Samsung released a new version of Magician and a new 840 EVO firmware. Are the troubles finally over?
The tale of the Samsung 840 EVO is a long and winding one, with many hitches along the way. Launched at the Samsung 2013 Global SSD Sumit, the 840 EVO was a unique entry into the SSD market. Using 19nm planar TLC flash, the EVO would have had only mediocre write performance if not for the addition of a TurboWrite cache, which added 3-12GB (depending on drive capacity) of SLC write-back cache. This gave the EVO great all around performance in most consumer usage scenarios. It tested very well, was priced aggressively, and remained our top recommended consumer SSD for quite some time. Other editors here at PCPer purchased them for their own systems. I even put one in the very laptop on which I'm writing this article.
An 840 EVO read speed test, showing areas where old data had slowed.
About a year after release, some 840 EVO users started noticing something weird with their systems. The short version is that data that sat unmodified for a period of months was no longer able to be read at full speed. Within a month of our reporting on this issue, Samsung issued a Performance Restoration Tool, which was a combination of a firmware and a software tool that initiated a 'refresh', where all stale data was rewritten, restoring read performance back to optimal speeds. When the tool came out, many were skeptical that the drives would not just slow down again in the future. We kept an eye on things, and after a few more months of waiting, we noted that our test samples were in fact slowing down again. We did note it was taking longer for the slow down to manifest this time around, and the EVOs didn't seem to be slowing down to the same degree, but the fact remained that the first attempt at a fix was not a complete solution. Samsung kept up their end of the bargain, promising another fix, but their initial statement was a bit disappointing, as it suggested they would only be able to correct this issue with a new version of their Samsung Magician software that periodically refreshed the old data. This came across as a band-aid solution, but it was better than nothing.
Now we have the fix and I can report on what it is actually doing and accomplishing. I've been working with the new firmware and a beta version of Magician 4.6 (to be released today as I understand). Before getting into the actual results, I'll post the Q+A I had with Samsung as we were testing. This should explain at least what we expect to see:
Q: The new firmware appears to restore read performance without the need for Magician. How was this accomplished?
A: Samsung revised the firmware algorithm to maintain consistency in performance for old data under exceptional circumstances. Therefore, read performance was restored without the need for Magician. This algorithm is based on a periodic refresh feature that can maintain the read performance of this older data. The algorithm does not affect normal user scenarios (i.e. occasional PC performance degradation due to background work of SSD) or the lifespan of an SSD and can actively maintain its performance without the help of Magician. However, this algorithm does not operate when the power is off.
Q: Are there any functions of the new Magician that are required to keep read performance high?
A: The read performance has been improved by the revised firmware algorithm. If performance recovery is slow in instances where the SSD did not have enough run-time for the firmware algorithm to reach normal performance levels, or similarly, had been powered off for an extended amount of time, the performance can be recovered by using the Advanced Performance Optimization feature in Magician 4.6. This is a supplementary feature to maintain normal performance for a few exceptional circumstances.
Q: What is the upgrade process for those who did not previously upgrade using the performance restoration tool (meaning they are still on the original firmware)? Is it possible to skip directly to this new firmware and not use the performance restoration tool?
A: Users can upgrade to the new firmware through Magician 4.6, without using the performance restoration tool.
Q: Will there be a firmware update for the other Samsung TLC-based SSD models that have also demonstrated this read performance issue? If so, which models and how soon will that firmware be made available?
A: This issue had been reported for the 840 EVO SSD only.
**Edit** The new firmware will be available 'later this month'.
…so we have a firmware that can do its own periodic refreshing of data, along with an 'Advanced Performance Optimization' that can be triggered from within Samsung SSD Magician. Those that had not updated their 840 EVO before this update can skip directly to the new firmware without the need to run the old 'Performance Restoration Tool'. We were a bit disappointed to see Samsung still ignoring their other TLC SSDs, on which many have reported seeing the same type of slow down (us included), but we've pushed that one about as hard as we could. For now, lets focus on the 840 EVO and see if this fix is really what it claims to be.
So glad I made sure I stuck
So glad I made sure I stuck with MLC, I advised people on the 840 launch to buy 830s and avoid TLC.
I own 2 830s and an 850 pro.
The 850 EVO though… Have a
The 850 EVO though… Have a 1TB one in my laptop. Nice “bit of kit,” that (4+½ seconds full boot times in 8.1, etc). If I remember correctly, it even outperforms the PRO in some scenarios due to the SLC cache.
I do have a 1TB 840 EVO in my main home PC and a 500GB one in my wife’s laptop. At least now it looks like they’re going to continue to be solid performers. Thank goodness I’ve never had reliability issues with them, or I would have jumped ship a while ago.
Forgot to run the
Forgot to run the “SSDReadSpeedTester” before I updated to Magician 4.6 and new firmware, but ran it before and after running Advanced Performance Optimization. 250GB drive (used space 79.9GB of 232GB).
The samsung firmware for my
The samsung firmware for my EVO 840 SSD EXT0DB6Q did NOT fix my issues, its even slower then before.
installed tool and firmware
cleanup the drive so only windows 8.1 is there
Used the advanced optimisation option in the magician 4.6 tool.
Afther advanced optimisation:
Random Read in iops is 37000
Random Write in iops is 16000
in the beginning its was:
Random Read in iops is 93400
Random Write in iops is 85940
Hmmmm, just started using 840
Hmmmm, just started using 840 evo external hdd. Is there a way to apply the fix to external usb 3.0 enclosure? Don’t have a computer to swap out internal drives.
May 4th and Samsung Magician
May 4th and Samsung Magician still claims the installed version (4.5) is the latest version.
