what is Samsung magician: Monitor, Accelerate & Encrypt Samsung SSDs

Hello friends. In this article, I propose to consider Samsung Magician an SSD monitoring and optimization program from Samsung. One of the benefits of purchasing an NVMe or SATA SSD from Samsung is the company’s technology that is applied in software using the Samsung Magician. This program displays the status of Samsung SSDs, performs diagnostic scans, applies optimization features, securely wipes data, cleans hardware encrypted drives, and performs hardware encryption itself. Let’s take a closer look at this program.

Samsung Magician: monitoring, acceleration and encryption of SSD from Samsung

What Is Samsung Magician?

Samsung Magician is designed and sold exclusively for Samsung SSDs. Some of its functions are also available for other hard drives – such as displaying some information or testing performance, so that we can evaluate the speed advantages of Samsung SSD against the background of other information devices. But SSDs from other manufacturers and hard drives should not count on any of the more serious functions of the program. Some functions will not even be available for all Samsung drives; in particular, these are new functions that the program has added in the course of its evolution, they cannot be used for old, no longer produced SSDs. In general, the list of Samsung Magician support is as follows:

  • Internal drives 840 PRO, 840, 840 EVO, 750 EVO, 850 PRO, 850 EVO, 950 PRO, 960 PRO, 960 EVO, 850, 860 PRO, 860 EVO, 970 PRO, 970 EVO, 860 QVO, 970 EVO Plus, 870 EVO, 870 QVO, 980, 980 PRO;
  • External drives PSSD T1, PSSD T3, PSSD T5, PSSD T7, PSSD T7, PSSD X5.

The program works in Windows starting from version 7. You can download it in the section of tools and software on the Samsung website. What remarkable features does Samsung Magician have?

Information about drives

The first section of the “Drive Information” program displays brief information about all internal and external devices of the computer’s information – free and occupied space, hard disk speed tests, if any. And for Samsung drives, the temperature is additionally displayed and, in fact, the overwritten amount of information to track the wear life.

what is samsung magician

If you have problems with the temperature or the approaching wear and tear of the drive, you can minimize the program and use it as a widget for convenience of constant monitoring of indicators.

In the “Drive Details” section, Samsung Magician offers us advanced information about the computer’s information devices. Here you can find the serial number of the disk, firmware, information about the disk partitions. For SATA drives, it will show if AHCI controller mode is enabled. Friends, for SATA SSD the AHCI mode is very important, why is it important, and how to enable it if suddenly Samsung Magician shows that you have IDE mode active, see the article with a detailed discussion of this topic “Installing Windows 10 on SSD: nuances”. In the extended information of the drives, we will also see the generation of the SATA interface they support.

If you have a SATA III disk connected to a port on the SATA II motherboard, Samsung Magician will indicate at this point, and you can reconnect the disk to the SATA III port.

For NVMe drives, Samsung Magician will show the generation and PCI-E interface lines, as well as whether the NVMe driver is installed – Microsoft or Samsung.

If the drive is working fine, it doesn’t matter which driver is installed – Microsoft or Samsung. But, for example, to perform the operation of transferring Windows to an NVMe drive using the Samsung Data Migration program, Samsung recommends installing its driver so that the program works as correctly as possible.

Samsung Magician can display SMART scores for all hard drives. And also for all hard drives it can offer the operation of file classification – what types of data occupy what space on the drives.

Test of speed of work of hard drives

An opportunity that Samsung Magician provides not only for Samsung drives but for all hard drives is testing the speed of their work. In the “Performance Benchmark” section of the program, we can perform tests of the speed of sequential read and write data, as well as tests of the number of input-output operations per second IOPS.

And then compare the measured values ​​of drives in the program section “Drive Information”, wherein most cases Samsung drives will look spectacular with great performance results. But, friends, I will note here that if you want to know the real speed potential of your hard drives, their testing should be performed in the operating system and a testing program that does not work on the tested drive. In conditions when the disk needs to ensure the operation of the operating system, its processes, to ensure the operation of the testing program, due to the employment of some of the resources in the benchmark, it will, of course, give underestimated results. By the way, we can see this in the screenshot above in the Samsung 860 EVO SATA SSD test results: write speed and IOPS seriously sag. But in the operating system and Samsung Magician program, working on another disk, i.e. when fully unloaded the 860 EVO is tested to its fullest potential.

