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My new hard drive: Samsung 990 Pro 4TB

The Samsung 990 Pro 4TB SSD is an amazingly fast and robust hard drive for gaming and productivity.
Freud Menzel



November 15, 2023


I have recently been using the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB SSD as extra fast storage. My setup involves gaming and heavy-duty content creation. Below is my exprience with the drive.



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Unpacking the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB

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When I first heard about the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB, my expectations were sky-high, especially considering Samsung’s reputation for leading the pack in SSD technology. Now that I’ve had my hands on it, I can confidently say it has lived up to the hype — it’s a gigabyte powerhouse that deserves a seat at the high-performance storage table.

From the get-go, I appreciated the single-sided design, a thoughtful innovation that isn’t just a boon for sleek laptops and ultrabooks but also for the likes of PS5 gamers seeking a high-end storage upgrade. It’s the meticulous attention to detail that Samsung has put into this SSD that makes it such a standout.

Diving into the heart of this beast, the 236-Layer V8 TLC NAND flash deserves a special mention. It’s Samsung’s leap forward in density without compromising on performance — a challenging feat that they’ve executed with technical finesse. I learned from a presentation at the ISSCC 2022 conference that their controller and NAND flash use F-chips to manage signal integrity, which is crucial when stacking more dies in a package. Understanding the intricacies here—or at least appreciating them—highlights the exceptional engineering at play.

Getting into the thermal management, I can’t help but applaud Samsung’s nickel-plated controller and Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG). Sure, the SSD doesn’t usually run hot thanks to these features, but I’d still recommend investing in the heatsink model if possible, especially for power users and gamers pushing their systems.

Cloning and setup were impressively smooth. I used the Samsung Magician software to clone my old drive, and the transition was as seamless as spreading butter on warm toast. The software suite itself is gold-standard, making drive monitoring and maintenance almost enjoyable.

On the performance front, without stepping on the toes of other sections in our article, I will say the sustained write performance is consistent, a hallmark of Samsung’s TurboWrite technology. The 990 Pro keeps up its speed without breaking into what’s called a ‘folding state’ seen in many other SSDs. My data transfers feel like snapping my fingers — it’s that quick.

However, I’ve saved a special nod for the game-changing 4TB capacity. This isn’t just another high-capacity drive; it’s a testament to the leaps we’re seeing in storage technology. Having 4TB at your disposal without the bulkiness of a double-sided design is a feature I value a lot for the added convenience and compatibility it brings to the table.

Throughout my experience, what stood out, even more, is the efficiency. Although it’s not the most power-efficient on the market, considering the performance it delivers, the trade-off is more than fair. Remember, in the world of tech, balance is everything, and the 990 Pro walks that fine line with grace.

The long and short of it is that the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB is a robust, cutting-edge SSD that refuses to settle for anything less than excellence. It’s the kind of drive that elevates the overall computing experience, whether in lightning-fast file transfers, expansive storage for games and large files, or keeping the heat to a minimum during intense sessions. This little marvel of storage has made a big splash in my tech pool, and I can’t wait to push it with more challenging tasks.

Performance Benchmarks and Gaming

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When it comes to performance benchmarks, the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB is simply a beast. I’ve been running this drive through its paces with a variety of benchmarking tools, and the results are nothing short of impressive. From synthetic tests like ATTO and CrystalDiskMark to real-world file transfers using DiskBench, this SSD has lived up to its hype.

Being a gamer first and a tech enthusiast second, I was particularly interested in the gaming performance of this SSD. Games load in a flash, and the smoothness in gameplay is noticeable, especially in titles where fast data transfer is crucial. Using tools like 3DMark’s Storage Benchmark, I could see the 990 Pro 4TB toppling other drives with ease. The fact that it also keeps its cool under heavy loads, thanks to Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard technology, ensures there’s no performance throttling when you’re knee-deep in an intense gaming session.

For those who are into numbers, let’s talk about the PCIe 4.0 interface and sequential read and write speeds that tap out at a whopping 7,450 MBps and 6,900 MBps, respectively. Random read and write IOPS? It hits 1.6 million and 1.55 million. These figures aren’t just numbers - they translate to a silky-smooth user experience in not just gaming but content creation tasks. In line with that, if you’re interested in a deep dive into performance and hardware, you might appreciate my experience gaming with G.Skill Ripjaws S5 DDR5-6000 C32 2x16GB memory.

Interestingly enough, I’ve seen discussion threads on Reddit where users share their own benchmarks and the consensus is clear: the 990 Pro is at the top of the game. It’s the same story over on Hacker News, with users seemingly in agreement that the 990 Pro’s performance is unparalleled in its category.

One of my favorite features has got to be the single-sided design of this SSD, which as a techie, intrigues me considering it houses 4TB of storage. It makes for a great fit in my PS5 and gaming laptop, managing both to keep a low profile and deliver top-tier performance. Plus, seeing it run cool and stable when installed in an external case like the Orico is a testament to its efficiency and design prowess.

As for the sustained write performance and cache recovery, the benchmarks are once again impressive. Samsung’s TurboWrite technology enables a large cache pool resulting in sustained high-speed performance even during long data transfer sessions. This comes in real handy when moving large game files or working with massive video projects.

Not to gloss over the power consumption – thanks to the power efficiency of this SSD, I can game for longer sessions on my laptop without it turning into a frying pan. The drive’s efficiency doesn’t sacrifice performance; it’s a balancing act that Samsung appears to have mastered.

