Intel confirms 8MB bug in 320 Series SSDs (fix available)

By on August 18, 2011, 2:28 AM

Update (8/18) -- Fix now available: Three weeks after replicating the so-called "8MB bug," Intel has published a firmware update (4PC10362) that solves the issue. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way to recover data lost on glitched drives, so you'll have to cut your losses if you want to revive the unit. It's also worth noting that the update comes in the ISO format. If you need disc burning software, we recommend ImgBurn.

Our original story is below:

Shoppers beware: Intel's 320 Series solid-state drives reportedly ship with a glitch that could drastically reduce the drive's capacity. Flocking to Intel's official discussion board, many users have complained about their spanking new flash drives suddenly dropping from their full capacity to only 8MB, effectively blocking all stored data and making the drive useless. After accumulating numerous pages of user complaints, a member of Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group acknowledged the flaw earlier this week.

"Intel is aware of the customer sightings on Intel SSD 320 Series. If you experience any issue with your Intel SSD, please contact your Intel representative or Intel customer support (via web: www.intel.com or phone: www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/contact/phone). We will provide an update when we have more information." The so called "8MB bug" appears after a power failure or system crash and it's unclear whether a hardware defect is to blame or if the problem can be solved with a firmware update.

Although users haven't discovered a way to recover data on a drive that experiences the 8MB bug, some people have been able to start from scratch by wiping the drive's contents with utilities such as HDDErase and Parted Magic. That's probably the last thing you want to hear if you just finished typing a 200-page thesis, so hang tight and Intel might offer some recovery options. This isn't the company's first time combating a serious SSD glitch, having shipped a bugged firmware update in 2009 that bricked many X25-Ms.




User Comments: 25

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hojnikb said:

I almost bought this drive, but then i decided its to early for me to buy a SDD....

Kralnor said:

I had settled on this drive, but then eventually changed my mind and got the C300 instead. Glad I did!

Guest said:

I've got one of these drives, the 120GB version. No problems yet, but my computer hasn't crashed either. I hope they can fix this with a firmware update soon. Backup ftw!

Timonius Timonius said:

That's a pretty serious error bug to me and further helps me decide to wait on SSD's. Maybe when the prices come down, the drives get bigger and the technology matures a bit more...

blimp01 said:

I read the title and a few sentences and i was thinking "you loose 8mb out of the entire ssd space" lol what sarcasm that would have been

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I got the 600 GB version. Hope I don't ever see the problem.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

8 MB? That's plenty for DOS 6.2.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

gwailo247 said:

8 MB? That's plenty for DOS 6.2.

Would run very quickly as well, possibly the fastest 8mb DOS 4.2 will ever need.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

I got the 600 GB version. Hope I don't ever see the problem.

Went through something similar a few years back with a pair of Seagates that had a firmware bug ... one bricked and the other is still running. Hopefully this is a firmware problem that Intel will be able to resolve.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

I am pretty sure i ran into these same firmware issues. I had a customer who had mission critcal data that wasn't backed up on one of these (of course) so what i ended up doing was putting the board from the dead drive onto the working drive, updating the firmware on there, then putting the board back. it worked

Leeky Leeky said:

I got the 600 GB version. Hope I don't ever see the problem.

And I thought previously owning a 256GB RealSSD was outrageous enough!

Hope the SSD holds out for you though dude.

Guest said:

Excellent info for my torture tests!

I have torture tested Vertex-1 and Vertex-2 drives for months by Defragging the drives needlessly and doing everything possible to destroy them "EXCEPT" update the firmware

A quick read at the OCZ forum will show you that the majority of failures occures when updating the firmware!

I have also used XP-Pro continuously without ANY of the recommended OCZ tweaks and have yet to cause any of my SSD's to malfunction

I recommend that YOU also torture test any NEW SSD for at least a month before you trust your data to ANY SSD on the market

Finding a problem within the normal 30 day return policy is the best advice out there

If it does not fail under continuous defrags, no-tweaks, nonSSD aware Operating Systems, firmware updates and now POWER FAILURES within the 30 day return period, then it will not fail during its normal 3-5 year warranty period

I never trust my data to ANY SSD untill it has been thoroughly tested for 30 days and neither should YOU!

I have never had an SSD fail during the 3-5 year warranty after it has passed a 30 day torture test and by the time the 3-5 year warranty expires, my data will be on a newer and much faster SSD with a new warranty

Intels bug is actually good news for those who thoroughly test their hardware before trusting it to their data

I will immediatly be adding hard power shutdowns to my list of torture routines as well as unneeded firmware updates during the 30 day return policy for any new SSD's

Note:

The 30 day return policy had already expired on my vertex drives before I realized that firmware updates were the cause of so many problems with OCZ drives and that is why I never updated firmware after the 30 day return period for my Vertex drives

However, Needless firmware updates will be made on any new drives to find bugs during the return policy period

ElShotte ElShotte said:

I have yet to upgrade to an SSD. I've been reading up on them, and I cant understand the need to update the firmware in the first place. If it works, performs as it should, and passed some sort of reliability test as stated by Guest above, why the hell would you want to update the damn firmware? What are the benefits? Could someone clear this up for me?

