web analytics

Home of my tech rants, free programs, and a story or two…

Avoid Samsung SSDs at all costs!

This includes the new 850 series!

To those that may not know about the issue that has been plaguing many users who have both the 840 and 840 EVO SSD products, the 840 series (non-Pro) has a serious hardware design flaw in which data that is older than 60 to 90 days reads far, far slower than data that is newer. Some people have seen read speeds as low as 50 MB/s, yes you read right… 50 Megabytes per Second! That’s slower than slow notebook hard drives!

The reason is that the Samsung 840 and 840 EVO uses TLC NAND Flash Memory, specifically 19nm NAND Flash. There is much speculation but the most logical reason why the data read speeds become lower as the data ages is because of severe electron leakage between the NAND flash cells which results in a much larger voltage drift inside the NAND flash cell.

Lets rewinds back a couple of months ago to when Samsung acknowledged the issue in the first place. They promised a firmware fix for the SSD along with a performance restoration tool. All the performance restoration tool did was rewrite the data to get the data’s read speed performance back. The firmware fix promised that this issue would never come back because they supposedly tweaked the voltage calculation algorithms and that data read speeds would be consistent from there on out. Fast forward to today and we know that that promise was something not to be believed.

So here we are, owners of the Samsung 840 and 840 EVO drives sit with SSDs that will forever experience these data read speed slow downs along with a very good possibility that data may become corrupted in the SSDs due to voltage drift in the NAND cell. Samsung said that something would be coming out in March and again, here we are in April and nothing but silence from Samsung.

Samsung lied to us when they told users of the 840 EVO that the firmware fix will solve the issue. And then when the problem came back, they lied to us again when they said that they would deliver another supposed fix. Samsung has no intention of fixing this issue. They can’t fix this issue. This is a hardware design flaw and one that would need a worldwide recall of the 840 EVO and by extension the 840 but Samsung won’t do that.

So at this point I call upon all users to avoid Samsung SSDs at all costs! Hell, I’d go so far as to avoid all Samsung products. If it has Samsung’s name on it, avoid it like the plague! This includes SSDs, hard drives, computers, televisions, tablets, smartphones, etc. Anything made by them, do not buy! Boycott this lying and cheating company!

The Samsung 840 EVO… An SSD with an obvious hardware design flaw.

The Samsung 840 EVO SSD has a very well known issue that results in reduced performance while reading older stored data. The issue manifests itself as reduced read speeds when you start to read data that is older than three months (90 days). This has been talked about in length on Overclock.net’s SSD forum as well as several reputable technology enthusiast news sites. Normally the SSD can read data from the drive at speeds around 500 MB/s but when reading older data read speeds can be as low as 50 to 100 MB/s which is drastically lower than that of the advertised speed of the SSD. This can effect the speed of loading programs as well as Windows itself.

Samsung admitted that there is indeed a problem and released a firmware patch back in October of 2014 that promised to fix the issue with the SSD. Now, several months later and we are back to where we started; reduced read performance. Samsung stated that they have plans to release some kind of software solution to improve performance of the SSD but that it would need to be done every couple of months. This is nothing but a band-aid, it is not a solution. It’s only purpose is to mask the issue and make it less noticeable to the users of the device.

The general consensus of users of the Samsung 840 EVO the world over is that this issue is a hardware design flaw and one that Samsung is simply trying to cover up.

I call on Samsung to refund or recall every single 840 EVO that has been sold.

Setting The Record Straight

My last couple of posts have made several people call me a fanboi. And you know what, I may have very well sounded like one. That’s right, I may have very well sounded like an Apple fanboi.

