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idata
Community Manager
15,257 Views

Is 320 firmware buggy?

http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/do-ssd-drives-really-fail-lot-t4035508.html http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/do-ssd-drives-really-fail-lot-t4035508.html

Be wary of the new Intel SSD 320 series. Currently, there's a bug in the

 

controller that can cause the device to revert to 8MB during a power

 

failure. AFAIK they have not yet publicly announced it, and won't have a

 

firmware fix ready for release until the end of July.

 

 

We had an SSD 320 600GB 2.5" SATA drive in for evaluation from our Intel

 

rep. I was able to kill it in two or three hours by power cycling it.

 

Apparently (according to the Intel rep) when the power failure is

 

happening, the SSD device tries to reconnect with the SATA port instead of

 

initiating a proper shutdown. Something to do with interrupt priority

 

being higher for reconnection rather than a proper shutdown.

I don't know how much truth is to this post. Has there been any official acknowledgement of this problem?

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125 Replies
idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Furthermore, why would a person be constantly power-cycling one of these devices? It's important to note the article says they're power-cycling the device (either hooking it up to a PSU with a manual switch, or are yanking the SATA power cable repetitively), which is very different from stand-by (DIPM).

If this is true -- a bug is a bug, no argument from me there, and it should be fixed. But the criteria for this happening seems a bit excessive.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

I suppose, but I upgraded to 320 because of built-in capacitors (I'm not using a laptop and I don't have a UPS). Kind of defeats the purpose if it can't shut itself down properly in the event of power failure.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Goose wrote:

I suppose, but I upgraded to 320 because of built-in capacitors (I'm not using a laptop and I don't have a UPS). Kind of defeats the purpose if it can't shut itself down properly in the event of power failure.

That's not how I read the description of the problem at all. I read the description to mean that repetitive power-cycling of the SSD -- which I interpret as "continually powering the device on, then powering it off, then powering it on, then powering it off" -- resulted in the drive reporting a total capacity of 8MBytes.

The exact quote: "We had an SSD 320 600GB 2.5" SATA drive in for evaluation from our Intel rep. I was able to kill it in two or three hours by power cycling it."

"I was able to kill it in 2 or 3 hours by power cycling it", to me, means the guy sat around power-cycling it constantly for 2-3 hours. Let's say he did this for 2-3 hours at 10 second intervals. 3 * 60 * 60 = 10800 seconds. A power-cycle requires both the power-off and power-on cycle, so 20 seconds total. 10800 / 20 = 540 power cycles over the course of 3 hours.

This is what happens when people who write damning articles don't take the time to write verbosely what they were doing. Without those details, people have to speculate. I can point the world to a thouand different devices which will fail/freak out when continually power-cycled. How often are users power-cycling (again: NOT putting the device in stand-by/sleep mode (DIPM)! That isn't the same as a power-cycle) their SSDs? Are you power-cycling yours as often as this guy is?

Sigh.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

koitsu:

I know what you're trying to say, but the way the bug is described, it doesn't seem like one of those flaws that worsens every time you power cycle. i.e. the chances of failure remains the same, so basically I'm rolling a dice whenever there's power disruption (or reboot? does shutting it off and on count as a power cycle?). The guy in the post happened to have experienced it after 2-3 hours of power cycling, but if you're really unlucky you could potentially brick it the first time, which is what worries me.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

From the quote: "when the power failure is happening, the SSD device tries to reconnect with the SATA port instead of initiating a proper shutdown."

It seems like he is discribing an improper shutdown due to power loss and not a standard power down. I wished that poster defined what he was doing so it could be replicated. To me, 2-3 hours of power loss cycling seems like an odd test.

I have foward this discussion to Intel.

idata
Community Manager
98 Views

Built-in capacitors? Having worked with BitMicro SSDs since about 2000 equipped with those, that phrase doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Even when the hardware works as designed (often that was a problem), we had to modifiy driver and app software to avoid problems in the field.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I experienced this issue on my 120gb after a normal shutdown. I'm running 2008R2, and was updating the hardware for supporting RFX, then on power-up... pow! 8MB!

This is very disconcerning and not at all what I would have expected from Intel's line of SSD's.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Dosen't the toolbox say to power cycle the SSD in order to secure erase?

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Relic wrote:

Dosen't the toolbox say to power cycle the SSD in order to secure erase?

