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Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
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Hi all.

I've just bought a Samsung 990Pro 4TB NVMe for use with an external USB-C enclosure. As there have been reports of premature failures with some of these SSD's I've checked via S/N with Samsung that this particular drive has left the factory without the newer firmware and they've confirmed that there is in fact an update available.

The Samsung Magician Software for MacOS is appallingly limited in even displaying basic information. I don't have a Windows PC but could try use a friend's to DL the Samsung software to update the firmware. But before I go down this path, there is speculation that the NVMe drives won't even be recognized by this SW if used as an external. That only internal NVMe's can access this SW.

I did once have Samsung Magician on my MBP and it only "saw" the internal (a Samsung SATA SSD) and not the externally plugged in NVMe. That was with MacOS so am wondering if someone can confirm (or deny) the same thing will happen with the Windows approach?

Cheers
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,552
7,078
Hi all.

I've just bought a Samsung 990Pro 4TB NVMe for use with an external USB-C enclosure. As there have been reports of premature failures with some of these SSD's I've checked via S/N with Samsung that this particular drive has left the factory without the newer firmware and they've confirmed that there is in fact an update available.

The Samsung Magician Software for MacOS is appallingly limited in even displaying basic information. I don't have a Windows PC but could try use a friend's to DL the Samsung software to update the firmware. But before I go down this path, there is speculation that the NVMe drives won't even be recognized by this SW if used as an external. That only internal NVMe's can access this SW.

I did once have Samsung Magician on my MBP and it only "saw" the internal (a Samsung SATA SSD) and not the externally plugged in NVMe. That was with MacOS so am wondering if someone can confirm (or deny) the same thing will happen with the Windows approach?

Cheers
If you have the drive connected via USB 3, you won't be able to update the firmware. You can do firmware updates if the drive is in a Thunderbolt enclosure, however.
 
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Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
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If you have the drive connected via USB 3, you won't be able to update the firmware. You can do firmware updates if the drive is in a Thunderbolt enclosure, however.
That's great news, have this TB enclosure coming soon. Does this mean it could potentially work with Magician SW loaded on MacOS or firmware updates still limited to Windows?
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,552
7,078
That's great news, have this TB enclosure coming soon. Does this mean it could potentially work with Magician SW loaded on MacOS or firmware updates still limited to Windows?
When I updated the last one I tried, it was connected to Windows but I'd assume it'd work in Mac Magician too.
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
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When I updated the last one I tried, it was connected to Windows but I'd assume it'd work in Mac Magician too.
I once spoke with a Samsung rep and they insisted it has to be Windows, this however was for an internal SATA and an iso image as a workaround (there wasn't a MacOS Magician out back then. Fast forward to recently and Samsung's official stance was that Magician will flatly not see a NVMe if not internal, "it's not designed for any other use".

Your reply has made it hopeful. The last 990Pro's I got where 2TB and left the factory already with the latest FW. This 4 TB didn't. If it updates I won't have to return it. Will post back how it went.

Thanks again.
 

Alpha Centauri

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Oct 13, 2020
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@chrfr update: fitted the offending NVMe into a TB enclosure and downloaded Magician. The MacOS version seems more of an entertaining UI with little functionality, well, there is a speed test and I can see the current firmware. Did get excited to see "Update" on there but it pertained to the App itself unfortunately.

My Windows buddy doesn't have TB capability so this only leaves the option of my computer shop temporarily installing internally, onto one of their computers, just to do this firmware update. Wish there was an easier option with what I now have and using the online ISO file that Samsung make publically available on their update page.
 
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Brian33

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2008
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Thanks for the report on the macOS version of Samsung Magician, @Alpha Centauri

I don't know if you have an Intel-based Mac. If so, you could (temporarily) install BootCamp Windows. Then the Windows Magician software would see the SSD in your Thunderbolt external enclosure. At least, it did for me:

I have a Late 2015 iMac (Monterey) with BootCamp set up with Windows 10, and an external Thunderbolt (2) connected enclosure (Akitio Thunder 2 Duo Pro). Until recently I had a Samsung 2.5" SATA SSD (860, I think) in there, and I have run the Magician software via BootCamp. It was able to retrieve SMART data and to run diagnostic tests. I'm not certain that the firmware update feature was enabled, but I think it was.

It would be a lot of hassle to go through, but you can download (from Microsoft) Windows 10 and use it without buying a license.

To me it's maddening that SSD marketers don't seem to provide a better pathway for Mac users to update firmware. Relying on a Windows-only program is not good enough! In years past I had updated firmware for a Crucial SSD and a Plextor SSD. IIRC, I had to create special bootable *NIX thumb drives with the SSD firmware on it. And I believe the SSD had to be in a Thunderbolt enclosure. It worked, but it sure wasn't something I'd want a typical user to try.
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
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Thanks for the report on the macOS version of Samsung Magician, @Alpha Centauri
There really wasn't much there, unfortunately :)
I don't know if you have an Intel-based Mac. If so, you could (temporarily) install BootCamp Windows. Then the Windows Magician software would see the SSD in your Thunderbolt external enclosure. At least, it did for me:

