Several flagship Samsung 990 Pro SSD owners have complained that their SSDs are degrading too quickly. Although the total amount of overwritten information on the media was only a few terabytes, its health indicator dropped by several percent, indicating the SSD’s rapid wear out. And the number of such complaints is growing.
Information about the rapid deterioration of Samsung 990 Pro drives was widely disseminated in the media after it was written by the editor of the Neowin portal, who himself encountered this problem. He bought a 2TB Samsung 990 Pro and found that the wear and tear on the device was only 1% after just a few days. After only 2 TB of information was written to the media, SSD wear was already 2%, and after a few days the drive’s resource capacity dropped to 94%.
All modern SSDs come with support for SMART technology, which reads various media indicators. These metrics can then be viewed using dedicated monitoring applications such as CrystalDiskInfo. In such programs, the resource or health of the SSD is displayed as a percentage. Samsung also has its own SSD monitoring application called Magician. New SSDs have a 100% safety margin. Given the amount of overwritten information on the media, and according to the TBW (terabytes of information overwritten) specified by the manufacturer, the percentage of SSD health will decrease over time.
The Samsung 990 Pro with a capacity of 2 TB has a claimed resource of 1200 TBW. So just a few terabytes of overwritten information really shouldn’t prove to be as significant a reduction in media overwriting resources as the Neowin editor drive does. According to calculations, the 2TB Samsung 990 Pro should have lost 1% health after overwriting 12TB of data. For the 1TB Samsung 990 Pro model claiming 600TBW, 1% wear is equivalent to overwriting 6TB of information.
Not only the Neowin editorial team faced the problem of the rapid wear and tear of the Samsung 990 Pro. As the portal ComputerBase writes, about similar situations at the end of December reported Forum users. In one case, only 1.7 TB of information was overwritten on a 1 TB Samsung 990 Pro. After that, however, the carrier resource dropped to 96%. In the second case, the 2TB model lost 7% after overwriting 2TB of information. Twitter user Neil Scofield informed about an even more disturbing observation. The resource of his Samsung 990 Pro dropped from 100 to 64% after overwriting only 2TB of information, or 0.17% of the TBW specified by the manufacturer.
This problem is too discussed on the Reddit forum where Samsung 990 Pro owners share their observations. For example, one of the forum members reported that the resources of his SSD dropped to 93% after overwriting only 1.6 TB of information. Reddit user alias FCS3 provided a visual comparison (image below) of the wear rate of the Samsung 990 Pro and Samsung 980 Pro using Hard Disk Sentinel monitoring software. After three weeks of active use of the Samsung 990 Pro drive, 28 TB of information on it was overwritten. Its resources are down to 88%. At the same time, 36 TB of information was overwritten on the Samsung 980 Pro model, but its health bar was then at 98%. The same TBW is declared for both drives – 1200 TB.
For now, the reason behind the rapid deterioration of Samsung 990 Pro drives remains unclear. It is possible that this is a software bug and the monitoring applications are simply not reading the SMART scores correctly. In this case, the solution could be the release of new firmware for the SSD. If it’s something else, the rapid wear of these drives may indicate that their rewriting resource (TBW) is lower than what the manufacturer claims, and the reason for this is also not yet clear. But in this case we would definitely speak of a warranty case and a replacement of the drive.
By the way, the Neowin editor contacted Samsung technical support, filled out the SSD return form and even sent it to an authorized service center for diagnosis. There, after checking and defragmenting the media, they said the SSD is working fine and sent it back to the owner. Only after this story was in the media, Samsung representatives themselves wrote to the editor of Neowin and offered to replace his drive with a new one.