Putting The Blame Where The Blame Needs To Be Put

My last couple of mobile devices have been Android devices. First a Motorola Droid Charge, then a Galaxy Nexus, followed up by a Galaxy S4 and then finally a Galaxy Note 3. What really turned me off of Android recently is how Samsung treated the last two devices I had, namely the S4 and the Note 3. Both of those devices had not seen updates in many months. Meanwhile, Google kept churning out new versions of Android. Though, I can’t blame Samsung completely, some of the blame can be put on my cell carrier; AT&T. They don’t want to invest the time and money into approving and releasing new Android OS updates when they can just turn around and sell you a new device. Putting together, approving, and distributing software updates isn’t cheap; it takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that the update goes relatively smoothly and even then, the updates don’t always go as clean as one would want them to go. So when something does go wrong more often than not the customer blames the carrier and demands a new device which of course costs the carriers money. So really I put the blame for the mess that Android is in squarely on the shoulders of the OEMs and carriers, they’re the reason why Android is so fragmented.

Some people brought it to my attention that Google can seamlessly upgrade certain parts of the Android operating system regardless of which carrier sold you the device or what Android OEM made the device. Those updates are pushed out via updates to the Google Play Services Platform. So now people can have parts, perhaps the most critical parts of the Android system, seamlessly updated without having to do anything. This is good for the Android user. The fact that Google has to sneak these updates in behind the backs of carriers and OEMs shows how Google has lost control over Android.

I understand that Android is an open platform; one in which anyone can do anything they please to the platform. This can be anything from installing it on whatever device they choose to modifying it as they see fit. This is how Google licensed Android. This is what I have a problem with, the license that Android is licensed under. There’s far too much room for those who take Android to abuse it. We can see this in how Google has no say-so in how and when Android devices get core OS software updates. And by that I mean the base operating system (4.4 KitKat, 5.0 Lollipop, etc.) Instead, they have to sneak in updates through some kind of back door. If Google had written into the Android license a legal clause stating that when Google comes out with a new version of an Android OS release all devices running Android must get that update in a specified amount of time, we would not be in the mess we are in.

I also understand that people say that if you want a more pure version of Android you should get a Google Play Edition device or one of the other Moto devices. If you ask me, this is a sign that Google has realized their mistake in licensing Android the way they did. They have come to the conclusion that if they want control over the destiny of Android they must produce their own hardware. This is what Apple has done from the very beginning with their iOS platform.

Why Android Core OS Updates Are Important

I also understand that there is the idea that if devices get Google Play Services updates they won’t necessarily need core OS updates. I beg to differ. New versions of Android bring new features, bug fixes, and fundamental changes to how Android works at much lower levels than just updates to Google Play Services can bring to the device. For instance, the most notable change between 4.4 KitKat and 5.0 Lollipop is the forced introduction of ART or Android Run-Time.

The idea behind ART is that when an app is installed the app’s APK file (similar to an EXE file on Windows) is fully compiled to machine code upon installation of the app. Remember, an Android APK file is nothing but a compressed file that contains Java bytecode that needs to be compiled the rest of the way on the device to be run. This is very different from how things were done on versions of Android prior to 5.0. Under versions prior to 5.0, Android used the Dalvik VM in which upon running an app the app was compiled to machine code, this of course added time to the execution or opening of the app. Every time you launched an app the app’s APK file needed to be read, compiled, and executed whereas under 5.0 and ART, the app’s binary or APK file is already compiled at the time of installation saving a lot of CPU time and battery life every time you launch an app. This should also open the door for better optimization of the machine code because you have more time to compile it than during the half second before opening it under Android 4.4 and earlier. This of course should benefit devices that may not have the latest and greatest hardware in it because it reduces the CPU time needed to run apps. So you can see that having Android 5.0 Lollipop even on older devices can help increase the lifespan of the device in question.