In short, from my extensive use, what I’ve gathered is that the 990 Pro 4TB really is at the cutting edge of what consumer SSD technology can offer right now. Gamers and professionals alike would find it hard to hit a performance ceiling with this drive, and that’s saying something in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Installation and Compatibility Check

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When it comes to installing the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB, I’ve found it to be a breeze in most scenarios. I’ve slotted this bad boy into several builds, ranging from high-end gaming setups to workstations, and the universal M.2 form factor just slips right in. However, there’s a bit of a caveat – make sure your motherboard’s BIOS is up to date. Some users have reported recognition issues with earlier manufactured drives, but a simple firmware update usually clears that right up. I found an informative discussion on this over on Reddit, where users often share their experiences and fixes for similar issues.

Now, in terms of compatibility, the great thing about NVMe SSDs like the 990 Pro is that they’re widely supported across modern motherboards. My ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR X670E HERO detected the drive immediately post-BIOS update. It’s a testament to Samsung’s firmware supporting a healthy range of chipsets and setups. There’s also the fact that Samsung’s Magician software is quite robust for keeping the drive’s firmware fresh and running diagnostics, which I highly value — it’s like having your own little SSD butler. I also stumbled upon a GitHub repository where community members discuss Samsung SSD utilities, which can be immensely helpful.

For the PS5 owners, I can confirm that the SSD slides inside the console’s expansion slot with no hiccups, and whoa, the fan barely stirs. That’s real-time testament to its low power thermal efficiency, something Samsung has evidently honed in on with this drive. The fact that the drive stayed cool even in a high-heat scenario inside the PS5 is a solid win and ensures sustained performance.

One thing I have to point out is that upon installing, you might notice that not all of the 4TB is available due to how storage is calculated – but that’s standard practice across storage devices, and you’ll actually find that it reads slightly more at 4.01TB, which is a neat little positive anomaly.

On a technical note, the drive uses PCIe 4.0 protocol which is insanely quick already, and unless you’re on the bleeding edge with a PCIe 5.0 capable system, you won’t notice much of a difference, as noted by several users on Hacker News. Your motherboard’s architecture likely won’t bottleneck this drive either, so rest easy knowing you’re getting top-tier performance without needing to shell out for the latest and greatest platform.

Overall, my trials across multiple setups reaffirmed that once you ensure compatibility and set up right, the 990 Pro is a work of technical art. It’s fair to say that the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB SSD legitimately feels future-proof – a comforting thought when dropping a premium on this gigabyte powerhouse. Whether it’s the whisper-quiet performance in a console setting or the rapid boot and load times on PC, this SSD hasn’t just met my expectations – it’s surpassed them. The balance between speed, capacity, and efficiency here is impressively executed, ushering you into the realm of storage nirvana.

Value for Money and Final Thoughts

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When it comes to assessing the value for money of the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB, I’m pretty impressed. A hefty price tag is always a tough pill to swallow, but for those who need the best performance with a substantial capacity, this SSD feels like a solid investment. The performance metrics speak for themselves — it’s a powerhouse that doesn’t just promise top speeds but also delivers them consistently across various scenarios and workloads. Plus, the endurance and warranty are reassuring for a heavy user like myself.

Now, I know some might argue that you can get away with cheaper PCIe 3.0 or 4.0 options and still have a pretty swift experience. And they’re not wrong. However, the prowess of the 990 Pro at 4TB isn’t merely about raw speed — it’s about the peace of mind with a product that balances performance, capacity, and durability in a sophisticated way.

Performance-wise, something I value highly is the single-sided design which is honestly a game-changer for installation in slim laptops or the PS5. I’ve seen others struggle with bulkier drives, and this design consideration from Samsung is a significant plus in my book. Moreover, the option of a pre-installed heatsink (only adding $10 more to the price tag if you opt for it) is a thoughtful addition I appreciate for extra thermal management in intensive use cases.

Power efficiency is another facet that Samsung has increasingly improved upon. While there are more power-efficient drives out there, the 990 Pro doesn’t lag far behind, striking a decent balance between consumption and performance that I’m content with. After all, a drive that can do more, faster, allows my system to return to lower power states quicker — and that’s efficiency in practice.

It’s also worth noting the recent firmware updates that have resolved earlier reliability concerns. Samsung’s quick action in addressing these issues instills confidence in their support system. And for someone who’s looking into longevity and reliability, that’s a big deal.

I must admit, I was skeptical at first about whether the 990 Pro could justify its cost. But after diving into its capabilities, it’s clear that this SSD is not just about having a lot of gigabytes; it’s about having those gigabytes work at peak efficiency. For those in content creation, data analysis, or heavy gaming, the speed and reliability can dramatically impact everyday workflows.

I’d also say the Samsung Magician software is a boon, making drive management and updates more accessible than ever. For technophiles like me, the spread of technical deep-dives and firmware updates easily available feels like having VIP support.

In conclusion, the Samsung 990 Pro 4TB stands out as the premium choice for high-end users who need a blend of performance, capacity, and reliability. It’s a prime example where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, offering enough of an edge in every aspect to make its price tag seem more of an investment than an expense. When the goal is to push the boundaries of what today’s tech can do, it’s drives like the 990 Pro that set the bar. For enthusiasts and professionals alike looking to get their hands dirty with some serious data work — this SSD might just be your new best friend.