Cheap Intel enterprise SSDs on eBay

Don.key

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Apr 10, 2020
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Hey Everyone!

The prices for Inter Enterprise NVMe drives seem to be too good to be true, even when compared with current consumer grade SSDs in the same capacity. I am talking about P3700 2TB PCIe or 2TB DC P4510 and alikes, all from China.

Is that some stock being dumped or did Chinese started mass producing counterfeits of those drives? There are many buyers and no negative feedbacks.

Has anyone purchased one those cheap enterprise grade Intel DC SSDs on eBay? What are your experiences?
 

BlueFox

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Oct 26, 2015
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Looks like old Dell stock. Pretty hard to counterfeit a card like that. I'm personally running a P4600 3.2TB drive in my desktop that bought off eBay and have had no issues.

Those prices also seem quite high. My P4600 3.2TB cost me $400 a year ago and it was brand new. You could pick up a P4600 6.4TB for a similar price as that P3700 and get higher IOPS, lower latency, and similar endurance.
 

Tourman

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Nov 24, 2016
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For that price, you could buy a Fusion-IO 6TB card from ebay for around $400~. I got 3TB cards for $200 each,
 

Don.key

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Apr 10, 2020
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Just as an info: I have purchased those P3700 and they are indeed brand new and recognised by Intel SSD Toolkit, latest firmware can be flashed by Intel Tools. (Despite the fact that this is Dell stock).

After learning, by part first hand (Samsung pm1725a mess), about all the OEM devices, outdated firmware, abandoned or locked down support etc. I must say that ability to update to latest firmware is almost a killer criteria for the device now, at least for me.
 

111alan

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Mar 11, 2019
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Haerbing Institution of Technology
I know several of those dealers. They usually deal with retired drives from datacenters or hardware companies like dell.

P4x00 series is not recommended, even there are a large number of these drives on the market with an extremely low price tag. There seems to be some deficiencies within the micron 32L 3D NAND they use that caused a large amount of these drives to fail. This problem is especially obvious in P4500 drives where some sellers reported a 10-30% fail rate. This may be the reason why there are so many of these drives in the second-hand market.

P4x10 drives are much more reliable, but they come in small numbers so the price is significantly higher. P3700 has better steady-state write performance and write-endurance because it has a huge OP capacity(3456GB raw NAND capacity for 2TB model) but don't expect it to be better than P3500 or P3600 in any other area.

PM1725(including a/b) is stronger than all 3 above in performance, but make sure not to buy something with ES firmware(that is, version A8 or later). Oracle/Dell/HP versions are recommended due to the availability of firmware updates.
 

Don.key

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Apr 10, 2020
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Hi @111alan ,

Thank you! Very valuable input. So, the A8, where is it in the firmware version code? For example mine has GPNA0A3Q, am I correct to assume that this is ES firmware A0 or A3?

Thanks
 
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111alan

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Mar 11, 2019
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Hi @111alan ,

Thank you! Very valuable input. So, the A8, where is it in the firmware version code? For example mine has GPNA0A3Q, am I correct to assume that this is ES firmware A0 or A3?

Thanks
The first 3 letter determines the model, for example, IPV is SM1715, KPY is PM1725, GPJ is PM1725b. The next 2 is version, like A8 or AG. Then it's oem vendor, like D for dell, R for oracle. The last 2 letter isn't clear for me yet, look like a random number combined with a "Q".

Yes your interpretion is correct.

BTW dell is different, they use some formate like x.x.x(for example 1.1.2) for their formal version of drives, starting at PM1725a.
 
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Don.key

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Apr 10, 2020
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Oh, that's "great", I have an Engineering Sample SSD with first firmware release )) What could go wrong?
 

111alan

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Oh, that's "great", I have an Engineering Sample SSD with first firmware release )) What could go wrong?
There could be some corner-case data integrity errors or bad handling of unexpected power loss. The worst case is bricking but it's unlikely, since the fail rate of PM1725 series is already far less than Intel drives from my observation.
 
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Iaroslav

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I know several of those dealers. They usually deal with retired drives from datacenters or hardware companies like dell.
P4x00 series is not recommended, even there are a large number of these drives on the market with an extremely low price tag. There seems to be some deficiencies within the micron 32L 3D NAND they use that caused a large amount of these drives to fail. This problem is especially obvious in P4500 drives where some sellers reported a 10-30% fail rate. This may be the reason why there are so many of these drives in the second-hand market.
P4x10 drives are much more reliable, but they come in small numbers so the price is significantly higher. P3700 has better steady-state write performance and write-endurance because it has a huge OP capacity(3456GB raw NAND capacity for 2TB model) but don't expect it to be better than P3500 or P3600 in any other area.
Thank's for the info!
Almost started a new topic, but found few pretty similar to what I'm into as well, still no answer.
Like maybe anyone here I was tempted with this P4600 6.4Tb, ordered one and, wow - I was impressed with its performance.
No major issues under heavy load until now, but yes, it's probably Oracle branded disks, so they appear like:
Model Number: 7335940:ICDPC2DD2ORA6.4T
Firmware Version: QDV1RE14
isdct show
- Intel SSD DC P4600 Series PHLE739200466P4OGN -