I just tried using the
I just tried using the bootable ISO update (EXT0DB6Q) on my mSATA 840EVO, and it said “no supported SSD’s detected for firmware update”.The Magician software, as has already been stated, says that EXT42B6Q is the latest firmware. Does this mean that the mSATA drives are not affected by this slowdown anymore?
The same for me. Linux
The same for me. Linux environment.
Added to that, had difficulties to prepare the bootable ISO (in an USB device), but finally could preparing an isolinux.
I have a mSATA 840 EVO too,
I have a mSATA 840 EVO too, and I can confirm that these drives have the same problem as 2.5″ EVOs . Samsung has not released any new FW for this drive so far. I am using diskfresh to periodically rewrite sectors in my drive.
I just updated my 750GB 840
I just updated my 750GB 840 EVO with firmware EXT0DB6Q on my Macbook pro. I’m not sure what happened with this firmware but my Write speed is at 55 MB/s and Read speed is 511 MB/s. How do I optimize my write speed? I’m using about 320 GB.
I was getting min 4.4 MB/s,
I was getting min 4.4 MB/s, max 306 MB/s, average of 77.9 MB/s.
I updated the firmware with Magician 4.6 as instructed by Samsung. I now can’t run HD Tune Pro. I get read error. I am also now losing files intermittently. So disappointed in Samsung.
New Samsung Magician software
New Samsung Magician software :
“Magician version 4.7 features a number of improvements over version 4.6:
– New model support: 850 PRO 2TB, 850 EVO 2TB
– Advanced Performance Optimization support for 840 EVO mSATA
– New firmware is required to use Advanced Performance Optimization
– Minor bug fixes”
I don’t see the “new firmware” on their site for the mSATA EVO, but the new 4.7 Magician may find it for the mSATA users.
I’ve just read and re read
I’ve just read and re read the info on the pages and all the comments and it was informative and interesting so thanks
I am new to SSD’s and have a EVO840
in windows 7 it still gives the option to defrag, in windows 10 (2x boot setup) it will not let you defrag
so the new firmware refreshing the data on the SSD
could we just do the same thing by doing a defrag of the SSD ?
or even doing a true image backup and restore writing the files back to the SSD from a HDD backup?
Also what about the over
Also what about the over provisioning space? is this refreshed or is it best to turn of OP while the refresh goes on
also OP on or off does it work (by saving about 20% and keeping the SSD fast)
During this so called refresh
During this so called refresh that the firmware does transparently(which happens at least 1 times per day, lasting hours) and cannot be stopped by anything other than a Windows shutdown (ie. power off, because reboot won’t do it): got 2 meg per second random write speed (eg. CDM’s 4KiB Q1T1)
Crystal Disk Mark: https://cdn.minds.com/fs/v1/thumbnail/870241363528581120/xlarge
Magician (4300iops, takes 5min36sec to run the test): https://cdn.minds.com/fs/v1/thumbnail/870241424523509760/xlarge
Normal, no refresh happening: 26 meg per second –
Magician (27241iops, takes 1min6sec to run the test – aka normal speeds): https://cdn.minds.com/fs/v1/thumbnail/870243759886811136/xlarge
There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell the SSD to not run the refresh. I don’t understand why Samsung thought this was a good idea: running the refresh at least once a day (assuming I shutdown my PC every day, ofc) seems like such a terrible idea, not only for writes performance while refresh is going on, but more importantly for the SSD lifetime!! I expect this SSD will last no more than 3 years due to this EXT0DB6Q firmware doing such refreshes, and there’s no way to downgrade to a previous firmware version!
Needless to say I’m avoiding all Samsung stuffs forever from now on!
let me correct that for
let me correct that for you:
Q: The new firmware appears to restore read performance without the need for Magician. How was this accomplished?
A: Samsung revised the firmware algorithm to maintain consistency in performance for old data under exceptional circumstances. Therefore, read performance was restored without the need for Magician. This algorithm is based on a periodic refresh feature that can maintain the read performance of this older data. The algorithm does affect normal user scenarios (i.e. occasional PC performance degradation due to background work of SSD) and the lifespan of the SSD, but can otherwise maintain its performance without the help of Magician. However, this algorithm does not operate when the power is off.
In the comment above “July
In the comment above “July 29, 2018 | 06:49 AM – Posted by xftroxgpx (not verified)” I’m sorry to say that I WAS WRONG about the 2MB/sec low speed being caused by Samsung SSD. It was instead a quirk in my Lenovo Ideapad Z575 laptop whereby after a Windows 7 Restart, while the SSD is connected on the optical disk drive bay (via a caddy), it would start exhibiting that 2MB/sec low random write speed! I don’t know why still! But I’m sure now that it’s because of the laptop/BIOS, and NOT because of Samsung SSD or its new firmware.
When I place a Kingston SSD on the ESATA port, keep the Samsung SSD on the ODD bay, then it’s ONLY the Kingston SSD that experienced the 2MB/sec low random write speed after the first Linux reboot. Samsung SSD’s write speed remains as high as usual (like 36MB/sec) regardless of how many restarts happen.
This is how I know it’s not Samsung SSD’s fault, it’s Lenovo Ideapad Z575’s fault or something.
Therefore there’s no way to know when the refreshing happens and I’ve not seen any performance slowdown, even though the lifespan of the cells may still decrease with each refresh(I don’t know that, but I’m assuming that there’s no way to refresh the cells without decreasing their lifetime – I may be wrong).
So ignore my previous comment too, this one: “July 29, 2018 | 07:52 AM – Posted by xftroxgpx (not verified)”