Samsung announces 990 Evo — the world’s first SSD capable of operating in either PCIe 4.0 x4 or PCIe 5.0 x2 modes.

Earlier this month, Samsung accidentally revealed its latest 990 Evo solid-state drive (SSD), which stands out for its dual-mode operations: PCIe 4.0 x4 or PCIe 5.0 x2. Today, Samsung has officially launched the product, the bandwidth of which remains the same in both modes.

Dual-mode capability and reading speed

The new SSD offers a sequential read speed of up to 5000MB/s and a write speed of up to 4200MB/s. Also, it boasts a performance of 700,000 IOPS and 800,000 IOPS for random read and write operations respectively. The SSD is set to compete against affordable options like TeamGroup MP44L and the popular WD_Black SN770. The key advantage lies in its energy-efficient 5nm controller and the use of 133-layer V6P TLC NAND flash memory chips. It uses a portion of the PC’s system memory as it lacks its own DRAM cache memory.

Anticipating future requirements

As mentioned, the 990 Evo operates in both PCIe 4.0 x4 or PCIe 5.0 x2 modes. According to Samsung, the hybrid design of this Dual-mode SSD is developed “to satisfy current computational needs while also anticipating the requirements of future devices” for SSD, but the company has not explained this statement explicitly.

Given that the bandwidth of four PCIe 4.0 lines and two PCIe 5.0 lines is equivalent, using one mode or the other will not result in performance loss. However, using two PCIe 5.0 lines could improve the SSD’s energy efficiency in certain use-cases. Such a combination is aimed to make the Samsung 990 Evo NVMe SSD an ideal choice for not just laptops but also, for instance, the PS5 gaming console.

 The 990 Evo SSD

Availability and Pricing

The Samsung 990 Evo NVMe SSD comes in 1TB and 2TB variants, priced at $124.99 and $209.99, respectively, each coming with a 5-year warranty. The smaller variant is reported to have a lifespan of 600 terabytes written (TBW), while the larger model promises double.

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