Reviews |Samsung 990 Pro SSD 4TB Review

Samsung 990 Pro SSD 4TB Review

The Samsung 990 Pro SSD Delivers Unbeatable Speed and Capacity for Creative Professionals

Samsung 990 Pro SSD top

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Our Verdict

At 4TB, that’s a considerable amount of storage, and at the price, it’s a sensible investment no matter how you look at it. The Samsung 990 Pro is an M.2 SSD drive, essentially the bare bones. During this test, I popped it inside the Intel Ghost Canyon and then an ASUS Tuff enclosure to assess its performance as both a desktop and portable storage medium.

In both scenarios, this drive simply excels in terms of speed. Okay, in my tests, I couldn’t quite get it to reach the blistering speeds stated on the packaging, but that was more due to my technology than the drive itself.

In the Ghost Canyon, running on the PC, the 4TB served as a huge secondary storage drive and proved ideal for video editing, as well as other more intensive tasks. Similarly, when placed inside a portable enclosure and used with the MacBook Pro M1, the speeds were equally impressive.

4TB is a nice capacity to have, and this drive makes that storage financially accessible. If you want to own one of the fastest and most affordable portable drives out there, couple it with the ASUS Tuff for outstanding all-round performance.


  • Ultra-Fast Speeds
  • Massive Capacity
  • Future-Proof Investment


  • Specialised Hardware Required

What is the 3LT Samsung 990 Pro?

Not long ago, 1TB would have sufficed for all your digital and most video needs. However, with cameras now pushing the 60MP mark and producing files that can quickly fill a hard drive, we need something more. The Samsung 990 Pro is part of a new wave of SSD drives that far outstrip traditional storage media and make standard 2.5″ SSDs look decidedly slow.

500MB/s for a standard SSD is fast, but with M.2, you’ll see speeds in excess of 7,000MB/s. The Samsung 990 Pro is one such card, with transfer speeds of up to 7,450MB/s, which is more than enough for almost any video editing task you could think of. In fact, I don’t know of any video editing task that would currently need anything more.

A couple of points to note: the first is that this is a hardware component, so to make use of it, you’ll need a compatible enclosure or computer. The next point is that, as this is the latest PCIe 4.0 drive, you’ll also need a PCIe 4.0-compliant hardware device to make the most of all that speed. It is backward-compatible, however. Even if you can’t maximise the speed, at a little under £300 for 4TB of ultra-fast storage, it’s still an incredible deal.

Samsung 990 Pro SSD front


  • Memory Capacity Options: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
  • Form Factor: M.2 (2280)
  • Interface: PCIe Gen 4.0 x4, NVMe 2.0
  • Sequential Read: Up to 7,450 MB/s
  • Sequential Write: Up to 6,900 MB/s
  • Warranty: 5-year Limited Warranty or 2400 TBW Limited Warranty
  • Software: Samsung Magician for SSD management
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 80 x 22 x 2.3 mm
  • Weight: Max 9.0g

Build and Handling

Let’s keep this short, as this is, after all, an M.2 NVMe SSD—a circuit board with some connectors at one end and chips mounted on it. Alongside this slimline version, Samsung also produces one with a heat sink. Essentially, if you’re using it in your desktop computer, opt for the version with the heat sink, as it will help keep the device cool, especially during video editing. If you’re using it in a portable hard drive, ensure the enclosure has decent heat dissipation; otherwise, you’ll fry the drive—which is essentially what I’ve been trying to test.

As for the build, it’s a circuit board with a sticker on it, much like any other in its class.

Handling is straightforward; it slots and screws into place without any issues. The only task left is to install it into your desktop or portable enclosure and format it to the correct file system for your computer.


If you’re a photographer or videographer in need of high-speed storage, Samsung’s latest SSD offers 4,000GB of capacity. It’s worth noting that the actual usable storage may vary due to system requirements.

The SSD’s dimensions are 80 x 22 x 2.3 mm, and it weighs 9 grams. The form factor is M.2 (2280), and it operates on a PCIe Gen 4.0 x4 interface with NVMe 2.0 support. This allows for sequential read speeds of up to 7,450 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 6,900 MB/s, suitable for transferring large multimedia files such as high-resolution photos and 4K videos.

