For many years, Samsung solid-state drives (SSDs) were among the most reliable components in our workstations. We wrote about this and praised their incredibly low failure rates many times, but something changed in the last year. We started to see abnormally high failure rates in the field with one specific model: the Samsung 980 Pro 2TB. This was their highest capacity M.2 NVMe drive in that line, and the smaller 500GB and 1TB models seemed unaffected. We worked with Samsung on this for several months, and they recently provided a firmware update which they claim will address the issues our customers have been running into.
However, the trouble didn’t end there. Late in 2022, Samsung launched a new line of M.2 SSDs with increased performance – the 990 Pro line. Even before we got the updated 980 Pro firmware, we had hoped that this new series would remedy the problems its predecessor had… but unfortunately, the opposite has happened. Despite initial positive reviews and good performance during our qualification process, numerous tech websites have now reported that Samsung’s 990 Pro drives are exhibiting rapid health degradation, with Samsung Magician software reporting a drop of around 1% endurance per week.
These drives are popular and commonly used as both the primary OS & application drive as well as high-speed storage for project files, so if the endurance (and thus lifespan) of the drives is indeed dropping at this rate it is very concerning. Samsung is investigating these reports, and we will continue to work with them to help arrive at a solution for both our customers and the public in general. In the meantime, we felt it was prudent to shift our product line to an alternative product while this situation unfolds and we learn more.
As such, we are transitioning our 1 and 2TB NVMe drives over to Sabrent. We’ve been using their larger 4 and 8TB capacity drives for some time, as Samsung has not yet offered any high-performance SSDs in those sizes, and we have had good experiences with them so far. Our smallest 500GB model will remain on Samsung’s 980 Pro, however, as that size is not available in the 990 Pro line and thus was not impacted by whatever is affecting those newer drives.
We don’t often announce changes to our product line like this, as brands and models shift all the time, but because we have been so outspoken about Samsung SSD reliability in the past we felt that it was important to speak up in this particular situation. If you own a workstation from Puget Systems with one of these Samsung drives, we don’t want you to panic! We have already reached out to customers who bought Samsung 980 Pro 2TB drives to help install the updated firmware, and there is a chance that the 990 Pro issue is just improper reporting of endurance loss. Regardless of what the situation ends up being, we fully stand behind our systems and will do the right thing for our customers. Should you have any questions or concerns, though, please feel free to reach out to our support department. For anyone who has experienced trouble with the new 990 Pro drives, or SSD failures in general, we’d also love to hear from you in the comments below.