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Data Storage Bug Software

Samsung Acknowledges and Fixes Bug On 840 EVO SSDs 101

Lucas123 writes: Samsung has issued a firmware fix for a bug on its popular 840 EVO triple-level cell SSD. The bug apparently slows read performance tremendously for any data more than a month old that has not been moved around on the NAND. Samsung said in a statement that the read problems occurred on its 2.5-in 840 EVO SSDs and 840 EVO mSATA drives because of an error in the flash management software algorithm. Some users on technical blog sites, such as Overclock.net, say the problem extends beyond the EVO line. They also questioned whether the firmware upgrade was a true fix or if it just covers up the bug by moving data around the SSD.
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Samsung Acknowledges and Fixes Bug On 840 EVO SSDs

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  • So are they going to fix the Samsung SM841 SSD or are we just screwed because we bought Dell?
  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @03:52PM (#48198405)

    This gets me wondering what brand of SSDs is best these days. I've read a lot of good about Intel brand drives, but wonder what is decent these days.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      I've had plenty of success with Crucial and their M500 and M550.

      • I've had plenty of success with Crucial and their M500 and M550.

        I recently had a new PC built. The shop was offering Kingston V300. A quick search showed that the Sandforce controller runs like crap with incompressible data, and Kingston changed suppliers after media did all their benchmarks, so all new units performed like crap.

        So searching for alternatives Samsung 840 EVO was a top pick. I was very close to pulling the trigger when I saw all these dire warnings about performance deteriorating with "old data". I knew a firmware fix was pending, but I didn't trust the f

        • by karnal ( 22275 )

          I've had an M500 480GB for about a year now, absolutely no issues - although I'm running it on SATA2 in an older Core2Quad board. Best money spent, even when comparing to the Raptor that was previously booting/running the system.

    • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:01PM (#48198509)

      I'd rather go with stable than EXTREME, so I go with Intel. It might not be the fastest around, but we rarely hear about Intel SSD problems.

      Available soon below my post, someone with a story about failed Intel SSDs.

      • So far so good with the Intel ones I got almost 2 years ago. Got 2 120GB drives for OS and application drives and they have been chugging along just fine. I went for the reliability instead of max performance and didn't want to pay more for the Samsung drives which now looks like it was the better move.
      • by Saithe ( 982049 )
        Nope, mine's been running pretty much non-stop for 5 years. Quality. Too bad my upgrade was an 840 EVO....
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:18PM (#48198703) Journal
        They had that one a while back where the drive would mysteriously decide that it had a capacity of 8MB, though that has been quashed for some time.

        The tricky thing (and I'm not actually certain where they stand on this now) is that Intel's initial reputation was founded on the superior performance and reliability of the in-house controller design that they used in their x-18 and x-25, especially dramatic back when there was some utter garbage floating around (JMicron controllers, OCZ living up to their reputation) and the safe options were comparatively slow and extremely expensive.

        Then, for some reason, they just sat and stagnated on that controller design for several generations, and eventually shipped a Marvell controller in order to have something with SATA 6Gb support. Since then, they've released some Sandforce based stuff, and some of their own; but it isn't as clear exactly what "Intel" on the label means anymore.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's unfair to single out OCZ for the JMicron controller problem.
          At the time, most vendors did not provide firmware that properly managed free blocks - once you filled the drive up, the performance nosedived.
          OCZ was the first non-Intel vendor to fix the problem, with prompting by Anandtech.com.
          For a time, OCZ was the ONLY vendor that you could get a reasonably priced SSD from.
          I personally have not had any problem with OCZ SSDs, and I have been buying them since the JMicron days. They developed a reputation

          • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

            It's completely fair to single out OCZ as related to JMicron controller and sandforce controller issues. All of these controllers had a large set of options which could be tuned by manufacturer. OCZ was known for tuning for pure performance, disabling all reliability related functions in controllers whenever it could give them even a little bit of more performance on benchmarks.

            As a result they typically crushed others on benchmarks but drives had absolutely atrocious reliability. Business model was apparen

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In the case of the SandForce controller Intel used for a bit, it was an extra 6 months of engineering custom firmware with SandForce, that was only used on the Intel drives. As far as more recent drives, I think two things are true, SSD technology, especially controller firmware is much more mature and Intel still spends more time on their engineering than a lot of vendors do.

