Intel SSD firmware fixes internal fragmentation issue

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 14 2009 @ 16:24 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Intel's X25-M and X18-M solid state disks just got better, the chip giant has released new firmware that addresses the internal fragmentation problem which resulted in lower performance on used disks. Additionally, firmware 8820 also offers several continuous improvements and optimizations.

The update can be downloaded over here and a test report of the new firmware can be read over at PC Perspective. The reviewer concludes the weak link of the Intel X25-M SSD has now been removed, even when well used the write speed of the drive now remains close to 80MB/s. With the previous firmware internal fragmentation could lead to write speeds of less than 30MB/s on well-used X25-M solid state disks.
It should be noted that any of our SSDs will see periods of reduced performance after significant random write fragmentation (white noise random fragmentation, not what Windows generally does with it’s “random” writes) as the drive cleans this all up mixed with additional data being written. This new firmware does not change this fact. What it does do is prevent the drive from getting into a state where further sequential writing will not recover the drive. You should see this with HDTach, or a large file copy, or just general use, etc. So, if a drive is in what previously seemed to be a permanently degraded state (as discussed, we still feel this is highly unlikely for a client PC user), and a user installs the new firmware they will feel an instant improvement for any sequential operations, which will get better in time as the drive cleans itself up further. This firmware will also prevent the user from getting into such a drastic state of fragmentation, and generally help ensure the sequential write performance is as good as it can be at any moment. This change really has no significant impact on random performance.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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