It doesn't say to power-cycle the SSD repetitively for 2-3 hours.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

koitsu wrote:

Relic wrote:

Dosen't the toolbox say to power cycle the SSD in order to secure erase?

It doesn't say to power-cycle the SSD repetitively for 2-3 hours.

Actually, a friend brought his 320 SSD for me to help him secure erase it. We power cycled it at least a dozen times and the toolbox would never SE it. We tried Parted Magic w/ Hd erase several times power cycling each time and still never unlocked it. So, no we didn't do it for 2-3 houts. Probably only one.

And, I thought this forum was to get help answering legitimate questions about issues about SSDs , not to receive smart alec answers.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

I just had this happen to me. Had the 600G model for a month. Then the drive crashed and now DISKPART shows 8MB for that drive. SMART attributes are gone...

The drive worked great for a month!

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

"

I just had this happen to me. Had the 600G model for a month. Then the drive crashed and now DISKPART shows 8MB for that drive. SMART attributes are gone...

The drive worked great for a month!"

You can recover the drive using HDDerase.

http://www.iishacks.com/2009/06/30/how-to-secure-erase-reset-an-intel-solid-state-drive-ssd/ http://www.iishacks.com/2009/06/30/how-to-secure-erase-reset-an-intel-solid-state-drive-ssd/

Make sure you download the Intel compatible version 3.3

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Same with 120Gb 320 series SSD, bought 2 days ago. Just got 8Mb problem and googled it. Sweet, newly installed system and software are gone. Any comments on this, Intel?

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

I am reading reports of the 8MB problem after restart from users of the 320 SSD series on various forums / review sites. I just bought one of these drives and am also wondering if there going to be a firmware update or recall of the drives to fix the issue?

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

For example, you can find several people complaining in Amazon reviews of the 320...

idata
Community Manager
98 Views

I'm confused. How is deleting all the data on a drive a solution for it failing to boot?

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

I have had the same problem with the fellow a few posts above, I was installing a game on my 80G intel 320 and somehow everything froze up and couldn't do anything so I reset the system and before I knew it I kept getting the dreaded cannot find "bootmgr" on the main drive, so I switched to my old velociraptor 300g tried to revive the intel SSD but kept getting the BAD_CTX 8m reading on the crystaldiskinfo.

Someone mentioned about waiting the end of July but you see we are dealing with expensive equipment here, Intel should've thought ahead of time to prevent goof ups like this happenning before they even released the drives series 320, firmware bugs and all that is a lame excuse.

That drive cost me $199 and it's only one week old.

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

Had the 8MB issue happen to me as well with my 160 GB 320. On Monday, I cloned the drive using the Intel Data Migration Software and installed the SSD in my new laptop. Monday night there was a software problem and I had to hold down the power button to cause the system to reboot. On reboot, drive was not recognized. Went though various procedures to try to get it to work. Nothing. Restarted the computer about 30-40 times. Eventually, the computer booted from the SSD. It ran fine for a while, and then I hibernated the computer. Took computer out of hibernation, drive not recognized.

After that I put in the original drive (a HDD) that laptop shipped with, machine booted right up. Attached the SSD to the laptop over USB 3.0 with the adapter the drive came with (Retail Box). Drive didn't show in "Computer". Right clicked on Computer --> Manage --> Disk Management. Drive shows as unformatted, no partition table, with an 8MB capacity. The original vendor is replacing the SSD, because I bought it less than 30 days ago.

I bought the 320 because of the proven track record of Intel SSDs. My machine supports SATA 6Gb/sec and I could have purchased a faster SSD. I choose the 320 because it is supposed to be more reliable. Dying within the first 24hours of use is not reliability. If the replacement unit fails quickly, I will need to get a refund and buy a different product. I understand taking time to fix an issue; however, it would be nice to know an issue exists so people who own the drives can take precautions.

idata
Community Manager
104 Views

All,

Just as an FYI, I've provided an update on this topic here:

/thread/24121?tstart=0 http://communities.intel.com/thread/24121?tstart=0

Rgds,

Scott

idata
Community Manager
835 Views

I am disappointed in Intel about this. From that 'JW' post about the problem, dated May 17, it seems Intel has known about this random data loss issue for more than a month. A heads-up would have been nice: "Hey guys, we have recently become aware of a random data loss problem with Intel 320 SSDs and we are working on a fix. In the meantime, be sure to have your data backed up at all times and try to minimize power cycles."

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