Samsung's 970 Series NVMe SSDs began shipping this week after a brief digestion period between the reviews coming online. The new EVO and Pro lines shipping would normally generate news on its own, but Samsung added some spice to the launch with aggressive price cuts. The new prices bring the two series closer to mainstream pricing where we find other products like the fabulous Adata SX8200 and HP EX920.
We spotted the new 970 line on Newegg after receiving a note from Samsung's outside PR agency. The company didn't give us a reason for the price cuts, but it's not difficult to see why after reading the reviews.
|Product||Old MSRP||New MSRP|
|970 Pro 512GB||$330||$250|
|970 Pro 1TB||$630||$500|
|970 EVO 250GB||$120||$110|
|970 EVO 500GB||$230||$200|
|970 EVO 1TB||$450||$400|
|970 EVO 2TB||$850||$800|
We mentioned Samsung's pricing in our 970 EVO review and found the original MSRPs out of balance with the rest of the market.
Toshiba and Micron are pumping out competitive 64-layer NAND to third-party SSD companies, so Samsung has lost some of its advantage. The Toshiba and Micron flash, when paired with the right controllers and firmware, deliver EVO-class performance. As a result, the EVO series isn't the clear-cut performance leader, and some competing products cost quite a bit less. Samsung certainly didn't face this challenge with its dominant 950 and 960 NVMe SSDs.
The largest cuts impact the two 970 Pro NVMe SSDs with 2-bit per cell (MLC) flash. This caught us by surprise, because Samsung has the only new MLC NVMe in 2018. This may be the writing on the wall for the faster NAND technology that is expensive to manufacture. If the company can't make high margins on MLC flash now reserved exclusively for professional users running heavy workloads, we may see it disappear completely.
Samsung shaved $130 off the price of the 970 Pro 1TB for a new MSRP of $500. The 970 Pro 512GB is now a bargain at just $250, down from $330. This is a product for users willing to spend more today for a high-performance SSD that will outlast every other component in their PC.
The 970 EVO product line saw less aggressive cuts that range between $10 and $50. The $50 cuts go to the 1TB and 2TB models, where Samsung has more room to maneuver. The 970 EVO 500GB drops from $230 to $200, putting in closer to emerging mainstream products with the new Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2262 controller paired with Micron 64-layer TLC.