Boot SSD - prefer Samsung 970 to 980

The boot drive in my Roon Core needs to be replaced, so I did a little research and share my thoughts in this post, in case anybody is interested.

Here’s my ranking of subjective “best” without considering cost:

  1. Samsung 970 PRO
  2. Samsung 980 PRO
  3. Samsung 970 EVO PLUS
  4. Samsung 980

After considering cost, I picked Samsung 970 EVO PLUS .

My rationale:

  • Assuming the firmware is stable and robust, cell structure is the utmost important thing - SLC > MLC >> TLC >>>> QLC
  • 970 PRO wins because it uses MLC, 980 PRO is downgraded to TLC even though the latter may offer higher performance in certain scenarios
  • Performance difference, while measurable, is not significantly different in terms of non-measured user experience
  • The 980 non-PRO is the worst in these four because it it DRAM-less. The DRAM is meant to further reduce write to the flash, thereby extending life. Removing the DRAM for cost is a really bad idea for an OS drive or database drive that is frequently written to.
  • Do not use QLC for OS or database or any application that is frequently written. In fact I would not use QLC for anything.

Note: Do not use any of these drives or m.2 NVME with NUC5. NUC6 or above are ok.


That’s what I picked for my boot drive, too.