Avid Pro Audio Community

Avid Pro Audio Community

How to Join & Post  •  Community Terms of Use  •  Help Us Help You

Knowledge Base Search  •  Community Search  •  Learn & Support

Avid Home Page

Go Back   Avid Pro Audio Community > General Discussion & Off Topic > General Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-21-2023, 02:43 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 19,743
Default Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

You need to periodically check your third party SSD Firmware is up to date, or you potentially risk data loss or drive corruption… this post focuses on Samsung SSDs but the same applies to others. And by third party I mean not from Apple if a Mac, or not from some PC vendors if they also rebadge the SSDs/and manage the SSD updates themselves.

Modern SSDs (Solid State Drives) are very complex systems, having relatively powerful multi-core embedded processors, caches, buffers, DRAM, actual storage NAND, maybe some of the NAND optimized as a write cache, etc. etc. and all this running under the control of some pretty sophisticated firmware on the SSD.

And these very complex systems do have bugs, and good vendors will issue updates to firmware that fix known issues. In some cases these might be potentially as bad as data loss or total corruption of the drives. If you are using a third party SSD in any computer you *have* to check its firmware is up to date before you start using the drive and you should be periodically checking for firmware updates.

In a different thread Righty27 had asked how to check the firmware version on Samsung 980 Pro SSDs since they had a potential data loss problem that was fixed with a firmware update. I’ll reply here to keep the noise out of other user threads and maybe because this is better as it’s own thread.

I’ll talk about Samsung here but similar applies to other drives. If you work in a studio/facility that is using a lot of SSDs it might be worth asking IT staff or others if somebody is checking for SSD firmware updates (and you can always look at the firmware versions yourself of any direct attached SSD).

Checking SSD Firmware Versions

Checking firmware versions is pretty easy.

For Macs open macOS System Report, look at the drive information under NVMe the firmware version is shown as the "Revision". Similarly SATA SSDs will appear under the SATA tree in System Report. Compare that to info from the vendor on what the latest firmware relapse is for that drive model. (For Samsung see info under https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us...support/tools/)

For Intel/AMD Windows PCs you can look at the drive in Device Manager and the revision will be listed amongst info for the drive... but you are better off installing Samsung Magician software and using that to look at SSDs, check possible errors, update firmware etc.

Updating SSD Firmware Versions

Now updating the SSD firmware if it is needed may not be so easy.

Updating Firmware on PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD like the Samsung 980 Pro or 990 Pro, and internal SATA SSD like the 860 Evo

o If you are on Windows on Intel/AMD you run the Samsung Magician application. Installers are here: https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us.../support/tools. Pat yourself on the back for being of free mind and running on Windows.

o There is no Samsung Magician software for macOS on either Intel or Apple silicon based Macs.

o If you have an Intel Mac you can use Boot Camp to run Windows and then run Disk Magician under Windows. I would only do this is the Mac was already set up with Windows in Boot Camp. otherwise...

o If you are on an Intel Mac you can run the separate Mac firmware installers that Samsung provide (See "Samsung SSD Firmware" under https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us...support/tools/). There installers are not using Samsung Magician, have nothing to do with it. These are stand alone installers packaged in a stripped down Linux ISO image that you boot the Intel Mac on and let the installer do it's thing then you reboot the Mac again in macOS.

o If you have a Apple Silicon based Mac, then uh ouch. Samsung does not have an updater that runs there today. The boot security on Apple Silicon based Macs is one hurdle there, it's doable and Samsung could make an Apple silicon Linux ISO work, but it's work. I have no idea what they are actually doing or when they might have something. They cater to the PC world first, what by far where most of their SSD consumer products upgrade revenue comes from.

o So... for Apple Silicon based Macs the options now are:
- Use a separate computer to do the firmware upgrade if required. Intel/AMD PC running Windows or an Intel Mac. For me I have multiple old PCs and Intel Macs laying around so it's not an issue. For other folks you may need to find a friend with a suitable computer. I expect good retail PC stores/builders may agree to update firmware on SSDs you buy from them.
- If you purchase from a good vendor and the firmware is old you should be able to return the drive to them. High turn over vendors like Amazon should get onto new firmware versions fast, and have better customer support. Be sure to buy from Amazon, not from small sellers on Amazon.
- The 990 Pro may be a different option, it has only a firmware update for not too critical issue that only affects use with Samsung Magician. And although I normally want to be on the latest firmware if you can't find a 980 Pro with latest firmware installed then any 990 Pro with any Firmware version should work OK. At least as of today.

Now getting a drive that you are happy with today does not mean that tomorrow there won't be some other bug found, and some other firmware version you should upgrade to.

Updating Firmware on External USB Portable SSD like the Samsung T5 and T7 or External Thunderbolt Portable SSD like the X5

These portable external drives use sperate Samsung "Portable SSD Software" that includes a Firmware updater. You don't use disk Magician with these drives. All you need is under "Portable SSD Software" here: https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us...support/tools/

And unlike the mess above the good news is there are Windows and Mac versions of the Portable SSD Software, and the Mac versions are universal binaries so run on Intel or Apple silicon based Macs. Now I don't know what versions of macOS are supported. Just downloads and see.