Leeky Leeky said:

Two main reasons would be to increase drive performance and/or resolve error's or update otherwise unstable firmware.

I've never updated the firmware on an SSD myself personally. I've also never trusted my data to one single disk, and an SSD is no different. That's what backups are for.

Guest said:

I'd be interested how much of a drive's useful life a "torture test" is likely to consume.

Intel 320 series are specified for 30TB to 60TB writes in total (Google for intel 320 +60tb).

Within those drives a wear indicator keeps track of how much of a drive's lifetime is left, potentially shortening the drive's warranty to much shorter terms: http://www.intel.com/support/ssdc/hpssd/sb/CS-032510.htm

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

hojnikb said:

I almost bought this drive, but then i decided its to early for me to buy a SDD....

I have two, one from Kingston and one from OCZ, both currently in use, and with powerfailures, in fact. Still holding strong!

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Updating was smooth sailing... hope no other unexpected nasties show up from this.

Guest said:

I never had a crash with my 320, so I never had the 8MB problem. But, I just updated my Firmware to be safe, and I had no problems doing so. I recommend strongly for everything to read the README file before going through with this. There seemed to be quite a few ways to mess it up.

Also, my Windows Experience Index score (Win7) dropped from 7.7 to 7.4 after this update. My lowest performing part is my SSD, and it just dragged my score (by lowest) down 0.3 points. This may be because I just ran the Intel SSD Toolbox for the first time and Disabled the data prefetch stuff, on the urging of Intel through this application. I have no idea how to actually enable prefetch again (atm), so I obviously haven't tried turning it back on yet. The performance drop may be because of the Firmware update, or it may be because I turned prefetch off.

p51d007 said:

Why I've waited until SSD's are as "bullet proof" as mechanical drives.

For what you have to shell out for an SSD, I can buy spare drives, mirror everything, and carry it in my laptop bag, two screws and it is swapped out.

Thanks to you brave people getting these now, your glitches are making these things better, but I can't be down, so I'll stick with the old style.

Guest said:

Updated the firmware today on 320 drive, it was easy and everything works OK.

Guest said:

Yes, 8MB isn't much - UNLESS in contains your data!

Eric Weals Eric Weals said:

Hi everyone. I just came across the 8 MB bug. We buy the 600 GB Intel 320 Series SSDs by the dozens for a specific application that we have. Out of 100 to 200 of these devices, we have only ever seen one failure. It's rare. The one that did fail had the new firmware (4PC10362). Our supplier has indicated that the new firmware does not fix the problem at all. In fact, the new firmware worsens the likelihood that it will happen. There is a solution that I've tested and it works and it's free (except for the CD you will have to burn). Google "Huge Bug in Intel SSDs: Complete Recovery Information Here" or go to [link] for a solution.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Thanks a lot for that info Eric. Should calm the nerves of those who may own these drives. I don't store anything I can't recover from on my intel SSD, but it would suck to lose the capacity.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ]....Thanks to you brave people getting these now, your glitches are making these things better, but I can't be down, so I'll stick with the old style.
Not me, no sirree, you can't stop me from lusting after boot times I can really rub the other children's noses in! With that said, I'm going to buy 2 SSDs for a RAID 0 setup, and a copy of Windows 8...! Not so much for my own personal gain, mind you, but because I know misery loves company......

Besides, I'm old enough to remember when 8 MBs of flash memory actually almost cost about 200 bucks..... >rolleyes<

Guest said:

@ p51d007

I see your point except the fact that mechanical drives die often today as well.

And the time an SSD user saved on having things load so much quicker is like having green light all the way to work.

Have backup, no excuses, and it doesn't matter if it crashes.

Then get a SSD, and throw away the old mechanical drives except for pure storage.

If u havnt tried SSD yet, u have no idea what u are missing. Hell even gen 1 and 2 are slow as hell compared to gen 3 and 4. Personally Ive had SSD since it was Mtron SLC 32GB Drives (witch still works great in my server as OS drive). And even if the mechanical drives have gotten much better, its night and day vs todays SSDs. The fastest random read I have seen mechanical drives do (WD raptor) is around 500 IOPS, and even simple USB drives today can match that, better ones even surpass it. SSDs have 5-10k IOPS. Its the difference between waiting for windows, programs and games to load, or just start playing in a fraction of the time.

4:th and 3:rd generation SSDs are more reliable then simple 2,5" mechanical drives these days, and instead of developing bad sectors and dying after 1-2 year in a laptop, a proper SSD will last the entire laptops lifetime.

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