Speaking about the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. Both devices have quad-core CPUs and at the very least 2 GBs of RAM. The hardware is no slouch. This is modern hardware by anyone’s standard. If anything, 5.0 Lollipop would benefit these two devices a great deal and may even bring new life to the devices and allow people to keep the devices longer. The S4 is only two years old and the Note 3 is only a year old. Not old hardware if you ask me. So why isn’t Samsung and AT&T upgrading these devices to 5.0 Lollipop? It comes back to what I talked about in the second paragraph of this post, they don’t want to. They would much rather sell you a new device instead of putting the effort into updating the device. I call for the idea that if they no longer want to support the device with newer versions of Android they should be forced to unlock the bootloaders like in the case of the AT&T and Verizon Galaxy S4 and Note 3 and subsequent Samsung devices sold by the carriers. That way if the user wants to take the time into upgrading the device themselves by installing one of the any number of third-party Android ROMs they should be able to do so without issue and not have to worry about a locked down bootloader.

The Apple Hardware Way

In the case of the Apple iPhone devices, Apple maintains control over their hardware. They don’t just control the hardware but also the software as well. This has allowed Apple to marry the software and hardware together in ways no Android device maker can ever hope to do. Some might say that that’s the reason why Apple devices run so well, the software is hyper-optimized for the hardware on which it’s running. The current version of iOS, version 8.x, is still supported on devices dating back to the iPhone 4s which at this time is nearly four years old. There’s rumors that iOS 9 will be still be supported on the iPhone 4s which at the time of iOS 9 the device will be nearly five years old. That’s an amazing track record when it comes to supporting older hardware. This is similar to how you can install Windows 7 on six year old hardware and still have it run decently.

Changing To The iPhone

I’ve had my iPhone 6 Plus for a little over a month now. So far I’ve loved every moment of it. The operating system is smooth, it runs well, and I can’t make it lag. Even with several apps open and multitasking the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t skip a beat. The battery life is amazing on the device. Even when under heavy load the iPhone’s battery life outshines that of my previous Android devices by a wide country mile. Even the apps seem more polished on the iPhone than on Android. My iPhone experience has been nothing short of amazing, far better than Android in so many different ways.

In a lot of ways, I just want my phone to work. When I need to make a phone call, I need it to work. When I need to send a text message, I need it to work. When I need to get directions because I’m lost, I need it to work. I don’t want to worry about whether or not I have the battery life to be able to do what I need to do. Though Android also did work in those cases there were many times when I’d find my battery close to being dead and I didn’t even touch the device. There were many times when I had my Note 3 in my pocket and had not touched it for three hours and the battery life was already down 15% or more. And yes, I was connected to WiFi so there shouldn’t have been any need to use LTE to send or receive data. So the obvious question is… What drained my battery so badly?

I hate to say this but in a lot of ways, Apple was right when it comes to multitasking on mobile devices. Apps should not be able to run in the background indefinitely chewing up battery life, the OS should have the ability to tell an app to go to sleep. Android doesn’t have this ability, apps can (and do) run indefinitely in the background and more often than not can drain your battery dry. I’m looking at you Facebook, you’re the worst offender of them all! Mobile devices by their very nature are power limited devices, they need to have strong power management capabilities built into the core operating system. This is what Apple iOS has, it can tell an app that it’s time is up and it needs to go to sleep.

Apple vs. Android

People call Apple iOS the most restrictive operating system in which Android claims that they are the most open platform. Sure, Android does allow for a lot of customization but because of that customization it can result in a very fragmented system in which not everything fits together nicely. iOS may very well be a restrictive platform but everything just works. Asking Siri to do something results in it just working. I can tell Siri to set timers, alarms, calendar events, and reminders all without even unlocking my phone. I can even ask Siri for sports scores or even a weather report. I wasn’t able to do any of that on Android, or at least it wasn’t nearly as easy to do as it is on iOS with Siri.

As for the restrictions, I’ve not run into one situation in which Apple iOS 8 has prevented me from doing something I’ve wanted to do on my device. Now this may be different because I’m running iOS 8 and past versions of iOS were far more restrictive than iOS 8 is. Version 8 has really opened the iOS platform up and removed a lot of the roadblocks that were in the system. Like I said before, I’ve not run into any restrictions that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. Even the most important app that I use, Lastpass, the app that stores my saved passwords integrates right into Safari on my iPhone and allows me to fill login forms with relative ease. This would not have been possible without the platform improvements in iOS 8 which lifted a lot of the restrictions on what apps can and can’t do on the platform. With iOS 8 Apple has managed to walk the fine line of user restrictions to maintain system integrity while still allowing the user to do what they need to do.

