SAM-E is a later development compared to the SAMs in other Initiative arks. As his name indicates, he has been equipped with a number of experimental add-ons not part of the standard implementation, making him a more versatile and safer SAM than all others except Alec's.
SAM-E can interpret minute involuntary muscle adjustments with 70% accuracy and catalogs everything Cora perceives through her senses in case it needs to be brought to her awareness later. He can also make adjustments to improve Cora's senses and physical performance, and assist with tasks his host is previously unexperienced in, such as piloting shuttlecraft.
He is not, however, designed for cybersecurity. He typically delivers information in a longwinded and technically detailed manner, although Cora often demands shorter explanations due to more pressing affairs at hand. As with all SAM implementations, he is connected via quantum entanglement communicator to a server node aboard an ark; in his case he shares a space with Ryder's SAM aboard the Hyperion.
Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation Edit
Initially posing as a "highly adaptive" VI, SAM-E feeds Cora the necessary information she needs to infiltrate the Home Away space station. SAM-E exhibits a number of quirks as Cora's mission progresses, such as a wry tone of delivery, unsolicited comments and a slight stutter, leading her to suspect his true nature. SAM-E tells Cora who he is shortly after retrieving the kernel from Home Away, although the revelation is tabled for a moment while the human is forced to escape from treacherous former teammates.
While Cora floats in space shortly afterward, SAM-E suggests overloading his server node to force a diagnostic check on his systems that would lead to their rescue. Cora rhetorically promises to kiss him on the mouth for his efforts, and he responds he would have been honored. SAM-E is forced to parry direct confirmation that he is an AI due to a "behavioral block" placed by Ryder, although the long wait for rescue makes Cora reassess his behavior and draw conclusions for herself.
After Cora's retrieval SAM-E reports to Ryder everything that happened, separately confirming her own submitted account. Because Cora and Ryder are only talking via unsecure holoprojection Ryder publicly denies what SAM-E really is. Cora still gives feedback on SAM-E's stuttering, so Ryder promises to send a patch as soon as he's able.
SAM-E continues to assist and enhance Cora when necessary during subsequent sojourns to Illium and Quiet Eddy. When Cora's hearing is boosted she can clearly hear things from across the street or two floors above, but sounds in her immediate area such as her own voice become too loud and distracting for comfort. SAM-E's stuttering is noticeably eliminated by the time they depart from Illium, and he claims it was a symptom of his inability to fully adapt to Cora's personality.
On Quiet Eddy SAM-E prevents the malevolent AI Medea from taking over Cora's shuttle but it takes him considerable effort to do so. Later, SAM-E pushes Cora's body into metabolic "overclock" that will hopefully give her the strength to fight off the area's AI-perverted monsters. Cora's strength and biotic power are greatly enhanced, but the excessive strain on her body will kill her if she remains in that state for too long. Fortunately for Cora and SAM-E they manage to get off the planetoid along with 20 other survivors before that could happen, and SAM-E puts Cora's body into an induced coma to preserve her.
On a hospital at Tamayo Point, SAM-E networks with its systems on Ryder's orders to help monitor Cora's vitals and recovery. He is also prohibited by Ryder from ever overclocking Cora's body again without Ryder's permission. When Cora become curious about SAM-E's nature, he tells her what he thinks about her, his host, and Ryder, his creator, and what he is in relation to both. SAM-E claims he has no purpose without organics and was not made to exist alone, thus he requires other people to understand the world around him. Cora, despite philosophically debating whether he's a person despite lacking a body, regardless welcomes SAM-E to her "family".
Over the next few months, SAM-E and Cora's bond grow closer while the latter focuses on her full recovery. In Theia Station, SAM-E explains to SAM the various euphemisms Cora used in her aftermission report: "consultation" with an angry information broker and "collateral damage" resulting in Cora having to pay for repairs. However, Ryder discovers that the opposite is actually happening. SAM-E's stuttering had been a warning sign for an impending systemic breakdown, and sooner or later Ryder would have to integrate him back to SAM before SAM-E inadvertently harms his host.
While Ryder tours Cora aboard the Hyperion, a bomb goes off on their shuttle, which was parked directly above the SAM node. SAM-E is able to say his goodbyes to Cora before he goes offline, Ryder then integrates SAM-E back to SAM, and Ryder barely manages to transfer SAM to his heavily-armored bluebox, almost dying in the process were it not for Cora's biotic intervention.
SAM-E had been designed to test whether other people can inherit an artificial intelligence. If things worked as intended SAM should have integrated into SAM-E if Ryder dies, not the other way around, and Cora would have become Ryder's successor as Pathfinder. Ryder deems the experiment a failure, meaning his SAM can only transfer to either his son or his daughter. SAM-E's personality matrix is gone, although his memories live on in SAM. Going back to the damaged SAM node in the aftermath of the incident, when Cora confirms SAM-E's memories from SAM, she kisses a paneling on an intact processor wall in remembrance of the promise she made SAM-E months earlier.