Samsung is probing reported problems with 990 Pro SSDs, whose owners have claimed the drives’ health status shows alarmingly fast drops in reported capacity even though only small amounts of data have been written to the drive.
A spokesperson told us: “Samsung Electronics stands behind the quality of our industry-leading SSDs, including the latest 990 Pro. We are aware of limited reports concerning this matter and are currently investigating these experiences, as user configurations vary.”
The 990 Pro is an M.2 format PCIe 4 drive built with 112-layer 3D NAND in TLC (3 bits/cell) format in 1, 2 and 4TB capacity points. The outstanding performance is up to 800,000/1,000,000 random read/write IOPS, 6.9GBps sequential writes, and 5GBps sequential reads.
On January 22, 990 Pro user Robbie Khan wrote on Neowin that “within just a couple of days of buying the 990 Pro 2TB, I noticed that the drive health according to SMART data from both Samsung Magician and third party tools had dropped to 99 percent … Within another day or so it had dropped to 98 percent, by this point I’d not even written 2TB to the drive. Fast-forward a couple more days and the drive health was sitting at 95 percent.”
One issue that caused him an additional problem, he said, was that the “Samsung NVMe driver for Windows does not support the 990 Pro. Without this driver you cannot run any extended SMART tests in Samsung’s Magician application as it says it needs the correct driver.” This means “there is no way to run the extended SMART diagnostics.”
Khan checked around and found others had reported similar drive health status issues – with a lengthy thread over at Overclock.net discussing the same problem.
Khan wrote: “Once my drive had dropped to 94 percent I filed the RMA with Samsung/Hanaro.” His drive was sent to Hanaro BV for Samsung aftersales support and replacement.
However, Hanaro technicians could find no fault. They reformatted the drive and returned it to him – but the health status still showed 94 percent. Khan said he then discovered that “a reader on Twitter also shared that his 990 Pro has dropped to 64 percent with only 2TB being written.”
Users on Samsung’s community website have also populated a long thread about the problem, Samsung 990 PRO Health Status/SMART issues reported.
Over on Reddit, users have bemoaned the apparent issue of “rapid health drops” on the 990 Pro SSD, with some saying Samsung was now accepting return merchandise authorizations and was investigating.
Poster Varistentia claimed the updated v7.2.1 Magician software didn’t fix the issue. Several posters said they had canceled 990 Pro orders. Many said they have experienced the drive health problem but no fix has yet been forthcoming.
The 990 Pro is a flagship drive and Samsung will need to get to the bottom of these reports sooner rather than later – or SK hynix’s Platinum P41 SSD sales may well benefit at Samsung’s expense.