The Samsung 840 EVO performance bug is back… Part 2

Some more users have confirmed that their 840 EVOs are still bugged even with the last firmware fix. Even PCPerspective has confirmed that they too are seeing the same issues.
Samsung 840 EVO Performance Restoring Firmware Only Partially Effective

Samsung… you tried to fix this problem before with a firmware fix, obviously it didn’t work. At this point, we the owners of these SSDs call upon Samsung to do the right thing. Replace these SSDs!

Sign the Samsung 840 EVO Replacement Petition and make Samsung right this mistake!

The Samsung 840 EVO performance bug is back…

It seems that the firmware “fix” that Samsung put out nearly three months ago to correct the read speeds of old data on the 840 EVO did nothing.

A number of users over at the Overclock.net Forums, including myself, are experiencing the same very issues with the SSD that Samsung claimed the firmware “fix” would correct. You can see (at the link below) that a number of users have posted screen shots of HD Tune clearly showing that the issue still exists.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1507897/samsung-840-evo-read-speed-drops-on-old-written-data-in-the-drive/1360

I was one of many users who were seriously hoping that this issue would be laid to rest with the firmware “fix” but based upon the benchmark data that’s been posted, that clearly isn’t the case. At this point, we need to make Samsung know that users of the 840 EVO want compensation for the flawed hardware and that we expect nothing less than a recall of the flawed hardware and replacement with new SSDs.

Some people are experiencing average read speeds as low as 280 MB/s which doesn’t even come close to saturating a SATA 6 Gbps data channel. This is exactly what a lot of us started seeing when the data on the SSD became about 2 month old, from that point on it would drop lower as the age of the data increased.

I wrote an email to Tom’s Hardware and TweakTown.com and so far I’ve received an email from an editor at TweakTown.com stating that an article is going to be hitting the front page within the next five hours. I’ll be sending an email to someone at AnandTech as soon as I find some contact info.

Windows 10… everything that Windows 8 should have been from the beginning.

I finally got my hands on the preview of Windows 10 and I have it installed in a virtual machine for testing purposes. At first glance, Windows 10 is everything that Windows 8 should’ve been from the beginning. If Windows 8 was what Windows 10 is today, it wouldn’t have been nearly as hated as Windows 8 was when it initially came out. And now, without further ado… my take on Windows 10.

Read More…Read More…

SugarSync… A lesson in ruining a good thing.

SugarSync used to be my tool of choice to keep my data backed up and synced between my computers. This included my desktop and my notebook and my brother’s computer as well. It allowed me to maintain a single music library that was exactly the same on both of my computers so as to make sure that no matter where I was I had the same content. I also used it to keep other files and folders in sync between multiple computers. Whenever I would change something on one computer it would automatically be replicated to my other computers via the cloud backup service.

SugarSync version 1.0 was a power user’s dream. It gave a lot of control over how to use the service and it had all the bells and whistles which was great for the power user like myself. Then came along version 2.0 which took away some of the power user stuff but kept most of it in. I wasn’t too worried about it since it still had a lot of the power user functionality that I needed to use the service.

Now we have version 3.0 which is an absolute piece of crap. They have taken any and all power user functionality out of the program. Want to check the status of your files as they are being backed up/uploaded? Nope, can’t do that. It says it’s uploading but where’s the percentage? In past versions you could see that but in version 3.0 you can’t do that. In version 2.0 they introduced something called SugarSync drive that mounted your SugarSync account like a network drive, it was an amazing feature. Where did that go? You guessed it, version 3.0 took it out. Then they took the ability to sync music directories out of the service simply because… oh crap, we could corrupt iTunes libraries. But I don’t have iTunes on my machine, I won’t let that piece of crap software on my machine. But still, you won’t let me sync music directories because it could corrupt an imaginary iTunes library that doesn’t exist.