          As far as this recent Sammy bug goes, it does not surprise me, they like to play fast and loose, create a lot of bleeding edge produ

        • Usually they have improved firmware and a bit more redundant memory on them.

          Also, it was intel 320, and it lost almost all capacity if it was writing and lost power.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot.worf@net> on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @05:30PM (#48199407)

        I'd rather go with stable than EXTREME, so I go with Intel. It might not be the fastest around, but we rarely hear about Intel SSD problems.

        For SATA SSDs, there's no more extreme. All modern SSDs saturate a SATA-3 bus. If you wonder why they all benchmark at 540MB/sec reads and writes, that's why - SATA is the bottleneck, not the SSD.

        PCIe SSDs are where the "extreme" ones go, and even the most conservative ones are pretty damn fast - the old MacBook Air's SSD clocks in at 750MB/sec read and write. I think the newer ones can hit 1GB/'sec now easy.

        As for what to buy, well, Samsung, Intel and Toshiba are the general safe bets. Even with this bug, Samsung is still stable, just slow.

        Intel's got a history of failure as well, but they seem to have gotten beyond it, and while they're not stunners, they generally are solid.

        Toshiba's on the slower end of the scale, but Apple uses them, so they can't be TOO bad.

        And yes, I say Apple, but you can see what Dell uses as well. The big OEMs that ship lots of units will generally pick ones that give the least warranty and support issues and thus are more conservative. Plus, recalls are expensive.

        If you want to follow someone - pick Apple. Given the way news coverage is, if there's a problem with someone somewhere and their SSD in their Apple product, the whole world would know in a nanosecond. Someone as heavily scrutitinized as Apple (where even one failure in millions of computers sold would probably bring about SSD-gate) means if there is a real problem, you'd already know.

        • by LinuxIsGarbage ( 1658307 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @06:47PM (#48199865)

          SSDs will saturate SATA-3 for sequential reads and writes. My Crucial M550 gets 500MB/s vs 150MB/s on my Western Digital. Over a 3 fold improvement!

          However where SSDs really shine is random reads and writes. This is why SSD's make PC's more responsive. My Crucial gets 26MB/s vs. 0.66MB/s on the WD. Almost 40 fold improvement, but not near saturating SATA-3. So there is still improvements to be made on random read/write performance.

          More and more I see PC's slowing to a grind, and it's due to the Hard drive thrashing crazily at less than 1MB/s! Put an SSD in (any SSD) and it speeds right up.

          • For everyday work, an SSD help calm my aggression enormously. Nothing frustrates me more than having to wait on a machine that's capable of processing math billions of times faster than I ever could. There's no excuse for it. Now, test and working VMs run like a bat out of hell, and searching through content in Outlook is a breeze for reference lookup.

          • More and more I see PC's slowing to a grind, and it's due to the Hard drive thrashing crazily at less than 1MB/s! Put an SSD in (any SSD) and it speeds right up.

            while that's true, at least half the time they're swapping. Put in enough RAM and disable swap and they speed right up, too. Maybe not as much as SSD, but more RAM benefits you whether you have SSD or not.

        • Thanks but I'll wait. Toshiba's OCZ heritage still make me cringe. A company the size of Apple can provision custom equipment and handles their own warranty issues. I'm under no delusion that my experience going to the same vendor will be comparable.

        • If you want to follow someone - pick Apple. Given the way news coverage is, if there's a problem with someone somewhere and their SSD in their Apple product, the whole world would know in a nanosecond. Someone as heavily scrutitinized as Apple (where even one failure in millions of computers sold would probably bring about SSD-gate) means if there is a real problem, you'd already know.

          Don't be so sure about that. I and many others have had problems with the GPU soldering on 2011 Macbook Pros. This has been affecting lots of users since last year, and although there was some media coverage, I don't think it's gathering enough attention as you seem to imply it would.

          Some references:

          http://www.mbp2011.com/ [mbp2011.com]
          https://twitter.com/hashtag/mb... [twitter.com]
          http://www.reddit.com/r/mbp201... [reddit.com]

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Avoid Sandforce controllers. They rely on being able to compress data for spare capacity and don't cope well with full drives.

        • by chrish ( 4714 )

          Toshiba's on the slower end of the scale, but Apple uses them, so they can't be TOO bad.