Internally, the device features Samsung V-NAND TLC storage memory and an in-house controller. These are supplemented by a 4GB Low Power DDR4 SDRAM cache, designed for smoother and more reliable performance during tasks such as photo editing or video compilation.

Samsung 990 Pro SSD back

In terms of maintenance and security features, both TRIM and S.M.A.R.T are supported, and the device has an Auto Garbage Collection Algorithm to ensure optimal long-term performance. For users concerned about data security, the drive includes AES 256-bit encryption. The average power consumption of the SSD is 6.5W, which can peak at 8.6W in burst mode.

Reliability is accounted for with a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of 1.5 million hours. The SSD operates within a temperature range of 0 to 70°C, offering flexibility for different working environments. Although it lacks an installation kit, it comes with Magician Software for SSD management and is backed by a 5-year or 2,400 TBW limited warranty.

For photographers and videographers, this SSD offers a combination of speed, reliability, and capacity, making it a suitable choice for storing and transferring large multimedia files.


I tested the SSD in both the Intel Nuc i9 Ghost Canyon and the ASUS Tuff. In the NUC, the speeds were impressive at around 3,000MB/s, which far outstripped the main SSD in the machine. The PCIe 3.0 lanes should enable even faster speeds, and I’ll update this in the near future. Suffice to say, I’m not a big PC user, although I am rather fond of the small NUC machine. The main test came as a large-capacity storage drive for the MacBook Pro.

Recently, I’ve been working away for the majority of the time, which means that storage is more important than ever. In the past, I have been a massive advocate of the LaCie Tiff drives; they just seem to do the job, and the 5TB version, which is my general choice, seems to be reliable for the most part.

However, when it came to testing the 990 Pro, I first needed to find a case. While Samsung does make the excellent T9 SSD, they don’t offer off-the-shelf M.2 NVMe enclosures. For that, I had to look around for something that was tough and would dissipate heat effectively when used for video editing. I finally settled on the ASUS Tuff enclosure. I’ve been using one of their drives for personal work for a while and found that an empty enclosure could be purchased for around £40.

Samsung 990 Pro SSD in a housing

The only issue was that the capacity was limited to 2TB. I thought I’d go for it anyway, and it seems to work just fine! Again, this is something that I may have to update you about, but at the moment, I’ve been using it for a month with no issues.

In use, the speed of the drive falls away due to the USB Type-C connection, which, while fast, tops out at around 950MB/s. This is still not bad at all and more than enough for 4K video editing.

The one thing I was really concerned about was heat. Yet, in the full-metal enclosure, heat hasn’t seemed to be an issue. Speed stays consistent, and the 2TB upper limit for the enclosure doesn’t seem to be an issue, as the full 4TB is recognised and in use.

Overall, in both systems, the Samsung 990 Pro has proven to be a fast and effective solution.

Final Thoughts

The Samsung 990 Pro SSD truly shines as an exceptional storage solution, especially for professionals in the fields of photography and videography. Boasting 4TB of storage capacity for a reasonable £280, it offers great value for those who need speed and space without breaking the bank. You do have options when it comes to housing this SSD: a compatible desktop machine is a seamless choice for those with the required slots. Alternatively, external enclosures are also a viable route and can be found in the range of £50 to £100, depending on your specific needs.

Samsung 990 Pro SSD connector

Given the robust performance we’ve witnessed in both the Intel NUC and MacBook Pro setups, this SSD is a no-brainer for those looking to upgrade their storage solutions. Its speed, even when capped by the limitations of a USB Type-C connection in an external enclosure, is more than sufficient for demanding 4K video editing tasks. The heat management also impresses, ensuring that the drive maintains consistent speed and reliability.

All things considered, the Samsung 990 Pro SSD presents a compelling package for anyone serious about their digital work. The combination of high speed, large storage capacity, and flexible installation options makes it a stand-out choice in today’s market.

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