Samsung Caught Swapping Components in 970 EVO Plus SSD, Major Performance Hit When SLC Cache Is Filled

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Image: Samsung

The process of choosing a speedy SSD has become an especially complicated one that definitely requires extensive researching beyond the specifications listed on the box.

Following on the heels of Crucial and Western Digital, Samsung is the latest storage giant to get caught swapping parts in select SSDs without properly notifying customers. The drive in question is the popular 970 EVO Plus, an NVMe M.2 stick that offers read/write speeds of up to 3,500/3,300 MB/s.

As discovered by a Chinese YouTuber, the Phoenix controller (S4LR020) in the original 970 EVO Plus has been replaced with the Elpis controller (S4LV003). This is actually the controller that Samsung uses in its 980 PRO SSD, a more premium product that supports PCIe 4.0 for up to 7,000/5,000MB/s read/write speeds.

Despite what sounds like a positive swap on the surface, benchmarks have revealed that the write performance of Samsung’s revised 970 EVO Plus SSD drops like a rock when its SLC cache is exhausted. This is an issue that content creators who work with 4K videos and other large files might be very likely to run into.

Samsung hasn’t released a statement to confirm the changes in its 970 EVO PLUS SSD yet, but storage enthusiasts can identify the revised model by checking the box, which leans toward a vertical design. The new version also has a different firmware (3B2QEXM7).

[…] the old version started at 1,750 MBps and eventually dropped down to 1,500 MBps after the 40GB mark. On the new version, the drive steadily performed at 2,500 MBps, but once the 115GB SLC cache was exhausted, the SSD fell to 800 MBps. This represented a 47 percent performance hit.

Source: 潮玩客 (via Ars Technica, Tom’s Hardware)

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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