run you $189 for the 1TB model and $309 for 2TB, so you’re paying about $20 more for the convenience. Plus, for PC users, it has fancy RGB lighting, too.
Oh yeah, it has RGB
Samsung sent me the non-heatsink version of the 990 Pro, but the heatsink version straight up looks cool. It has RGB lighting, because of course it does, with a very angular design language. This may make the 990 Pro with a heatsink use a little bit more power, but honestly it’s worth it for the flashy aesthetic, if your graphics card doesn’t cover your SSD slot, that is.
Samsung 990 Pro performance and benchmarks: What really matters
I’ve only done some preliminary Samsung 990 Pro benchmarks, but from what it looks like, this is one of the fastest SSDs on the market. While the PS5 only rates it for 6,568 MB/s, my early CrystalDiskMark run, pegs sequential reads at a blistering 7,474.89 MB/s, with a write speed that exceeds expectations at 6,897 MB/s. I have a lot more testing to do before I can definitively call this one of the fastest drives on the market. I can, however, pretty confidently say it’s not slow.
Should you pre-order the Samsung 990 Pro?
✅You’re going to buy it anyway
✅You want the latest and greatest tech no matter the cost
✅You’re a PC gamer who wants some RGB swag with your speedy SSD
❌ You’re on a budget
❌ You don’t want to bother with a separate heatsink install
❌ You already have the Samsung 980 Pro SSD
Your Samsung 990 Pro questions answered
Leave questions in the comments or DM me on Twitter. I’ll be updating this Samsung 990 Pro review.
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