[I have had problems unpacking some of the Portable SSD Software zip packages in macOS, Archive Utility.app reports the archives are empty when clearly they are not. I was able to unpack these on Windows 10 and 11 systems, in once case moving the unpacked .pkg installer back to the Mac to install there.).]

The Apple Silicon Mac Mess Upgrading Firmware on PCIe/NVMe and SATA SSD

Yes this is a mess. But this is not just an issue with Samsung. I'm not aware of a single vendor with an in-situ PCIe/NVMe firmware updater for Apple Silicon Macs (and I just don't keep up with SATA SSDs maybe there are some there).

But remember, the vendors that are more worrying are those who never issue firmware updates. Especially smaller companies, you have no idea what problem they might be having, maybe never even be aware of, and never fix. And many smaller vendors may not be able to fix problems, they rely on third party firmware, which they might modify/package and they have to wait for updates which might never come. That is why I strongly recommend going with major brands like Samsung (and until their recent not well handled mess with SSD data loss) SanDisk/Western Digital. And Samsung also has had multiple bugs that required firmware fixes that could cause data loss/corruption... going back many years, but the thing is they got fixed and generally Samsung does a good job getting that fix out. And overall the technology is still reliable. You just want to CYA by being on the best known firmware release.

I've also been consistently recommending that Mac owners spend money on those darned overpriced Apple internal SSDs. On modern Macs with Apple internal SSD you can get significantly faster than Thunderbolt 3 performance, you have no problems with drive firmware updates (it's all handled transparently) and you get Apple Care/warranty coverage. But even then many of us just need more space and more overall performance than possible with Apple standard internal SSDs, and then those Samsung and other M.2 NVMe SSDs sure look nice. But if you don’t want to check firmware and manage your SSDs then please just pay the money and buy the Apple SSDs.

Some Misinformation to Watch Our for about Samsung Magician

I wanted to preemptively correcting incorrect info you might see online about Samsung Magician.

o You *cannot* run Samsung Magician software on Macs using virtual machines like VMware Fusion or Parallels, or Windows emulators like Wine or CrossOver. Magician needs low level access to the raw hardware that these products do not provide that.

o You cannot run the Disk Magician under Rosetta, it is a Windows binary.

o You cannot run the Mac ISO installer images under Rosetta, they are a whole other operating system that needs to boot natively on an Intel based Mac.

o There is no "open source" version of Magician. Some folks are confused by Samsung publishing required legal notices about what open source code is used by Magician. None of that means the Magician code is open sourced (it's using non-viral MIT and BSD licensed open source code).

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 08-22-2023 at 04:07 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2023, 01:25 AM
tonwurm's Avatar
tonwurm tonwurm is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: europe
Posts: 832
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

thanks for the very detailed info

link doesn´t work: https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us...support/tools/
MP5,1 12core 3.46ghz 96GB
Ultimate HDX

Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2023, 09:01 AM
originalscottyg originalscottyg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Detroit
Posts: 1,380
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

Out of curiosity, does this apply to external USB-based SSDs, like Samsung T7s? Or is this just pertaining to internal SATA or NVMe drives?
Scott Gatteño
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2023, 09:55 AM
massivekerry's Avatar
massivekerry massivekerry is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 708
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

Originally Posted by tonwurm View Post
thanks for the very detailed info

link doesn´t work: https://semiconductor.samsung.com/us...support/tools/
Yes, the link didn't complete, but you can look it up on Samsung's site. All of the Tools and software can be found at https://semiconductor.samsung.com/co...support/tools/
Kerry Smith

Mac Studio Ultra : 128GB RAM : Ventura 13.6.6 : Carbon : PT Ultimate 2024.3.1 : S1 : Metagrid Pro
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2023, 12:59 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 19,743
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

Thanks guys I updated the post above to correct the problems pointed out, and to try to make things clearer.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 08-22-2023 at 04:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2023, 10:06 AM
cwsand's Avatar
cwsand cwsand is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 3,920
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

Great info - thanks Darryl!!
Help Us Help You

Pro Tools 2024.3
Focusrite LS56
Focusrite Pro40 (2)
TC Electronic Studio Konnekt 48
Avid Artist Mix/Control
Slate Digital VRS8
Analogue Tonebuss 24 Channel
UAD-2 OCTO Core Accelerator
UAD Volt 2
macOS 10.15.7
4.01GHz Quad-Core Intel Core I7
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740 2 GB
Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2023, 10:44 PM
Tweakhead Tweakhead is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,128
Default Re: Check your bloody (third party) SSD Firmware Version is up to Date

Stunningly valuable and detailed post Darryl.
A true service to the DUC.
Many thanks.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Make sure your firmware is up to date! DigiTechSupt Artist Series 0 03-10-2011 11:10 AM
002R - How to check firmware version?? silence2-38554 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Mac) 1 10-07-2009 06:04 PM
Date for version 8? Dopamine Pro Tools TDM Systems (Mac) 6 10-13-2008 01:10 PM
Most up to date PT version running G4 w/10.2.8?? pitman Pro Tools TDM Systems (Mac) 7 02-17-2005 05:47 AM
How can I check the 002R firmware? macrocklin 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Mac) 0 10-13-2003 08:56 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:06 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2008, Jelsoft Enterprises Limited. Forum Hosted By: URLJet.com