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Intel X25-M 'G2' TRIM Enabled Firmware and SSD Toolbox Review

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged:

Introduction

***Public Service Announcement***



(26OCT2009) After this firmware went live, some users were reporting their G2 becoming unresponsive after updating.  What is odd is the first boot after the update worked fine for many, but after a reboot their drive became unresponsive.  Intel is following the reports and is on the case.  Their official statement to PC Perspective:

“Yes, we have been contacted by users with issues with the firmware upgrade for our 34nm SSDs and we are investigating.  We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution.  We have temporarily taken down the firmware link while we investigate.”

I'd like to point out this appears to be on the rare side of happening.  None of the other reviewers seem to have seen this issue.  It may be related specifically to updating with a pre-existing live Windows 7 installation in place and immediately booting to it afterwards, but I can't say for sure until we have more data.  I am investingating as well and will report any additional findings in this space.  For now I recommend holding off on updating for a few days until the dust settles.



***End Public Service Announcement***

***Update***

(01DEC2009) Intel was pushing for a late November release of the final
(bugfixed) version of their TRIM frimware for the X25-M G2.  It may be
December 1st, but they came through.  The firmware can be downloaded HERE.

Note: the SSD Toolbox software (which enables performance
monitoring and the ability to manually TRIM an X25-M G2 under Windows
XP and Vista) is not yet available due to an issue with corrupted
restore points.  More info here.

***End update***

Back in July, I reviewed the X25-M G2 from Intel.  This new drive showed improvements in random access, with sequential throughput speeds keeping in line with the older G1 models.  The bigger news for the G2 was to be the significantly reduced prices, which have remained a bit of a pipe dream in the face of supply being outstripped by demand.

The X25-M G2 returns to the Storage Testbed for some benchmark lovin'.

The other big deal with the X25-M G2 was to be the addition of native TRIM support in a future firmware update that was to coincide with the Windows 7 launch.  Well, Windows 7 is here, and Intel has responded as promised with TRIM firmware.

There is an additional bonus to report: Per the Intel press release, the X25-M G2 160GB gets a boost in write speeds - now at 100 MB/sec (from 80).  This just about confirmed my theory that write speeds of the X25-M series drives are artificially limited, likely to assist in market segmentation.

Since Intel and I go back a ways, they slipped me the firmware early enough to get testing done prior to their official launch.  I ran it through the usual tests to compare with the previous firmware, and evaluated TRIM effects under Windows 7.  Read on for the goods.

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