I have a Late 2015 iMac (Monterey) with BootCamp set up with Windows 10, and an external Thunderbolt (2) connected enclosure (Akitio Thunder 2 Duo Pro). Until recently I had a Samsung 2.5" SATA SSD (860, I think) in there, and I have run the Magician software via BootCamp. It was able to retrieve SMART data and to run diagnostic tests. I'm not certain that the firmware update feature was enabled, but I think it was.
I've got the M2 MBP and a rather patched 2009 5,3 MBP with FW400/800, USB-A 2.0. But yes, otherwise your suggestion is solid but not really possible with the hardware and subsequent necessity for TB. On this old machine (way way pre Magician for MacOS) I went through hoops updating an internal Samsung 2"5 sata SSD. It required making a bootstick using UNetbootin tool and was, as such, officially endorsed by Samsung. It did work and it stumps me why this isn't possible then with an external drive also. I cannot comment if there's some technical limitation to this? At any rate, I'd be happy if it works with Windows in my TB enclosure and then I'll equally be mad that this functionality isn't available in Magician with the MacOS version. Well, hopefully it won't have to be installed internally "somewhere" and the Windows Magician can weave it's magic as was the case for @chrfr.

It would be a lot of hassle to go through, but you can download (from Microsoft) Windows 10 and use it without buying a license.

To me it's maddening that SSD marketers don't seem to provide a better pathway for Mac users to update firmware. Relying on a Windows-only program is not good enough! In years past I had updated firmware for a Crucial SSD and a Plextor SSD. IIRC, I had to create special bootable *NIX thumb drives with the SSD firmware on it. And I believe the SSD had to be in a Thunderbolt enclosure. It worked, but it sure wasn't something I'd want a typical user to try.
My other thought is that surely it should be an easy endevour to install a firmware update, especially in such cases where there were design faults, aimed to be aleviated by the manufacturer. Again, I don't know anything on this subject matter but shouldn't it be easier to update on an external, rather than in an internal drive? I have no idea.

End of the day, if I have no luck then the drive will have to be returned. I suppose I could order a new one and hope it has a later firmware installed ex factory but this requires the full S/N that's only displayed on the physical drive itself. This is all something I'd rather not do really. Especially returning drives that had my data on it is always iffy for me.

I'm also surprised there isn't so my information on the interweb regarding this very scenario for Mac users, perhaps as the MacOS Magician is so new or because many doing this are still using Intel Macs. Who knows.

Edit: I formatted the NVMe for the attempted update to ExFat, but all this shouldn't really play a vital role in this scenario I'd think?
 
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Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
1,261
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@tsialex hi. Can I invite you to this conversation even though it's not a MP, you seem quite knowledgeable on such matters. The upshot:

I have a 2023 M2 MBP, a Samsung 990Pro NVMe+TB enclosure, Samsung Magician software for MacOS. I'd like to update the Firmware of the SSD but it's not a functionality of Magician for Mac. Drive is recognized in the App and certain, limited functions are available. Could you think of a work around besides me chasing a Windows computer for this and installing the Magician software onto it? Apparently with a TB housing this works. Samsung's official stance is that this drive is only for external use and as such only such updates are supported.

Cheers
 

tsialex

Contributor
Jun 13, 2016
13,144
13,332
@tsialex hi. Can I invite you to this conversation even though it's not a MP, you seem quite knowledgeable on such matters. The upshot:

I have a 2023 M2 MBP, a Samsung 990Pro NVMe+TB enclosure, Samsung Magician software for MacOS. I'd like to update the Firmware of the SSD but it's not a functionality of Magician for Mac. Drive is recognized in the App and certain, limited functions are available. Could you think of a work around besides me chasing a Windows computer for this and installing the Magician software onto it? Apparently with a TB housing this works. Samsung's official stance is that this drive is only for external use and as such only such updates are supported.

Cheers

First thing, firmware upgrades for NVMe blades only work when connected directly to a PCIe slot/M.2 slot or a TB enclosure, won't work via USB.

Samsung always provided a bootable CD for firmware upgrading with a Mac, but I don't think that will work with a Apple Silicon Mac.

You will have to use a PC, a Intel Mac via TB or a 2009 to 2019 Intel Mac Pro. AFAIK, Windows for Arm also can't upgrade it.
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
1,261
989
First thing, firmware upgrades only work when connected directly to a PCIe slot/M.2 slot or a TB enclosure, won't work via USB.
I only fulfill the criteria of having a TB enclosure.
Samsung always provided a bootable CD for firmware upgrading with a Mac, but I don't think that will work with a Apple Silicon Mac.
I remember creating a bootstick with UNetbootin + downloaded Samsung iso file for updating an internal Samsung sata SSD firmware on a 5,3. Come to think of it I did much the same prior using a CD for the same thing on the same laptop. Ok, they were both internals.
You will have to use a PC, a Intel Mac via TB or a 2009 to 2019 Intel Mac Pro. AFAIK, Windows for Arm also can't upgrade it.
"Windows for Arm"..what PC's does that usually exclude from my search? Alas, I only have a 2009 MBP with no Windows on it.
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
1,261
989
A PC with ARM processor, besides some ultra portables like Microsoft Surface and some servers, nothing else is ARM.



No TB or PCIe with 2009 MBPs.
But Firewire instead, the be all end all back in the day for me:) Thanks so much for clarifying all with such a speedy reply. I knew you'd know for sure. Thank you
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 13, 2020
1,261
989
I still fail to understand why Samsung Magician for Windows supports firmware updates, yet the latest Mac version doesn't. It even contain the instruction set in the support>update section of when and how to go about it. Sure, neither mention attacking this with an external TB and drive sitting in there, but still. Why should one work and the other doesn't?
 
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