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Intel Updates SSD Firmware

Gordon Kelly

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Intel Updates SSD Firmware

While there are far cheaper SSDs on the market, right now there remains only one clear winner and that margin of victory looks set to become even bigger...

The stupefyingly quick Intel X25-M today receives its first official firmware update (v8820) with Intel claiming it "has several continuous improvement optimizations intended to provide the best possible user experience with the Intel SSD."

Despite this modest description, the primary focus of the firmware is to fix issues regarding long term file fragmentation - the bane of many of a solid state drive. Good news is initial reports suggest the firmware does exactly this making the X-25M operate virtually as fast on a defragmented system as a brand new install. Even better news is the firmware can be applied to the drive without destroying your data (though Intel obviously recommends backing it up first just to be sure).

The flasher (sometimes I despair at IT phraseology) is just 2.95MB in size and comes in the form of an ISO to create a CD image. The whole process only takes a few seconds and would seem a must for anyone who was prepared to pay top dollar for cutting edge performance.

Grab the firmware update from the link below and let us know how you get on. Remember: backup just to be sure!

Links:

Intel SSD Firmware Update Page

via PC Perspective

Keithe6e

April 14, 2009, 6:34 pm

@Despite this modest description, the primary focus of the firmware is to fix issues regarding long term file fragmentation





Fragmentation?, I thought these devices acted like normal SATA drives. IOW: It's the OS that's responsible file sector allocations, and SATA drives know nothing about files, sectors maybe. Could it be some sort of Sector mapping there talking about here, a bit like the bad sector mappings you get with normal HD's?.

Gordon394

April 14, 2009, 6:56 pm

@Keith no, SSDs operate completely differently than regular HDDs but drive performance on all SSDs has been shown to drop off as the drive gets fragmented over time.

smc8788

April 14, 2009, 7:06 pm

SATA is just a storage interface, so although SSDs still use the SATA interface, it has no bearing on how the drive operates. I was under the impression, however, that SSDs didn't need to be defragmented (hence no fragmentation), but I guess I am wrong? Surely with their incredibly low random seek times the performance drop off would be minimal?

BinnsY768

April 14, 2009, 7:15 pm

Can you not just use standard defrag programs to defrag an SSD every so often?

Gordon394

April 14, 2009, 7:16 pm

We all thought so at the time, but fragmentation does still cause problems. Problem is defragmentation isn't recommended in general as it causes a lot of wear on the SSD cells. Hence the fix...

BinnsY768

April 14, 2009, 7:18 pm

Ahh of course, forgot about the limited number of write cycles, makes more sense now.

Keithe6e

April 14, 2009, 8:01 pm

mmm, for some strange reason I believed SSD's didn't have a FileSystem, the reason why you can install NTFS, FAT, Ext2, RaiserFS etc onto them.. IOW: It's the OS responsibility for the FileSystem, are you 100% sure this uses a filesystem, and not some sort of block/sector mapping like I pointed out?. Maybe it's some sort of mapping to reduce the Read/Write cycles used.

Keithe6e

April 14, 2009, 8:10 pm

@smc8788: SATA is just a storage interface, so although SSDs still use the SATA interface, it has no bearing on how the drive operates





Yes, I know that, the same is true for PATA. But that has nothing to do with what I was talking about. :) My point was that the term FileSystem was used, and I believe that is not the case, maybe the term FileSystem was used as it sounds better than block manager.





Maybe this link will explain things better than me. ->


http://www.pcper.com/article.p...

FuricTrax

April 14, 2009, 9:24 pm

Anandtech.com has a brilliant and perhaps overly in depth article about SSDs and why the performance degrades so dramatically when they start to get full. Continual optimization by the drive can help massively to reduce this performance hit which for some drives can be a hit of 75% or more in certain scenarios. See here





http://www.anandtech.com/stora...

Dreamwalker

April 15, 2009, 12:34 am

PC Perspective has an article which actualy "caused" the new Intel firmware. Recommendet reading: http://www.pcper.com/article.p...

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