With version 3.0 SugarSync managed to alienate the entire power user section of their user base just to make their software easy to use for computer know-nothing idiots. Well, they actually managed to make the software more difficult to use because they over simplified their software.

Let this be a lesson to you folks, there’s a way to make your software so “easy to use” that it can actually be more difficult to use for those people who used past versions of your software. SugarSync is completely guilty of this. A person I know said it best… “Make something any fool can use and you make something only a fool can use.”

I used to be a paying customer of SugarSync for four years… now I am not.

Oh, and one more thing SugarSync. If you don’t know what you’re doing in kernel land don’t go playing in kernel land! That’s right, your file system filter driver that you used to determined what files changed often blue screened my notebook. Lesson number two of the day is this… If you don’t know what you’re doing in kernel land don’t go playing in kernel land! It tends to send your users to a blue screen of death and in my case, a corrupted file system in which, thankfully, CHKDSK was able to correct and salvage the file system. Thank God I was running NTFS and not FAT32 or I would have been really fucked.

Intellectual Property Theft, Manufacturing, and China

We have seen time and time again that China doesn’t care at all about the intellectual property of products produced/invented by western companies and manufactured in China. You can see how they don’t care by going to eBay and seeing all of the various cheap knockoff items being sold on eBay that look like the real product yet is anything but the real product. Why? Because China absolutely does not give a damn about the intellectual property of western companies.

So I ask, why do western companies keep dealing with a country that does this? Why do they keep dealing with China knowing that their intellectual property is being stolen from them? What we’re doing is compared to inviting the thief into your home, telling them that they can just help themselves to your TV or whatever they want to steal, and telling them that it’s absolutely fine to do so.

I can’t wrap my head around why we keep doing this knowing what China is doing.

Windows 8.1 Update 1… it’s not that bad (REALLY!), Part 2

Here I am, July 1st. Still running Windows 8.1 Update 1. Yep, still running it and I haven’t at all thought about going back to Windows 7. I even bought a ModernUI app from the Windows Store! Very cool.

Now, there have been a few bugs that I have seen come up while using Windows 8.1 Update 1. It seems that when you close a ModernUI app the icon from it remains on the taskbar. It’s like the taskbar hasn’t been informed that the ModernUI app has closed. Could it be because of a weird interaction of Windows 8.1 Update 1 and ModernMIX? I don’t know. I have however did some testing.

Say I open a ModernUI app and force it to be full screen (bypassing ModernMIX) and then pull up the Windows Task Manager and then manually kill off the ModernUI app’s task, the icon for that task stays in the taskbar as if the app is still running. I have no idea why. I’m thinking that it may be an actual bug in Windows that Microsoft needs to know about and fix.

I have gotten over not being able to use WindowBlinds and the look of the UI doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I have gotten used to it.

As I stated in Part 1 of this blog post, now that I have actually taken the time to actually use Windows 8.1 and customize it what I need it be (more of a desktop OS than it was out of the box) I can’t see why I hated it so much. I look forward to the future Windows 9 and will probably be in line to buy a license of it when it becomes available to consumers.

Update
I did test on a Windows 8.1 Update 1 virtual machine installation. I have two installations of Windows 8.1 Update 1; one in a virtual machine and one running on bare metal running on the same hardware. The virtual machine version doesn’t have ModernMIX installed in it. I opened up the Weatherbug ModernUI app, minimized it, loaded the Windows Task Manager window and selected the app instance and pressed End Task. The icon stays on the taskbar. Yep, it’s a bug in Windows and Microsoft needs to know about this. If anyone has a way to contact someone at Microsoft to report this bug, please send that info to me so I can report this bug.