Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Intel Releases Solid-State Drive Toolbox Optimizer, Almost Immediately Retratcs It

intel logoEarlier this week Intel released a new TRIM toolbox. The SSD Optimizer and firmware update originally designed for Intel's 34nm X25-M Mainstream SATA SSDs was meant to help better manage and retain the out-of-box performance of the drives.

The firmware upgrade and Intel SSD Optimizer use the Windows 7 ATA Data Set Management Command (known as Trim) to help keep the Intel SSD running at continued high performance. However the update had some unexpected affects which resulted in data corruption amongst Windows 7-based systems. This resulted in Intel's almost immediate retraction of the firmware update.

In place of the download page Intel has now added the following statement:

Intel has been contacted by users with issues with the 02HA firmware upgrade on Windows 7* systems and are investigating. We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution. We have temporarily taken down the firmware update while we investigate.
Shortly after the update was released threads began popping up on the Intel support forum. With one rather long thread of user complaining that the TRIM updated hosed their Windows 7 systems. Those reports appear to be the catalyst for Intel's swift move to temporarily remove the update.

What TRIM Does

Giving a detailed explanation might be lengthy so I'm going to keep it as simple as possible. So basically SSD's have no way of knowing when a file is deleted and a sector on the drive is opened. So the drive must keep track of every last bit of data that’s written to it until that particular address gets used again.

What TRIM does is essentially unlock those tracked segments. In a supported OS like Linux or Windows 7, whenever you permanently delete a file or format your drive, the addresses that are erased are sent along with the TRIM command to the SSD’s controller. The TRIM instruction tells the SSD that those locations don’t contain valid data and that it no longer has to track them. This frees the drive from having to track all the addresses that are no longer holding data.

For a look at what the new Optimizer can achieve checkout these benchmarks from some of our favorite sites

Intel X25-M 'G2' TRIM Enabled Firmware

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