          I wouldn't use that as an indicator of quality; my old MacBook Pro (the Core Duo ones where you could easily change battery/RAM/disk) featured "wonderful" Hitachi drives that failed ten times (that is, I had ten dead drives in less than six months) until I gave up on Apple's replacements and just ordered a Seagate.

      • No, I'll just agree with you. I own two Intel 120GB drives that have been running solidly for years. One is on my main programming workstation, so it gets pounded on daily, and the other is on my digital audio workstation. It's hard to extrapolate from small samples, but I went with the same brand as my former employer did when they installed SSDs, and I haven't been disappointed. Since the market has changed significantly from several years ago, I couldn't honestly tell someone that they're still the b

        • by zyzko ( 6739 )

          840 and 840 EVO are using TLC NAND which is "early SSD" all over again in some respects, and the bug itself is not in the wear-leveling, but on read-retry on cells which are not written to for a certain period of time. Agressive wear leveling (by shifting the data around) can get around this problem, but it is not desirable, especially on TLC NAND which has fewer P/E cycles than MLC or SLC.

          So hopefully the fix is really in the read calibration to get "right" results from cells without retries, and not a wor

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      If you have a Mac, you can't go wrong with OWC [macsales.com]. I almost bought a Samsung SSD but went with a OWC SSD.
      • If you have a Mac, and you are the kind of user who likes to self-upgrade his gear, you already went wrong.

        • Right, because I couldn't want the aesthetic of a mac mini and want to keep using in 4 years down the road by adding ram and a SSD.

          That's just crazy talk.

          (The joke of it is that if you buy a mac mini today, it is crazy talk as you can't upgrade it.)

        • by creimer ( 824291 )
          Proud owner of a Black MacBook (2006) for eight years until the CPU fan died for a second time. (Since it has a 32-bit CPU and applications are going 64-bit only, it doesn't make sense to repair the CPU fan again.) My next laptop will be a White MacBook (2010) that I'm going replace the DVD drive with a SSD, max out the memory to 16GB, and eventually replace the 250GB hard drive with another SSD.
    • I've used or installed a dozen or more 840 SSDs and never had a problem with any of them, including the 470 model I'm using now.

      Is what's being fixed a widespread problem or a corner case of specific uses?

    • I really like my OCZ SSD.

      • I really liked mine, until it died a couple of weeks ago. Just over 18 months of service.

        Replaced it with a Crucial M550.

    • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
      In the UK at least, Samsung [amazon.co.uk] still seems to be the highest rated, along with Crucial [amazon.co.uk] who both get 4.8/5 from numerous reviews.
    • by jdwoods ( 89242 )

      I'm really happy with the 2 Crucial M550 SSD drives I bought (256GB:CT256M550SSD1 and 1TB:CT1024M550SSD1). I based my choice primarily on reliability. The performance is close to the fastest in that price range with stability features that are exceptional.

  • by TFoo ( 678732 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @03:59PM (#48198477)
    This is almost certainly a firmware bug with their read disturb compensation. At least they're owning up to it - but wow.
  • DOS version? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CurryCamel ( 2265886 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:13PM (#48198639) Journal

    "Dos version for MAC, Linux users ... Will be released on end of Oct."
    http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/samsungssd/downloads.html?CID=AFL-hq-mul-0813-11000279/ [samsung.com]
    Let me guess - the source for that firmware patch is stored on a Samsung EVO 840 disk?

    • Maybe I'm missing something, but how are we supposed to run their DOS executable on a Mac?

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        The same way that you're suppose to run their DOS executable on a Linux?

        • The same way that you're suppose to run their DOS executable on a Linux?

          The same way you run it on Windows?

          64 bit Windows will not even pretend to run 16 bit DOS/Windows 3.1 applications. 32 bit Windows NT (/XP/Vista/7/8) will, but it's in an emulator so it can't access the hardware.

          You need a freeDOS bootdisk. You can make it boot from CD or USB since most modern PC's don't have floppy drives.

          A DOS executable is almost preferable since it doesn't require a proprietary OS.

