Samsung Issues Fix for Dying 980 Pro SSDs

Samsung 980 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Over the past few months, there have been numerous reports of Samsung 980 Pro SSD failures, with many complaints originating from China. We never heard an official statement from Samsung on the matter, but custom PC builder Puget Systems definitely took notice after it "received a surprising number of reports of failing Samsung drives." Puget worked with Samsung to identify the problem, and a firmware update is available for affected 980 Pro SSDs.

According to Puget, the failures traced back to the 3B2QGXA7 firmware and primarily affect 2TB versions of the 980 Pro (although lower capacities are not entirely immune). Puget doesn't detail the cause of the failures, but Reddit user reports suggest that the SSDs report a S.M.A.R.T. value of 0E (media and integrity error) or greater in CrystalMark or AIDA64. In addition, an 03 value (available spare) lower than 100 percent may also be reported. It's recommended to use the Samsung SSD Magician software to scan the drive for errors if the 03 or 0E value is out of spec.

"The newest one is one of the 2TB ones. Over 2000 errors already," reported user RaXelliX on Reddit. "And the middle one 2TB has already failed with over 32,000 errors and is locked to read only mode. I fully expect the two others to fail soon too."

"Bought a 2TB 980 Pro in February of this year and installed it a few months later in May. Manufactured August 2021," added Meme_Attack in a separate Reddit thread. "Lasted a grand total of 4 months before I noticed Media Errors ballooning from 300 to 6,000+ after a full Samsung Magician scan. Also found 9 red blocks through the same scan. Lost 5% of available spare, drive's at 95% as I speak. 4.1 TB written. Super careful and light use." 

(Image credit: Puget Systems)

So, what happens if your drive reports abnormal 0E or 03 values? Well, it usually means that your 980 Pro is on a one-way ticket to an early death. According to Puget, the most common issue that users face is that the SSD goes into read-only mode. Given that most users have their OS installed on the SSD, read-only access makes the boot drive unusable. Unfortunately, once your 980 Pro goes into this failure state, there is no way to recover your data, even with the firmware update.

However, the new firmware update from Samsung will prevent the failures from occurring in the first place if your drive is still functioning. So, if you have a 980 Pro running the 3B2QGXA7 firmware, you'll want to update to the newest firmware (5B2QGXA7) using the Samsung SSD Magician software ASAP. It should be noted that 980 Pro SSDs running the 4B2QGXA7 or 5B2QGXA7 firmware are not affected by this issue.

Puget Systems customers who have already experienced a Samsung 980 Pro SSD failure or have problems using the Samsung SSD Magician software can contact the company for guidance. All other 980 Pro users would need to reach out to their respective system builder or contact Samsung directly if the SSD was bought from a third party.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • USAFRet
    While mine is only a 1TB, there is no new firmware as of yet.

  • blacknemesist
    USAFRet said:
    While mine is only a 1TB, there is no new firmware as of yet.

    Something is wrong here. I have the same drive and have the latest driver, probably came with the drive since it is only 2 months old but still.

    Edit : For some reason it is not in the support of the drive directly but here :
    Still odd that you have an outdated Magician and firmware.
  • digitalgriffin
    Samsung should replace the affected drives due to premature failure. No if ands or buts.

    My Samsung magician says I can't run diagnostics on my 970 evo plus because I don't have the latest firmware. Yet when I go to the firmware page it says "you have the latest firmware" go figure.

    Not a good look Samsung
  • letmepicyou
    Can hardly wait to see what happens when people start to benchmark these after the firmware "fix"...
  • user7007
    I had a 980 pro 2tb die last year with those symptoms. My replacement has been fine but it has the newer firmware, so hopefully it's safe.
  • major_mayhem
    Well this explains what happened to my first one. I had the 2tb pcie 4 980 pro when it first came out ... it didn't last a year until it went into read only mode. I was able to connect it to an external and download the data off of it but I could not boot from the drive or manipulate the data (Delete, Format, etc). Samsung couldn't (or wouldn't) send me a new replacement drive, they just refunded me what I paid for the drive, fortunately I was able to buy 2 new drives for the same price as the 1 original. Both have the current firmware.
  • drivinfast247
    I have 2 980 Pros in my PC. The other day Magician pops up and says there's an update. Clicked the pop-up and it showed no update available.
  • PlaneInTheSky
    I have had nothing but bad experiences with Samsung.

    Bought 2 Samsung SSD, both died within 2 years.

    Had a Samsung Galaxy phone, it developed the famous Samsung battery bloating problem.

    My current SSD is from WD, and my smartphone from OnePlus. No problems.
  • Pointingouttheobvious
    Admin said:
    Samsung 980 Pros can go into a read-only failure mode that can make data recovery difficult, if not impossible. A firmware fix is now available.

    Samsung Issues Firmware Fix for 980 Pro SSD Failures : Read more

    read-only access makes the boot drive unusable. Unfortunately, once your 980 Pro goes into this failure state, there is no way to recover your data

    That was written by a senior editor at Tom’s Hardware… It locks in”Read Only” mode specifically so you can recover data. Kinda dumb to call a mode “Read Only” if the data cant be read and if the data can be read it can be recovered.

    Quick question: What does that guys job pay?
  • RichardtST
    Hey! Thank you for this article. I've got 3 of the dang things in my machine. All updated now. Hopefully I'm safe. Won't be buying any more from them.