Samsung 980 MZ-V8V500B/AM, Interface: PCIe Gen.3 X4/ 980 NVMe 1.4, Capacity: 500 GB, Country of Origin: South Korea. Form Factor: M.2 2280, Controller: Samsung 4 Channel, Dram: 64MB HMB, NV Memory: TLC V-NAND, Sequential Read: Up to 3,100 MB/s, Sequential Write: Up to 2,600 MB/s, Random Read: Up to 400,000 IOPS MB/s, Random Write: 470,000 IOPS, Endurance: 300 TBW, Warranty: 5 Years. Samsung’s newest NVMe SSD, the 980, is a DRAMless SSD. Yes, you read that right, DRAMless. With very few exceptions, DRAMless SSDs have tended to suck. This bit of history apparently has not deterred Samsung from going after the highly lucrative extreme value segment. Well, we suppose that if anyone can do it and do it right, Samsung has to be at the top of the list. Delivering a DRAMless SSD with competitive performance is no easy task to begin with, and today it’s harder than ever before. Why? Because QLC flash has become a viable low-cost, high-performance path to the extreme value segment of the SSD market. The 980 is DRAMless which saves on production costs, but it is also TLC-based, which is inherently more expensive per bit than QLC, so the 980 is walking a fine line here from a cost savings perspective. Now, we wouldn’t even be talking about a DRAMless Samsung SSD without what is called HMB or Host Memory Buffer. HMB is baked into the current NVMe protocol and enabled by current Win10 NVMe drivers. HMB dedicates a tiny amount (64MB) of system (Host) memory (DRAM) as a fast-mapping table for the SSD. HMB can enable competitive performance without expensive on-device DRAM. How effectively all depends on the core competency of the SSD in question. As with every Samsung NVMe SSD to date, the 980 Series is a preferred single-sided design. Single-sided is always preferred as it can fit places where double-sided designs cannot, and single-sided SSDs tend to run cooler.The drive’s controller is in-house Samsung silicon, as is its single 512 Gbit-based 1TB flash package. Two components on a single-sided PCB are very efficient from a design/cost perspective. The 980 Series features full hardware-level encryption, as evidenced by the PSID code printed on its label. Enabling or disabling encryption is done with Samsung’s Magician SSD toolbox. Samsung didn’t give us any details about the controller employed on the 980, other than it being Gen3, but we feel safe in assuming it is a 4-channel controller. 4-channel controllers are power efficient and tend to run cool; both are stated attributes of the 980 Series.