Skip to main content

Samsung 990 Pro Is the Center of a PCIe Mystery

Samsung 980 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

According to a Tweet by @KOMACHI_ENSAKA, rumors surrounding a PCIe 5.0 enabled Samsung 990 Pro have been shot down. The evidence comes from a PCI-SIG database update, showing the spec sheet for Samsung's "990 PRO M.2" SSD featuring the older and slower PCIe 4.0 interface.

But the story of the 990 Pro started very differently from where we are now. Originally, the 990 Pro was "confirmed" to have the new PCIe 5.0 spec by the very same database a few days earlier by the same Twitter user, a well known leaker. However, the database listing for the 990 Pro with Gen 5 support has since been deleted for unknown reasons, and the tweet appears to be gone.

But, the story gets even more strange. As it turns out the PCIe 4.0 listing in the PCI-SIG database was added before the 5.0 listing, meaning both the PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 listings co-existed until the 5.0 counterpart got wiped out.

PCI SIG 990 Pro PCIe 4.0 Confirmation

(Image credit: PCI SIG)

So here's all that we know right now on the new 990 Pro: We know that a Samsung 990 Pro is definitely coming at some point in time, with the PCI-SIG proving the drive is real, as well as a Tweet from @Harukaze5719 showcasing a new "V9" drive on the Korean National Radio Research Agency website.

But, we don't know the drive's specifications, we all assumed the 990 Pro would be PCIe 5.0 and one of the PCI-SIG listings seemed to confirm that. But now with that listing cleared off, and a PCIe 4.0 listing remaining in place for the same drive, it seems like the 990 Pro could be either a PCIe 5.0 drive or 4.0 drive at this point in time.

Samsung could be weighing the differences between a 4.0 drive and a 5.0 drive at this time as well. Right now, Samsung does not have a consumer-supported M.2 PCIe 5.0 SSD controller ready for 2022 that we know of. Since all of its current PCIe 5.0 drives are targeted towards the enterprise sector.

But, Samsung could outsource to Silicon Motion for a viable PCIe 5.0 M.2 solution for its 990 Pro. Silicon Motion is the only SSD controller manufacturer that we're aware of that has a consumer-ready PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 SSD controller for 2022. With the intended goal to bring PCIe 5.0 functionality to the consumer SSD market earlier than expected, in the form of enthusiast-grade SSDs. (Meaning these SSDs will be super expensive and not cost effective)

However, this is all speculation at this point. Samsung could also just wait another year before releasing the 990 Pro as well, we just don't know at this time. But, for now the, evidence remains inconclusive as to whether or not the 990 Pro will run on the new PCIe 5.0 interface.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • saunupe1911
    All I know is that I will only buy Samsung drives from now on...primarily the Pro series.

    My Sabrent 4.0 just flat out died last month...and I actually bought 2 of them a few years back for my 5900X + Aorus Master build. Meanwhile I've got four 850s in other builds that have been going strong for years!!!!

    Then I just recently bought a 2TB 980 pro (when they went on sale) for my Razer 14 and the thing is a super efficient, low heat powerhouse due to enabling power save mode via Samsung Magician.
    Reply
  • thedillyo
    All I know is I would love to have a PCIe 5.0 Samsung 1080Ti M.2 NVMe SSD in my next rig!
    Reply
  • SkyNetRising
    thedillyo said:
    All I know is I would love to have a PCIe 5.0 Samsung 1080Ti M.2 NVMe SSD in my next rig!
    1080Ti is Nvidia trademark. Samsung can't use it for their products.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    SkyNetRising said:
    1080Ti is Nvidia trademark. Samsung can't use it for their products.

    Then they'll have to call it a 1080 Super - which I don't think Nvidia actually bothered to trademark.
    Reply
  • cyrusfox
    saunupe1911 said:
    All I know is that I will only buy Samsung drives from now on...primarily the Pro series.

    My Sabrent 4.0 just flat out died last month...and I actually bought 2 of them a few years back
    I have no experience with Sabrent, when I needed a cheap drive I picked Intel 660p/670p. I currently only buy WD, Hynix, or Intel(also now Hynix...). The problem with Sabrent is they are a 3rd party ssd supplier ( like Kingston and every other 3rd party brand). They buy NAND in bulk and add an off the shelf controller resulting in middle of road performance and poor reliability/warranty support compared to the vertical integrated 1st party. First party has the benefit of in house NAND and custom controllers which usually are miles ahead. I would suggest broadening your horizon and checking out the latest Micron, Hynix, Kioxia have before you grab your next Samsung SSD.
    Reply
  • thedillyo
    SkyNetRising said:
    1080Ti is Nvidia trademark. Samsung can't use it for their products.
    We all know that. Just being funny.

    In all seriousness though, the next gen model should be 1080 (being one up from the 980). Not sure how 990 got into the mix.
    Reply
  • AgentBirdnest
    Admin said:
    But, Samsung could outsource to Silicon Motion for a viable PCIe 5.0 M.2 solution for its 990 Pro.
    Genuine curiosity: when (if ever) was the last time Samsung used a controller that wasn't their own?

    edit: Just a thought - maybe the 990 Pro will be an MLC drive.
    Reply
  • gg83
    AgentBirdnest said:
    Genuine curiosity: when (if ever) was the last time Samsung used a controller that wasn't their own?

    edit: Just a thought - maybe the 990 Pro will be an MLC drive.
    It would be so fast! The data would go back in time
    Reply
  • kal326
    thedillyo said:
    Not sure how 990 got into the mix.
    Yeah, crazy random number schemes they have there, right? Would be great if they just did something consistent like 950 Pro, 960 Pro, 970 Pro, 980 Pro…
    Reply
  • WrongRookie
    Samsung should do wonders for this SSD. Can't expect it to be mlc like pro 970 but it should definitely be worth getting.

    Honestly i should have bought 970 evo instead of Kingston A2000...oh well. Atleast I'm loving my 870 evo so far
    Reply