Samsung To Release Magician 4.6 and 840 EVO Firmware Update — Performance Degradation Fixed At Last?

Some owners of Samsung 840 EVO SSDs were among an unfortunate group that began to experience performance degradation over time.  (We previously covered this here and here)  In a nutshell, their drives could not read “cold” data (that had sat unmodified for an extended period of time) at full speed.  This issue thus far has been mostly limited to 840 EVO SSDs with 19nm TLC NAND (planar, not 3D-VNAND).

840-evo-p-d-allyns degradation chart

Image source: pcper.com

The first attempt at fixing the issue was via a combination of a firmware update and a software tool.  The software tool initiated a one-time “refresh”, causing all stale data to be rewritten.  Although this restored performance back to optimal speeds, many users were skeptical (and rightly so) that their drives would eventually deteriorate back to the same state over time.

840-EVO-p-d-orig perf rest tool

Image source: pcper.com

Allyn Malventano over at PC Perspective has been involved in this issue from its first appearance, and has worked directly with Samsung in helping identify the underlying problem, and beta-testing the “fixes”.  You can read his review of the combination of the latest firmware update, and of Samsung Magician 4.6 here.  There is a nice little “Q & A” between Allyn and Samsung about what the firmware update and the new Samsung Magician 4.6 software are able to accomplish.

840-evo-p-d-w booklet

The initial conclusion is that the firmware update does its own periodic refreshing of data, to eliminate the “stale data” issue altogether.  Along with the revised firmware there is an “Advanced Performance Optimization” function that can be triggered within Samsung SSD Magician.  For owners who never tried the one-time “Performance Restoration Tool” stop-gap fix, they can skip that completely and update to the new firmware, and hopefully be good to go.

840 EVO advanced optimization

Image source: pcper.com

Once users have downloaded the latest Samsung Magician 4.6 software, they will see an “Advanced” tab under “Performance Optimization.”  The “standard” optimization merely triggers the TRIM function to execute on all empty portions of the SSD.  The “Advanced” performance optimization triggers the same action that was triggered by the previous “Performance Restoration Tool.”  The original was for one-time usage; but this version available through Samsung SSD Magician can be triggered whenever, or as frequently as desired.

840 EVO before latest fix

Image source: pcper.com

Allyn’s review demonstrates “before firmware update”, “after firmware update”, and “after firmware update and after advanced optimization” results.  These results show that merely updating the firmware enables a large improvement in read speeds of the stale data.  This may indicate that the read algorithm has been tweaked to compensate for “cell drift over time”.

840 EVO after latest fix

Image source: pcper.com

Running the advanced optimization function refreshes the data (likely in a sequential pattern), showing that randomly written files are restored to an even better state than they were previously.

840 EVO after fix after advanced optimization

Image source: pcper.com

It took Samsung a little while, but it appears that they have finally resolved the 840 EVO performance degradation issue.  In the process, Samsung has given the 840 EVO an added feature via the “Advanced Performance Optimization” tool.  As Allyn puts it, “….so in trying to fix one problem, they have actually added a useful feature to this product line.”  It will be interesting to see if this feature is made available for any other Samsung SSDs, particularly the “non-840 EVO” other SSDs that utilize TLC NAND.

840 EVO p d angled drive

We will provide links to the 840 EVO firmware update, and to the Samsung Magician 4.6 software download once they are released into the wild.

Well done, Allyn!

UPDATE: Please visit the latest article on this topic for links (at end of article) for the latest firmware update and the latest Magician 4.6 software:

http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/samsung-840evo-performance-degradation-follow-up-latest-firmware-update-and-magician-4-6-software-now-available/

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Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

>Performance Degradation Fixed At Last?

Nope, they just slapped a bandaid on the problem. You can’t fix physics with firmware.

Lubomir Zvolensky
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Lubomir Zvolensky

while I agree with you, the final output really is fixed performance problem (although not exactly “the optimal way” but what can you do with millions of products in the wild). It would be great, simply just great, if Samsung does NOT include writes introduced with this refresh algorithm into overall Total Bytes Written counter – using another words “this refresh algorithm should not decrease the useful warranty for customer”. To be honest, 99.99999% of all customers in the world will never come close to physical endurance of these drives and will not wear the drives out, so this doesn’t… Read more »

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Does samsung even limit warranty by TBW ?

Lubomir Zvolensky
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Lubomir Zvolensky

Benjamin, I don’t have direct experience, but I guess every manufacturer states TBW for some reason. It is the easiest excuse to refuse warranty on one side, on the other side – as we already said – just extremely tiny portion or amount of customers will ever hit that wall. From 850Pro review on some anonymous site: “The other major improvement from V-NAND is the endurance. All capacities, including the smallest 128GB, are rated at 150TB, which is noticeably higher than what any other consumer-grade SSD offers. Moreover, Samsung told me that the endurance figure is mainly meant to separate… Read more »

vladx
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vladx

It has 3 years warranty, so if my 840 EVO dies before that it should not matter even if it reached 1 PB.

Alexandru Maran
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Alexandru Maran

From Where can we get this Magician 4.6?

TwoCables
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TwoCables

As the end of this article states, it’s not released yet. You will be able to get it from sites like this, or from Samsung.com. You might even get notified by your existing copy of Samsung Magician that an update is available, which is the normal procedure for new versions of Magician.

trparky
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trparky

It seems that TLC NAND isn’t the only type of NAND that’s having a problem at process nodes of 19nm of less. The Crucial MX200 SSD which uses 16nm MLC 128Gb NAND flash chips appears to be having the same very issue that the Samsung 840 EVO had, namely NAND flash voltage drifting which causes read speed performance issues on older data. What does this mean? Well, it means that pretty much NAND flash memory becomes unreliable as the process node shrinks past 20nm. NAND flash manufacturers have hitthe wall when it comes to planar NAND. From this point on… Read more »