Samsung Can’t Catch A Break
Samsung’s reputation has taken some hits recently. We’re four months in to 2023, and their firmware snafu for the newest 990 Pro NVMe SSD’s is the least of their problems. The fact that fab workers deferred to ChatGPT to fix what ails their product development has left some egg on the organization’s face. Historically, we’ve experienced a number of issues across their product lines. Issues experienced directly with Samsung products include the following examples:
- A circa-2010 Samsung LCD TV developed image retention and burn-in roughly eighteen months into its service life.
- An almost $1,000 USD monitor from 2017 (C34F791) developed multiple dead or stuck pixels within 90 days of service life. A call to Samsung’s tragic customer service line resulted in no fix or offer for replacement.
Add in some exploding washers, exploding phones, and overheating washers for maximum effect. In the case of a software or firmware bug, the company has options available to provide relief for known errata without having to issue a formal recall. Hardware Unboxed released an update on the status of firmware-related fixes for the Odyssey Neo G9 monitor. As an owner of an Odyssey G7 based on prior reviews (and against my better judgment), I’ve jumped through the diskpart-related routines (or Rufus-based alternatives) to create a properly recognizable flash drive to update this monitor in 2022. Samsung released yet another firmware in February 2023 for the Odyssey G7 which still doesn’t fix all known issues yet does improve conditions experienced in edge use cases.
However, the fine folks at Samsung further differentiated this product line with a variant known as the T1 Faker edition. Instead of merely changing the exterior aesthetics of the monitor, the fine folks at Samsung thought it would be better to also differentiate the firmware. Samsung seems to have forgotten what they’ve done with respect to this differentiated unit as its firmware revision trails the normal Odyssey G7 by multiple versions. While the fixes noted within the Reddit community haven’t been bestowed to the T1 Faker edition yet, there was a newer version available for the monitor in our possession.
The upgrade from 1003.1 to 1004.2 should have been a simple affair of copying the file to a FAT32-formatted USB drive (with no hidden partitions), plugging said USB drive into the service port on the back of the monitor, and initiating the software update through the monitor’s menu. Alas, this was not meant to be. Suggestions found on Reddit included the following options, recommendations, and assertions:
- Drive needs to be formatted as FAT32.
- Fact Check: TRUE. This is noted in supporting documentation provided by Samsung. NTFS-formatted drives will not be recognized.
- Drive will be recognized using exFAT format.
- Fact Check: TRUE. Again, as long as it’s not NTFS-formatted and there aren’t hidden partitions, the drive will be recognized.
- The brand of the USB drive matters; SanDisk or bust.
- Fact Check: FALSE. In this instance, two different SanDisk USB drives were tested with the copied firmware; neither were recognized as containing the appropriate file to perform the update. When we finally completed the process, it was done with an ADATA 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
- The size of the USB drive matters; you’re going to have a bad time with larger USB drives.
- Fact Check: FALSE. There is no declaration in the Samsung materials which would indicate an upper limit on reading the data based upon drive size. Additionally, it’s possible to make a FAT32 partition on a large USB drive (i.e., 64GB or larger) that only uses a portion of the total capacity.
- The firmware downloaded directly from Samsung will apply without issue.
- Fact Check: FALSE.
Specifically for the T1 Faker edition of the Odyssey G7, downloading the appropriate firmware will provide a compressed archive named M-T7700CCAA-1004.2. Within this archive is what is supposed to be the necessary binary package required for the update (M-T7700CCAA-1004.2.bin). Over two hours were spent going down the rabbit hole of copying this file to no less than 20 different USB flash drives. All were appropriately formatted as FAT32. It did not matter if it was a random vendor swag flash drive, SanDisk, ADATA, Lexar, or PNY. The process kept failing. The prior list of suggestions did not provide a simple solution.
After almost two hours of playing the USB shuffle game and expecting a different result, the fix was found and it may be equally applicable for those who have the standard-issue Odyssey G7. As we noted, the file on the US Samsung website is named M-T7700CCAA-1004.2.bin. The error message when the file wasn’t found presented a slightly more truncated pattern for the file name with only four wildcard characters at the tail end of the file name. Attempting to rename the file to align with the error message with the removal of the .2 between 4 and .bin was a step in the right direction.
The rename approach based on this breadcrumb was paired with the upgrade guide available on the Samsung’s US website. Step 1 directs US users to download the file from…. <wait for it>…. the Korean website!!!! Yes. A quick trip to the provided URL and a support search for the exact same model of monitor returned yet another 1004.2 binary within an archive. Performing a file comparison between the US file and the Korean file did not find any striking differences in total file size. However, the Korean file had a different name – M-T7700CCAA-1004.2[12E0].bin. The bold characters in this secondary file name were missing from the US version. Once the US file was renamed to match the file found on Samsung’s Korean website, it was copied to a FAT32-formatted ADATA 32GB USB drive. The drive was plugged into the USB service port, the software update process was initiated through the monitor’s menu, and the update was recognized!
How does one screw up the simple QA checks and basics before publishing a firmware update at Samsung? I don’t know. Maybe we can ask ChatGPT! In the interim, the current file published on the US website is still incorrectly named. Adding [12E0] to the file name (as mentioned in the prior paragraph) will get your T1 Faker Edition Odyssey G7 up to date. Granted, still behind the standard Odyssey G7 with its February 2023 firmware update, but progress is progress.