Samsung SSD 840 EVO Optimization

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Samsung’s SSD 840 EVO Advanced Performance Optimization 😡

Should of stuck with a Mechanical HDD if Advanced Performance Optimization acts like a Defrag Utility

After getting dream machine 2014 build up and running, the Samsung SSD 840 EVO had noticeable slow downs and didn’t know where it was coming from at the time. The ASUS Maximus VII Hero got the finger pointed at when I first noticed the slow downs, but it wasn’t the only thing that was causing slowdowns in the system.

Really don’t want to talk about the Problems I encountered with ASUS Maximus VII Hero motherboard, lets just say they should have did a better job packaging up their drivers, stupid fucks. Nonetheless the problem was fix by installing Intel Chipset drivers and not the ones from ASUS website.

Now comes Samsung SSD 840 EVO with extreme slowdowns and it was even more Noticeable when running a test that was found on PC Perspective website. Techie007 the developer of the application, wrote a new benchmarking program that would specifically test for an age/speed correlation by reading files already on the SSD, and then display its findings graphically.

Load times for Far Cry 3 were insane followed by Deus Ex Human Revolution I’m currently playing yet! because all of the hardware and gear at Computex 2015, not to mention E3 in the next coming weeks. This would be technically the third time Samsung release a fix for their EVO drives, lets hope they continue to work long after the Firmware update.

After you Download the new update and applied it, you’ll be greeted with a few new options and the only one that matters is the one that stops your SSD from slowing down, Advanced Performance Optimization.

The Samsung 840 EVO is a consumer-focused TLC SSD. Normally TLC SSDs suffer from reduced write speeds when compared to their MLC counterparts, as writing operations take longer for TLC than for MLC (SLC is even faster). Samsung introduced a novel way of speeding things up with their TurboWrite caching method, which adds a fast SLC buffer alongside the slower flash.

This buffer is several GB in size, and helps the 840 EVO maintain fast write speeds in most typical usage scenarios, but the issue with the 840 EVO is not its write speed – the problem is read speed. Initial reviews did not catch this issue as it only impacted data that had been stagnant for a period of roughly 6-8 weeks. As files aged their read speeds were reduced, starting from the speedy (and expected) 500 MB/sec and ultimately reaching a worst case speed of 50-100 MB/sec.

The New Firmware fixes this by periodically refreshing (i.e. rewriting) old data, which recovers the cell charge back to its original state and ensures that no read-retry or ECC that would degrade the performance is needed. Samsung says that the refresh operation does not impact user performance, suggesting that it’s a relatively low priority process that is run when the drive is idling.

The New Magician v4.6 also includes an Advanced Performance Optimization feature, which is similar to the performance restoration tool that Samsung released earlier.

Basically, it’s a command that tells the SSD to rewrite all of its internal data, which resets all cell charges and hence recovers performance. It’s merely a supplementary tool as the firmware upgrade itself should be enough to restore performance, but in case the performance isn’t fully restored after the firmware upgrade (and some idle time to let the drive refresh the cells), the tool can be used to force a cell charge refresh.

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For the first time in eight years using HD Tune Pro never have I ever seen any benchmark look like the above. With it just reading 130MB/s most of the time, kinda makes me wanna go back to Mechanical HDD. In the chart you’ll see that the far right bar seems to be keeping up, because theres no data been stored on that portion of the drive.

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What Samsung’s SSD 840 EVO should look like after you apply the Advanced Performance Optimization in Magician Software. Night and day difference with Minimum and Maximum Read of 440MB/s to 450MB/s while keeping an Average 447MB/s Transfer Rate.

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Noting really much to see here besides it looking pretty normal if you were to ask me, all but the 4KB Random Multi IOPS when it should be showing above 70000+ Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS).

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Heres something thats extremely weird and the only thing I could think of that cause the problem would be background processes running, although the system was left for five minutes before starting the benchmarks. It could possibly be the drive itself has it hits the 150MB/s mark like it did before the update. Nonetheless the File Benchmark Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) are showing normal operating then reading from the SSD.

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Now comes the big surprise with Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART). Everything looks again all normal when looking at the over all report with the Status reporting Okay for every ID.

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After the Firmware was applied you’ll notice Life Time Writes fall from -303229705 down to -2438937229 with shock of course What The Fuck! couldn’t believe what I was seen, could it be that the previous update caused the problem and made it fall that far or was it Samsung Magician Software not reporting the right information the first time. All was okay when looking at it from Magician and HD Tune Pro before apply the new Firmware Update, so yes the software was reporting the right information before I applied the New Firmware update.

With the Life Time Writes showing so much difference then before got me nerves to the point were I didn’t want to use the SSD anymore, especially after Samsung releasing three Firmware updates to battle this bug.

There is one thing to mention and its in Samsung’s Magician Software, Rapid Mode stands for (Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data). RAPID is designed to further improve the performance of an SSD and not make a HDD more SSD-like. RAPID uses some of your system memory and CPU resources to cache hot data, serving it out of DRAM rather than your SSD. Basically it’s PCIe-like Performance from a SATA SSD. Enabling this should preserve some of the Life Time Writes been made to the SSD.

You many also wanna look into Over Provisioning in Samsung Magician software it reserves a portion of the drive and the recommended setting is 10% of the SSD. This way data that gets used the most will be saved to that partition.

Over-Provisioning (OP), the practice of allocating a specific, permanent amount of free space on an SSD, is a widely-used method for improving both SSD Performance and Endurance. Historically, Samsung has not implemented mandatory OP on any of its SSDs. With the introduction of the 840 Series and the reality of increasingly complex NAND fabrication processes, however, Samsung has chosen to implement a minimum amount of OP in its mainstream drives (the 840 PRO will not feature mandatory OP).

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The Random Access before the update was crazy insane, if you were to just look at the chart and didn’t know it was a Solid State Device (SSD) you would’ve easily mistaken it for a mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD).

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Much better with it staying well below 1-30ms Random Access time to 0.137-2ms whats expected from a SSD, not a mechanical HDD Access Time. Even the Average Speed was reporting 501MB/s for 1MB Transfer Size and the 4KB Transfer Size coming in at 54MB/s what I was receiving the first time the machine was build.

At this point and pretty much well can say the same for everyone that may of purchased a 840 EVO SSD, glad that nightmare is over. Even though now your faced with a annoyance more then a relief because of the slowdown after 6-8 weeks of the SSD cells not getting refreshed, you shouldn’t have to worry to much. If you don’t want to use the Magician Software anymore you don’t have to as its already in the Firmware says Samsung.

So if the Solid State Device (SSD) seem to be slowing down and the machine wasn’t idle for sometime then it will kick-in Refreshing the cell to keep the drive performing at its intend speed.

It wasn’t to long ago that I spotted a 840 EVO on sale at Staples and wanted to get the 128GB or the 256GB for Over-Provisioning or even RAID 0 and said with all the problems SSDs was first faced it when introduced to the market, plus my experience with the EVO I have now… NO. I’ll keep an eye open for the new wave of PCI Express (PCIe) SSDs before purchasing another Samsung SSD 840 EVO, even more so now that the Maximus VII Hero supports NVMe basically Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface that replaces the older Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). The GSKILL Phoenix Blade PCI Express (PCIe) SSDs is looking really promising and they just update it to x8 PCIe Gen v3.0 from x4 PCIe Gen v2.0, who knows right, especially operating that those speeds.

Has a passion for computer hardware and dream’s of been a professional technician one day, fairly educated on the subject and opened minded. Programing maybe one of many interest, but are divided into what you call time. When he ant learning what’s new, he’s usually jamming out on electric guitar or playing some awesome PC Game.