Unboxing and Testing the Samsung 990 PRO, the Last Triumph of Gen4 SSDs

Samsung’s solid-state drives have gained popularity among gamers due to their exceptional quality and performance, making them a benchmark in prominent evaluations. Serving as the successor to the 980 PRO, the 990 PRO incorporates PCIe 4.0 x4 and NVME 2.0, delivering a remarkable maximum read speed of 7450MB/s. Additionally, it achieves a maximum write speed of 6900MB/s, showcasing a 50% increase in performance per watt compared to the 980 PRO. By utilizing Samsung’s management software, the magician, users can effectively monitor the drive’s operational status, thus maximizing the full potential of Gen 4 SSD.

Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
NVMe: 2.0
Size: M.2 2280
Capacity: 1TB, 2TB
Controller: Samsung Pascal
Flash memory: 176-layer 3D V-NAND TLC
DRAM Cache: LPDDR4-1866 1GB (1TB version)/ 2GB (2TB version)
Dimensions: 80 x 22 x 3.2mm
Weight: 9.0g
Power: 55mW (standby)/5.5W (average)/8.5W (burst mode)
Software: Samsung Managed Magician
Warranty: 5 years or 1200TBW limited Guaranteed

Gaming Performance MAX Samsung 990 PRO 1TB out of the box

The Samsung 990 PRO introduces an exclusive Pascal control chip and employs the Samsung 8nm manufacturing process. It supports PCIe 4.0 x4 and NVME 2.0, delivering significant improvements in random read and write performance, boasting a 55% increase compared to the 980 PRO. Notably, power consumption has also been significantly reduced in comparison. The flash memory utilized is Samsung’s latest seventh-generation 174-layer V-NAND TLC, available in a single 512GB capacity, with additional advantages of low power consumption.

The packaging of the Samsung 990 PRO 1TB resembles previous Samsung SSDs, featuring a predominantly black background. This time, an electronic-style background has been added to enhance its technological appeal. The slogan below states “Blistering speed, endless victory,” symbolizing the use of top-tier SSDs by elite gamers.

In the upper right corner, there is a Xingruiqi agent sticker, which provides a warranty of 5 years or a total writing capacity of 1200TBW, whichever expires first. To avail of the warranty, an invoice is required, and SSDs purchased from unknown sources may not be eligible for warranty coverage.

Samsung 990 PRO packaging.
The back of the package.
Inner packaging.

The Samsung 990 PRO 1TB follows the standard M.2 2280 size, making it compatible with a wide range of devices. Its single-sided design is particularly advantageous for notebook computer users, as it ensures better compatibility. In contrast, the double-sided variant might be too thick for certain laptops to accommodate. To aid in heat dissipation, the back label of the SSD employs copper foil, assisting in maintaining optimal operating temperatures.

Samsung 990 PRO 1TB body.
Single-sided particles.
Photo on the machine.
AORUS Z790 XTREME motherboard comes with heat sink.

Samsung Solid State Drive Tool Software–Samsung Management Magician

The Samsung Management Magician software offers a comprehensive range of features to monitor and manage your SSD. It enables you to access essential information about your SSD, such as temperature, cumulative read and write volume, and diagnostic mode, which helps identify any potential faults or issues with the disk. The software also notifies you about firmware updates, allowing you to easily check and install the latest firmware for optimal performance.

Additionally, Samsung Management Magician provides a Secure Erase feature, ensuring the safe and permanent deletion of data from your SSD. This feature is especially useful when you want to securely remove sensitive or confidential information from your drive.

Samsung management magician.
Disk diagnosis.
Secure Erase.

Samsung 990 PRO 1TB performance test

For all the tests conducted, the following hardware configuration was used: an Intel Core i7-13700K processor, a GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS XTREME motherboard, Kingston DDR5-6000 16GB RAM (2 modules), and the Samsung 990 PRO 1TB SSD installed in the first M.2 slot of the motherboard. The SSD was directly connected to the CPU’s PCIe 4.0 x4 channel. The system was installed on a separate SSD, and the M.2 heatsink that came with the motherboard was utilized for cooling the Samsung 990 PRO.

Test Platform:
Processor: Intel Core i7-13700K
Memory: Kingston DDR5-6000 16GB*2
Display Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Power Supply: FSP Hydro Ti PRO 1000W
Operating System: Windows 11 After Pro 22H2

990 PRO 1TB is formatted, the actual usable space is 931GB.

Usable capacity after formatting.

After checking the basic information in CrystalDiskInfo, the Samsung 990 PRO SSD has the latest firmware version 1B2QJXD7. It utilizes a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface and follows the NVME 2.0 specification.


Based on the default profile of the CrystalDiskMark test conducted in NVME mode, the Samsung 990 PRO SSD exhibits impressive performance. It achieves a sequential read speed of up to 7155MB/s and a sequential write speed of 6611MB/s. In terms of 4K random read performance, it reaches a speed of 92MB/s, while for 4K random write, it achieves 374MB/s. These results showcase the SSD’s high-speed data transfer capabilities and efficient performance in various read and write scenarios.