Diagnostics of memory cells

You can find out the status of the drive’s memory cells in the Samsung Magician “Diagnostic Scan” section. Here we are offered a quick or full scan of SSD memory cells for their response. The operation does not require erasing data. This is an option only for Samsung 860 PRO, 860 EVO, 860 QVO, 970 EVO Plus, 870 EVO, 870 QVO, 980, 980 PRO drives. We run the test and look at the map of the state of the cells: the good ones will be marked in blue, the bad ones, if they are, they will be marked in red.

Over Provisioning Technology

In the Samsung Magician “Over Provisioning” section, you can configure the operation of the Over Provisioning technology. This feature is available for all Samsung drives except portable ones. Friends, Over Provisioning technology is the reservation of free space on solid-state drives SSD of a certain disk space for use by the controller for the needs of the drive itself. 

The technology can improve SSD performance, improve stability, and extend the service life. This technology is already used in SSDs, which is why their actual volume available to us will always be less than the nominal volume. In SSD-drives of the user segment, the size of the space cut off by default by Over Provisioning technology is usually 7%. And in the drives of the server segment – 25%, which increases their stability and responsiveness. Well, here, in fact, Samsung Magician allows us to consciously approach the issue of Over Provisioning, to allocate, if not 25%, for the needs of the drive, i.e. 

a quarter of its disk space, as in server drives, then at least some increase to the existing 7%. In the program, we can indicate our percentage of the available SSD volume or use the recommended percentage, which is 10%. 

Click “Install OP”. And then, in our case, together with the 7% already given for Over Provisioning, its volume will be a little more than 16% of the total space on the drive. 

But, friends, experiment with this technology only if you have enough unused disk space on your drive.

Technologies of Samsung Rapid and Full Power Mode

In the “Performance Optimization” section of Samsung Magician’s optimization operations, we will find a standard optimizing option – the ability to turn on the TRIM function in case, perhaps for some reason, this function is disabled by default.

But the most remarkable function not only of this section, but, in principle, of the entire Samsung Magician and Samsung SATA drives is the possibility of using Samsung Rapid technology, a technology for improving performance at the expense of RAM and computer processor resources. The technology uses free RAM as a smart cache and dynamically optimizes data I / O for the drive. Samsung Rapid is only available for Samsung 850, 860 PRO, 860 EVO, 860 QVO, 870 EVO, 870 QVO SATA drives.

With this technology applied, the Samsung Rapid 860 EVO drive tested in our case on the DDR3 memory generation in the synthetic CrystalDiskMark tests gave a huge advantage over its own tests, but without the Samsung Rapid used. With the technology, the speed of the drive has increased in sequential and random read and write, and with different file sizes and with different queue depths. In some places, the speed has even increased several times.

technologies of samsung rapid and full power mode 1
technologies of samsung rapid and full power mode 1

In the tests of the Samsung Magician program itself, we can observe an increase in sequential read and write by 3-4 times, as well as a third increase in read IOPS.

And Samsung Magician has a new function for NVMe drives – Full Power Mode, which ensures the maximum realization of the drive’s potential, i.e. squeezes out the maximum of its performance. The mode achieves its goal by disabling energy-saving modes for PCI-E devices of the computer. Accordingly, on laptops, the Full Power Mode will entail a drawdown in the autonomy of the work. Some Western Digital drives have an analogue of this mode – Game Mode. The mode function is new, only supported by the new Samsung 980 and 980 PRO NVMe drives.

The performance gain of Full Power Mode, friends, is very insignificant, the difference can be noticeable only in certain tasks such as processing files with a large weight or in powerful modern games. Testing this mode in synthetic tests CrystalDiskMark on a Samsung 980 PRO drive showed that with and without Full Power Mode the speeds differ insignificantly, within the limits of the test error.