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        A modern Intel Mac will boot into FreeDOS, no problem. It's more like a PC without the BIOS Setup, and supports booting straight into OS X :)

      • Some vendors skip the helpful 'provide a damn bootable freeDOS image, you cheap bastards' step, which is very annoying; but it's pretty common to use DOS for firmware updates. When the vendor is feeling polite, and for more common ones, you usually get a windows executable with some dire warnings about running it as an administrator and not interrupting it; but DOS is a pretty good choice when you want an OS that isn't going to be multitasking behind your back as you scribble over some bit of firmware that
      • Re:DOS version? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @10:11PM (#48200915) Homepage Journal

        The current firmware update ships as a bootable ISO. Burn it to a CD/DVD (or a flash drive if you can work it out), hold down "option" at boot, and you'll be looking at a DOS prompt in no time. I verified this two days ago when I misread the firmware version on the website and downloaded an updater for the version I already had.

  • Ah, crap, I just bought 1 too; which means none of data is more than a month old. At least they're giving away a fix. Gee, more mess to deal with... :(
  • by ashpool7 ( 18172 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:24PM (#48198765) Homepage Journal

    More technical detail as to what is going on.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/... [anandtech.com]

    • Several month old data?
      Isn't that like... 90% of Windows operating files?

      Most OS files are never overwritten until an update changes something.

  • Glad I haven't upgraded from my Samsung 830 256GB from 2 years ago this month. Still chugging along like a champ with no degradation.
  • Classic Samsung... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7@NosPAm.cornell.edu> on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:34PM (#48198863) Homepage

    Couldn't write a proper wear levelling algorithm if their life depended on it.

    First the MAG4FA/KYL00M/VYL00M data corruption bug that affected the Galaxy Nexus - https://android.googlesource.c... [googlesource.com]

    Then (actually BEFORE it, Google found it during Galaxy Nexus development but Samsung kept it hush-hush - but it became a public issue much later) - the infamous Samsung Superbrick fiasco (If you fired a secure erase command at the chip, it had a chance of permanently corrupting the wear leveller data to the point where the chip's onboard controller would crash until you power cycled it any time you accessed that region of flash). - https://git.kernel.org/cgit/li... [kernel.org]

    Then pre-release 840 PRO devices suffer from the SAME DAMN BUG SAMSUNG HAD BEEN AWARE OF FOR OVER A YEAR - http://www.anandtech.com/show/... [anandtech.com] - While this only affected review devices, the fact that this was a known bug since before the release of the Galaxy Nexus (a year earlier) is inexcusable.

    Then there was the Galaxy S3 "Sudden Death Syndrome" issue in late 2013... - https://github.com/omnirom/and... [github.com]

    Then there were a few other issues - http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/... [cyanogenmod.org]

    Now this...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      Still a better love story than the one with OCZ.

      Before you go attacking a company on a general sense, take a look at what they make. In the case of Samsung which make... Everything from what I can tell, it's little wonder that the occasional product has an issue. Calling out 5 products out of the several thousand they make is hardly a cause of concern, much like 5 bent iphones isn't either

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Easy with the fan boi sucking-up there. Samsung is a CORPORATION. If they can't make products that are any fucking goddam good, to hell with them. You stand by your family and close friends through thick and thin, NOT corporations trying to get rich off the money you pay for their products. I'll reward the corps that prove themselves with my custom, just as long as it is to my advantage. Those that cynically betray me can go try to soak other customers; they will be dead to me.

        If Samsung Heavy Industries ma

        • Being a fanboi and having a good sense of perspective are two very different things.

          All of the examples of the parent show that there is a company which releases patches to solve issues. It shows a sense of a company which has had 1 serious issue which they fixed out of a line of about 60 smartphones they have released in the past 5 years. Quite interestingly some of the bugs had strange edge cases, e.g. installing CM causes issues due to firmware design and this is supposed to be Samsung's problem who have

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Um, it's not 5 products out of several thousand. These are all screwups by a single division that refuses to learn from their mistakes and repeatedly makes the same kinds of mistakes over and over again.

        They KNEW that the VYL00M/MAG4FA/KYL00M fwrev 0x19 was faulty, and they kept on shipping it for MONTHS in devices even though they had a newer fwrev (0x25) that didn't cause these problems.