Crystal Disk Mark.

During the ATTO Disk Benchmark, various I/O sizes ranging from 512 bytes to 64 megabytes were employed to assess the Samsung 990 PRO’s maximum performance. With a direct I/O queue of 8 layers, the SSD demonstrated exceptional speeds. It achieved a maximum read speed of 6.6GB/s and a maximum write speed of 6.2GB/s. These results highlight the SSD’s remarkable throughput and its ability to handle a wide range of I/O sizes efficiently.

ATTO Disk Benchmark.

During the PCMARK10 Full System Drive Benchmark, a series of everyday operations, including booting, launching Adobe programs, operating Office software, and copying files, are simulated to assess overall system performance. The Samsung 990 PRO achieved a score of 4405 in this benchmark. Additionally, the average bandwidth recorded was 703 MB/s, indicating the sustained data transfer rate, and the average access time measured was 38 microseconds, denoting the speed at which data can be accessed. These results demonstrate the SSD’s ability to handle various tasks efficiently and deliver smooth performance during everyday usage scenarios.

PCMARK10 Full System Drive Benchmark test.

In the 3DMARK Storage Benchmark, which assesses game performance, the Samsung 990 PRO SSD achieved a score of 3842. This benchmark evaluates the speed of game loading, recording, installation, archiving, and other relevant tasks. The average bandwidth recorded for the SSD was 662MB/s, indicating the sustained data transfer rate during gaming operations. The average access time, measuring the speed of data retrieval, was 47 microseconds. These results reflect the SSD’s ability to provide fast and responsive performance for gaming tasks, ensuring smooth gameplay and efficient data handling.

3DMARK Storage Benchmark test.

Microsoft DirectStorage technology is specifically designed to support NVMe SSDs and requires compatibility with the corresponding system and driver. Players can verify whether their hardware supports DirectStorage by accessing the Settings > Game Function interface through the Xbox GAME BAR, which can be opened by pressing WIN+G.

To assess the impact of DirectStorage, the Bulk Load Demo provided by Microsoft can be utilized. In this demo, a 4.3GB file is read in a mere 0.36 seconds. The CPU usage during this process is only 0.64%, indicating the efficiency of DirectStorage in offloading processing tasks from the CPU. Furthermore, the bandwidth achieved is 12GB/s, showcasing the high-speed data transfer capabilities facilitated by DirectStorage. These results highlight the significant performance benefits that DirectStorage can offer in terms of faster file loading and reduced CPU overhead.

Xbox GAME BAR interface.
Bulk Load Demo.

During the AIDA64 Linear Read & Write test, the Samsung 990 PRO 1TB SSD exhibits impressive performance. The average read speed remains stable at around 4670MB/s, indicating consistent high-speed data retrieval. The writing speed starts at 5300MB/s and then drops to around 2000MB/s after writing approximately 100GB of data. This reduction in speed is due to Samsung’s garbage collection algorithm, which allows the SSD to release cached data while writing, enabling it to maintain high-speed writing performance. After a short period, the writing speed returns to 5300MB/s.

Overall, even during periods of slower writing (around 2000MB/s), the Samsung 990 PRO performs exceptionally well compared to other SSDs. Its ability to release cache during the writing process and swiftly return to high-speed writing contributes to its outstanding performance.

AIDA64 Linear Read.
AIDA64 Linear Write.

During the temperature test conducted with the M.2 heatsink of the Z790 AORUS XTREME, three rounds of CrystalDiskMark tests were performed on the Samsung 990 PRO SSD. HWinfo64 was used to measure the temperature readings.

The highest temperature recorded for sensor 1 was 58 degrees Celsius, with an average temperature of 49 degrees Celsius. As for sensor 2, the highest temperature reached 86 degrees Celsius, with an average temperature of 67 degrees Celsius. Although these temperatures are relatively high, it is important to note that the SSD did not experience any slowdown in performance throughout the three rounds of testing.

The utilization of the M.2 heatsink, along with the SSD’s built-in temperature management features, helped ensure that the Samsung 990 PRO maintained its performance levels despite the elevated temperatures.



The Samsung 990 PRO stands out as a flagship PCIe 4.0 SSD, delivering exceptional read and write performance. What sets it apart is its ability to enhance performance while reducing power consumption, even during high-power usage scenarios. With the user-friendly Samsung Management Magician software, users can easily monitor the SSD’s operational status and make informed decisions.

Furthermore, Samsung SSDs are known for their high endurance and tolerance for heavy write workloads, making them ideal for gamers and professionals who demand extreme performance. At the current promotional prices of 4899 yuan for the 1TB version and 6999 yuan for the 2TB version, which are lower than the listed price of the 980 PRO, it is an opportune time to make a purchase and take advantage of the benefits offered by the Samsung 990 PRO.

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Title: Unboxing and Testing the Samsung 990 PRO, the Last Triumph of Gen4 SSDs