My first SSD failure (Sam 850 PRO 256GB)

May 19, 2011
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#1
From a customer's computer, but anyway. I thought I'd write up my experiences so far for anyone who is interested.

The customer reported applications crashing all over the place. The event log showed tonnes of disk errors starting for the day in question (and not at all before), and the SMART data was all OK (100% life left, no sector issues etc). A full chkdsk found enough file system issues that it filled up the log entry to the point that the summary was no longer available, but from what there was, it didn't suggest a hardware problem purely from that test. I was a bit nervous because the SSD is a year old and it was replacing a hard drive that had also failed (I was thinking 'what are the chances that the same PC would have two storage failures'), so I tried another SATA cable, no difference. Next I connected the SSD to my own PC via USB3. While reading data went without a hitch, writing data resulted in long delays, controller errors, mangled parts of the file system, etc. I guessed that while reading is OK, writing is where problems occur.

I fired off a support request to Samsung on Friday, still no answer by today (the following Tuesday). I think I will ring them.

As the SSD seemed to be fine for reading I thought I would try doing a complete drive backup and restore onto another SSD to save time having to configure the whole system, so when the new SSD arrived this morning, I connected the old one back up (on its own) to the PC in question, and unfortunately Windows refused to boot citing an unexpected I/O error when reading BCD data, so I guess the SSD is in its death throes. Windows repair from setup didn't work (not even a log file to consult), and I experienced delays when attempting to get directory listings from the command prompt; not huge ones, but I'd expect an SSD to instantly start producing a listing whereas this one was taking a few seconds before showing anything.

I'm glad that partly for testing purposes I did my own backup of the customer's data sooner rather than later. While I would consider this normal practice for a failing HDD, I still had my doubts at the time that it was a failing SSD, and I've only seen one other ailing SSD first-hand (a Crucial one).
 

Mr Evil

Senior member
Jul 24, 2015
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#2
The first "SSD" failure I had was before SSDs were affordable. I used a Compact Flash card with a CF-to-IDE adapter. It lasted a couple of years before wearing out, which wasn't too bad considering it was running 24/7.

I don't think I've had any actual failures since then, except for an OCZ drive that was effectively unusable because the buggy firmware would crash if the PC was put into standby. Still, I put that into a server that never goes into standby, and it's still working now.

I've had a few USB flash drives lose data though.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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#3
I've definitely had failed SSDs before. And HDDs. And CPUs. And motherboards. And power switches. And...

Every. Thing. Breaks. Nothing. Is. Reliable. Nothing.

Hope you get your customer straightened out.
 

thecoolnessrune

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
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I've been through 6 or so personal SSDs in 128GB flavors (thrashing them with a lot of array writes), but haven't lost an SSD to "normal use". At work we mysteriously keep having 400GB Enterprise Ultra-High Endurance SSDs in our vSAN pods keep giving up the ghost. Been through at least 5 of them in the last 6 months. Cisco TAC gets frustrated because it doesn't error or anything. The only sign that something is wrong is when reads from it go from 0.5ms, to over 300ms. Can't seem to nail down why it's happening.
 
May 19, 2011
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Thread update: The replacement SSD has arrived today. I didn't really have any problems with Samsung; initially I tried their purely online system for getting the RMA going but after a few working days of no response (apart from purely auto informative only e-mails) I rang them instead. Once I described the symptoms, I provided proof of purchase and some IDs from the drive itself, and there wasn't any quibbling over anything. From that point onwards the return was arranged within about 24 hours. After that, DHL took a day or two to contact me and arrange pickup; I had them pick it up from my parents' place as I couldn't sit around all day waiting for them to arrive.

I'm just testing out the replacement drive. I intend to ring Samsung to confirm the length of warranty on this drive.

For the record, this is Samsung UK/EU I'm dealing with (the drive was shipped from the Netherlands IIRC). No complaints here! I'm mainly glad that given the length of warranty was part of the reason I went for this drive for computer builds, that Samsung didn't try to wiggle out of it or generally be a pain about living up to their obligations.
 

thecoolnessrune

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Jun 8, 2005
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#6
May 19, 2011
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Another update:

It looks very much like they sent me back the same drive that I sent to them (serial numbers match)... and the drive shows up bad sectors. I guess I'll be ringing them tomorrow.
 

Charlie22911

Senior member
Mar 19, 2005
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#9
That is unfortunate. I’ve only had two SSDs fail, an ADATA XPG mSATA and Samsung 950 PRO 512GB.

Samsung is a top tier SSD manufacturer though, I’m sure it will all get sorted.
 
May 19, 2011
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After returning the drive for a second time (I thought it could go either way when I explained to the support rep how I noticed the failure after copying a tonne of files to the drive (about 100GB) and they asked if I could just copy about 3GB of files to the drive to see if the problem still occurred), they've sent me an 860 PRO 256GB as a replacement.
 
May 19, 2011
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#11
I just received a phone call from Samsung, surveying my experience of the returns process. They asked me to rate my experience, then asked why I gave them a not-particularly-good rating. I explained my reasons, then I was asked what I think they should have done better.

Hopefully they'll take what I said onboard.
 

sinisterDei

Senior member
Jun 18, 2001
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#12
Glad it worked out. I've only got one entry in the 'failed SSD' club, an old OCZ Z-Drive R4 600GB that was originally some ~$2000. It lasted until about 2 years ago, then failed in a very similar manner to your Samsung. Unfortunately for me, the warranty doesn't last forever and neither did OCZ, but at least comparable capacity drives significantly dropped in cost between when it was purchased and when it died.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#13
My first and only SSD failure was my Samsung 840Pro 256GB. There was no clue... it was working... and then bam! nothing. Like you, the online attempt to file a warranty claim was a complete bust, so I called... and had my replacement drive the next day. I was sort of irked... here I paid top dollar for a premium SSD with a 5-year warranty, it dies in less than a year, and I get a refurb in exchange. Not exactly confidence inspiring, nor conducive to customer loyalty. All of my SSD's since have been Intel, Crucial, or Plextor.
 

sinisterDei

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Jun 18, 2001
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#14
and I get a refurb in exchange.
This doesn't bother me. I RMA a lot of mechanical hard drives and I'm pretty used to getting a refurb back. It doesn't bother me as long as the warranty continues as expected, which it does. It's not like I'm sending in brand-new hardware; the stuff I am RMAing is definitely 'used' so I don't expect brand new to be returned to me.
 
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