        They KNEW they had a track record of secure erase issues, and a year after becoming aware of a device-bricking bug, the

    • I don't trust samsung. but sadly, I did buy a bunch of 840 evo drives over the last year or 2. damn.

      samsung is known as the company that makes things last 'the warranty period + 1 day'. almost literally. almost to an art form.

      samsung lcd's also are built like crap. one after another, their electrolytics die (fake china caps; like so many others). buying japanese (nichicon, panasonic, etc) low ESR caps usually brings the monitors back to life. I've fished several out of the trash cans and restored the

      • by higuita ( 129722 )

        samsung lcd's also are built like crap. one after another, their electrolytics die (fake china caps; like so many others).
        (...)
        but dammit samsung, why do you have to be SO cheap??

        Because when something fails, most users will buy a new one instead of repairing the last one... and guess what... probably they will buy another samsung device! So instead of selling one TV each 15 years, they sell one each 3-5 years... even if just 1/3 of original buyers buy again samsung, it is still a win situation for then.

        Of

        • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

          Because when something fails, most users will buy a new one instead of repairing the last one... and guess what... probably they will buy another samsung device! So instead of selling one TV each 15 years, they sell one each 3-5 years... even if just 1/3 of original buyers buy again samsung, it is still a win situation for then.

          This is not an issue just with TVs, laptops, phones, routers, cars, washing machines, dishwashers, etc, are all cheaper to replace than repair if you cannot do it yourself. Sadly, the ability to fix things like this appears to be a shrinking skill set, but for those that have it and can afford an hour or two here or there, you'll save tons of money over your lifespan. I know I saved several thousand just in the past couple of months being a plumber, mechanic, electrician carpenter and painter. That leaves m

      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        When looking up Samsung products, I see few complains and many long time users. I can't say this is the case for many of the other options. Not only does Samsung compete with price for SSDs, but they have the best track record of them all, even Intel. At least the Samsung 850 has a 10 year warranty. If you're still using that SSD 10 years from now, that would be sad.
  • Don't have Windows here. Would be nice if they had a firmware patch that could run on Linux.
    • Would not recommend running under Wine. Pull the drive to a Windows box, backup to other media, upgrade firmware and reimage or wait for the Linux/DOS version.

  • What implications are there for encrypted LVMs? Is it advisable to run such a setup on an SSD anyway or will it break some internal algorithms?

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      According to AnandTech's coverage, you need to turn off hardware encryption before running the tool.
  • by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @06:02PM (#48199645)

    VNAND run at current 1X node levels should provide 32x the capacity for similar cost. Instead Samsung is using their tech to release 4X node level SSDs with similar capacity but double the cost of 1X node level 2D NAND. When the heck are we going to have some competitors come in with their own VNAND tech and bottom out the SSD market? They should even be able to achieve greater cost per byte effectiveness than HDDs.

    • Can you please back this up with some facts, figures, articles? Interesting post but I'm not honestly sure I'm sold here?

      If they could, why wouldn't they?

  • by Browzer ( 17971 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @09:07PM (#48200659)

    In my case, based on hdparm -t on xubuntu and centos, the difference between a properly aligned Samsung EVO and an improperly aligned Samsung EVO is 510 MB/sec and 182 MB/sec respectively

    http://cillian.wordpress.com/2... [wordpress.com] has some good info on setting up Samsung EVO properly on linux

  • My 512GB 830 series heats up like the CPU does. The 500GB traditional 7200rpm drive next to it stays relatively cool. I thought SSD were the future of the storage, not a flipping burn/fire hazard!
  • 250GB EVO running for a year now, i never noticed slowdows using it as my daily SO drive. I guess its because the frequently accessed files aren't affected by this bug, i would have to run a complete drive read test to find out.

    I did a test with a tool in one of the links and got the same results as other people.
    http://i.imgur.com/1xomFsK.png [imgur.com]
    See how the graph goes down as age of files increases.

    After running the tool to update the firmware and "optimize" the drive the graph is very different.
    http:// [imgur.com]
  • I wonder if I can "fix" my RAID 5 system with a one disk at a time approach. Pull a drive. Use Linux to zero the drive. Use Windows to build the requisite NTFS partition to prevent complaints. Run the update. Rezero the partition information. And finally reinstall the drive in the RAID and let the RAID rebuild. Lather, rinse, repeat three more times for the other disks.

    Of course, methinks I'll take a complete disk image backup of the RAID just in case.

    Any thoughts regarding this approach? Is there anything

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