Bootloader : 0116
DevicePath : /dev/nvme2n1
DeviceStatus : Healthy
Firmware : QDV1RE14
FirmwareUpdateAvailable : No known update for SSD. If an update is expected, please contact your SSD Vendor representative about firmware update for this drive.
Index : 2
ModelNumber : 7335940:ICDPC2DD2ORA6.4T
ProductFamily : Intel SSD DC P4600 Series
SerialNumber : PHLE739200466P4OGN
I've got Intel branded ones too, successfully updated firmware but can't say anything due to low usage hours:
Model Number: INTEL SSDPE2KE064T8
Firmware Version: VDV10170

And Oracle P4610:
Model Number: 7361456_ICRPC2DD2ORA6.4T
Firmware Version: VDV1RL02


3 of 4 Oracle P4610 disks show some errors, after them some files got stuck at copying, but fsck gets them back to normal:
Media and Data Integrity Errors: 21.412
Error Information Log Entries: 21.412
Available Spare: 99%

Error Information (NVMe Log 0x01, max 64 entries)
Num ErrCount SQId CmdId Status PELoc LBA NSID VS
0 176 13 0x0345 0xc502 0x000 7286288552 1 -
1 175 15 0x0046 0xc502 0x000 7286108280 1 -
2 174 18 0x0088 0xc502 0x000 7286064208 1 -


My questions:
1. How critical are such errors?
2. Is it possible (and safe) to force firmware update with isdct on side-branded disks?
 
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111alan

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Mar 11, 2019
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Thank's for the info!
Almost started a new topic, but found few pretty similar to what I'm into as well, still no answer.
Like maybe anyone here I was tempted with this P4600 6.4Tb, ordered one and, wow - I was impressed with its performance.
No major issues under heavy load until now, but yes, it's probably Oracle branded disks, so they appear like:
Model Number: 7335940:ICDPC2DD2ORA6.4T
Firmware Version: QDV1RE14
isdct show


I've got Intel branded ones too, successfully updated firmware but can't say anything due to low usage hours:
Model Number: INTEL SSDPE2KE064T8
Firmware Version: VDV10170

And Oracle P4610:
Model Number: 7361456_ICRPC2DD2ORA6.4T
Firmware Version: VDV1RL02


3 of 4 Oracle P4610 disks show some errors, after them some files got stuck at copying, but fsck gets them back to normal:
Media and Data Integrity Errors: 21.412
Error Information Log Entries: 21.412
Available Spare: 99%

Error Information (NVMe Log 0x01, max 64 entries)
Num ErrCount SQId CmdId Status PELoc LBA NSID VS
0 176 13 0x0345 0xc502 0x000 7286288552 1 -
1 175 15 0x0046 0xc502 0x000 7286108280 1 -
2 174 18 0x0088 0xc502 0x000 7286064208 1 -


My questions:
1. How critical are such errors?
2. Is it possible (and safe) to force firmware update with isdct on side-branded disks?
1. Not very important, sometimes an unexpected power loss or a bad cable could generate some errors. As long as the "available spare" does't go down too much the the chips themselves are unlikely to have any hardware problem. I suggest, when you get your hands on a drive, always secure erase it(to remove any potential FTL problem by rebuilding FTL itself), run some heavy write tests, and see if more error appears.

2. If you de-compile and modify the package, or bypass the encryption and extract the firmware binaries, the it's possible, but cross-flashing the firmware is extremely dangerous, even when doing it on an ES drive of the same model. Better try finding a way to get Oracle's new firmware release.
 
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AmusedGoose

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Mar 16, 2019
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PM1725(including a/b) is stronger than all 3 above in performance, but make sure not to buy something with ES firmware(that is, version A8 or later). Oracle/Dell/HP versions are recommended due to the availability of firmware updates.

The first 3 letter determines the model, for example, IPV is SM1715, KPY is PM1725, GPJ is PM1725b. The next 2 is version, like A8 or AG. Then it's oem vendor, like D for dell, R for oracle. The last 2 letter isn't clear for me yet, look like a random number combined with a "Q".
So KPYA7R3Q would be PM1725 with stock firmware A7, so should be avoided?
 
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111alan

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Mar 11, 2019
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So KPYA7R3Q would be PM1725 with stock firmware A7, so should be avoided?
My suggestion is to avoid when possible. The price difference is usually not that big. But if there isn't a formal version and the known bugs(like having empty namespaces, or other things listed on OEM sites) doesn't bother you then you can settle with it. From what I know it's still less likely to fail than the intel P4x00 series.
 
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pelcasandra

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May 14, 2021
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My suggestion is to avoid when possible. The price difference is usually not that big. But if there isn't a formal version and the known bugs(like having empty namespaces, or other things listed on OEM sites) doesn't bother you then you can settle with it. From what I know it's still less likely to fail than the intel P4x00 series.
Would you mean explaining why it is better to avoid these? I just purchased a few A2 and would like to understand what impact this may have on them.
 

Don.key

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111alan

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Would you mean explaining why it is better to avoid these? I just purchased a few A2 and would like to understand what impact this may have on them.
Only problems I know are lower steady-state performance, possibility of dropping offline at high load, and a namespace bug(which makes the drive appears like 32 drives in system but only 1 have capacity).

And be aware that updating the firmware on an ES drive may risk bricking the drive. There could be some prerequisites that we don't know. I destroyed a SM1715 this way before :(
 
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