Safe erasing of drives

Samsung Magician has a secure erase function for drives, works for all SSDs supported by the program except portable ones. This is a function of erasing data with overwriting memory cells in order to make it impossible to restore information, which may be necessary, for example, when the drive is sold or transferred to others. In the “Secure Erase” section, we are asked to create a bootable media with software that will perform the erase operation.

Accordingly, then you will need to boot from such media and erase the Samsung drive from it. But this, my friends, is not the most successful feature of Samsung Magician. First, the company does not educate what algorithm will be used for erasing. Secondly, the software for erasing the drive itself, which works from bootable media, is of a console type in English, which most of you will probably not like. There are either easier or safer ways to erase your drive. It is easier to erase using the tools of Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 in the process of restoring the computer to its original state. It is safer to erase with special programs in the WinPE environment with the choice of the erasing algorithm and, accordingly, with an understanding of the degree of security of the operation being performed.

Erasing hardware encrypted drives

Samsung Magician’s PSID Revert feature is the ability to erase a Samsung hardware encrypted drive. Those. This is a way to reset your device to default if you forget your decryption password. The function is supported by Samsung 840 PRO, 860 PRO, 860 PRO, 860 EVO, 860 QVO, 970 EVO Plus, 870 EVO, 870 QVO, 980, 980 PRO drives. For this operation, you need to enter the 32-digit PSID password, which is indicated on the sticker of the drive.

erasing hardware encrypted drives
erasing hardware encrypted drives

To use the function, go to the “PSID Revert” section of the program, here if the drive is encrypted, the PSID Revert function will be available. Enter the PSID password and click “Start”.

Hardware encryption of drives 

And the last feature of Samsung Magician is Encrypted Drive, the hardware encryption of the drive, which provides greater data security compared to software encryption due to the fact that encryption keys are located in the Samsung drive controller, from where they cannot be stolen by an attacker. Whereas with software encryption, the keys are stored on the computer disk, which leaves the possibility of unauthorized access to them. Encrypted Drive is available for all Samsung drives except Samsung 840 and is portable. 

The encryption itself is provided by the Windows BitLocker system function and is supported in Windows 8 and Server 2012. Encrypted Drive is subject to restrictions on editions of Windows where this function is not available, therefore Samsung hardware encryption can only be used in client Windows Pro editions. And one more thing: the operating system must be installed in UEFI mode. To use Encrypted Drive, you need to rid the drive of markup and data, i.e. completely erase it, and reinstall Windows. 

In general, the procedure is as follows:

  • Create Windows UEFI installation media;
  • In current Windows, in the “Encrypted Drive” section of the Samsung Magician program, enable preparation for using the Encrypted Drive function;
  • We boot from the installation media, during the Windows installation process we delete all partitions on the drive;
  • We make a clean installation of Windows.

During the installation process, the Encrypted Drive will be enabled automatically.

Summery

This is the Samsung Magician program, my friends. In the end, I note that it is very useful to have a program for diagnosing SSD on your computer and periodically monitor its status. SSD, like any information device, is the storage of our data, in particular, especially valuable types of important documents, records, projects, personal media archives. 

If especially valuable data is not backed up on other information devices or in the clouds, it is extremely important to look after the health of the drive so that it does not suddenly fail. It is also important to keep in mind the degree of wear and tear of the drive: knowing its value as declared by the manufacturer of the TBW rewriting resource and tracking the current rewriting resource will allow you to prepare in advance for replacing the device at the end of its service life. 

And if a drive suddenly fails on the way to the value of the TWP rewriting resource, we will know for sure that it makes no sense to restore such a drive. If you have a non-Samsung SSD, you can use universal programs for diagnosing hard drives, showing the temperature, the actually overwritten amount of data, SMART characteristics, and, based on the information of this technology, signaling us about the health of the devices. These are programs like Hard Disk Sentinel CrystalDiskInfo, SSD-Z.