Samsung has introduced its first-ever consumer SSD without a DRAM cache, which it's simply called the 980. Naturally, this is a step down from the 980 Pro, and in addition to ditching DRAM, it only supports PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0.
Sacrificing the DRAM cache on the drive is likely a bit controversial since DRAM typically helps data on the drive be located by the host PC much quicker, and some DRAM-less drives can be as slow as a traditional hard drive. That's also part of the reason DRAM-less drives tend to be much cheaper. However, Samsung says it overcame the hurdles imposed by removing the DRAM by using Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology, which links the drive to the DRAM on the host processor instead.
Because of that, in addition to sixth-generation V-NAND and optimizations to the controller and software, Samsung claims the 980 NVMe SSD can deliver six times the performance of a SATA SSD, maxing out at 3,500MB/s read speeds and 3,000MB/s writes for the largest size. For random reads and writes, Samsung claims 500K IOPS and 480K IOPS, respectively for QD32 operations. Samsung has also increased the buffer region on the drive to allow for better sustained performance compared to the 970 Evo.
Samsung also claims a 56% improvement in power efficiency over the 970 Evo, so it could be cheaper over time. As for durability, Samsung claims up to 150TB written for the 250GB model, 300TB for the 500GB model, and 600TB for the 1TB model. The mean time between failures is estimated at 1.5 million hours for all sizes.
The Samsung 980 NVMe SSD is available now starting at $49.99 for 250GB, $69.99 for 500GB, and $129.99 for 1TB.